It is hard to be an expectant mother today. It is more challenging and demanding than when I was having my children or when my mother birthed me. I always apologize to mothers with their first prenatal visit with me because I have to list all the possible things that could be wrong with their baby, all the tests available to ensure the perfect outcome, and what foods and substances are “dangerous." Then, if they decline this testing I have to repeat the warning on the next visit because what if something goes wrong and they didn’t hear me the first time. Sigh. Actually what I want to say is trust your body, trust your instincts, trust the universe to give you what you need and enjoy this new life growing inside of you. The medical model of birth does everything to make women fearful of what could go wrong.
Furthermore, pregnant moms today are all expected to look like every cover model on pregnancy magazines, perfectly dressed, manicured, made up, not swollen, and of course... fit and toned. There are no allowances for the difference in women's bodies during this short time. Some women need to gain more weight, have other priorites, or responsibilities than going to the gym. Some are just more tired.
Then there is social media, where women can look and see every horror story that people post about labor or birth or see only perfect looking pictures of their pregnant friends and perfect families.
Finally there is the baby registry. Women are told they need everything marketed to ensure a healthy happy newborn. Swaddles, chairs that vibrate and rock, suits that immobilize your baby to help them sleep, nursing cover ups, etc . The sheer volume of choosing can be overwhelming.
Nobody says that all you need is your arms, time, patience, and love. I tell all new mothers that they will know their baby better than anyone. Trust your instincts! This is why I teach yoga, hoping to combat society’s message of fear and perfection by encouraging mothers to trust their intuition, their bodies, and their own innate knowing.
“Birth is not only about making babies, Birth is about making mothers:
Strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves
And know their inner strength.” – Barbra Katz