Call it what you want, “mom wars”, “mom-petition”, “avocado pointing”, the tension between moms has been getting a lot of attention in the media (or at least on blogs) lately. It seems like all summer long, there was at least one link in my Facebook feed on regarding this topic. This is not one of those posts. Over the summer I posted this on my Facebook wall…
“I know some of you have asked if I need any help now or after the baby comes. I am putting together a list of ladies who would be willing to bring a meal after baby. (My sister in law will be coordinating this). Also looking for one or two women who might be able to come sit at the hospital with me for an hour or two during my stay, in case Josh has to work at some point. (C-section stay is a bit longer and hard to pick up baby on my own). If you are interested in either of these just PM me with your e-mail address or comment here with it. Thank you ladies so much. Blessed to have so many wonderful women in my life.”
What followed was a beautiful string of replies and e-mails offering love and support. But my mother’s reply has played in my head over and over again for the past two and a half months.
She said, “Women helping women birth babies into the world: a song as old as time.”
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? It’s not about simply saying “you do your thing and I will do mine”, but reaching out and actively doing life with each other.
As people, there is something deep within us that is designed to live in community. I believe that, as women, we feel this urge on a visceral level-- maybe never more deeply than when it comes time to bring a baby into the world. And yet, gone are the days of mothers, sisters and aunts being the ones by our side as we birth our children.
We live in a time and place where often births take place in a hospital and are attended by a staff of medical professionals we have never met, rather than by the women who know our hearts. We have taken the community and the support out of the birthing process and perhaps, by extension, taken it out of the mothering process as well. For some women, it has led to a return to home births attended by midwives and doulas, mothers and sisters. But for some women, for whatever reason, this isn’t an option. So where does that leave us?
We no longer live in a society where community comes naturally. It seems the days of knowing your neighbors and the names of all of your children’s friends’ parents, have passed. And so we must make our own community. We must choose to be actively involved in one another’s lives. Community isn’t easy. In fact, it is often messy, inconvenient and painful. We have to make the choice to invite people into our lives, and step into theirs. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but the rewards are beautiful. If you are busy investing in and loving on other moms, other women, other people, it’s a lot harder to judge them. When we choose to take an active role in one another’s lives, when we choose to love on one another, when we choose to do true community (no masks, no cliques) maybe the mom wars will fade away.