When I envision the motherhood ideal, I think of a tribe – a village of people. Super old-school style. Like out-in-the-bush, inaccessible Africa. Of course, motherhood can be beautiful anywhere. Modern-day mothering in the middle of civilized society also has its merits.
But, when I’m trying to re-center, when I have a decision to make, when reminding myself that my instincts are worth listening to, I envision that tribe. Believe me, it’s a common thought of mine. It’s a good way for me to shed the many distractions in our modern world and reach the wisdom of my own instinct in their purest form.
Thinking of this village focuses me. But, it also saddens me because it’s a reminder of what we’ve lost socially over the generations.
Think about the daily flow of the people in this village. Kids running around everywhere. Mamas doing their daily taskers and disciplining each other’s kids when they need it. Really, you can’t tell whose kids are whose. It’s a giant family, in essence. Maybe there’s a mama in labor, surrounded by older mamas who know what she needs to deliver successfully. Maybe there’s a mama 10 days postpartum. Her tasks are covered and she isn’t doing a thing expect caring for her newborn and recovering. Other mamas are bringing her food, hydrating her, presenting herbs that they know aid in recovery, preparing her a bath, rubbing her achy shoulders, helping her perfect her latch.
She is perfectly cared for and perfectly peaceful. Her body and heart are calm, and her limits are nowhere in sight.
As our society modernized, we lost much of this. Some people live closely knit with their families. But, this is the new anomaly. So many young women are taking on motherhood far from home without the support of family. Instead of learning the wisdom of the experienced generations before us, we take to the internet, books, or simply wing it and hope for the best.
Support from family is hard to come by, even if proximity isn’t an issue. We no longer live in multi-generational circumstances in which support comes naturally. We tend to want our own lives and space. We often choose different paths than our parents did, and it can make it hard to connect in a deep relationship.
You won’t get sympathy from your employer, either. Less than 12% of private sector employees have access to paid family leave. It’s not surprising that only 40% of women take time off after giving birth; most people in America can’t afford it. The percentage of women able to take leave after childbirth shouldn’t be the minority!
This leaves us far from the supportive village that comes together to care for a new mother: embracing her for delivering us the future, honoring her for the trials she faced and overcame, caring for her and her body which literally produced a miracle. Today’s culture would sooner ask “When are you coming back to work?” than “How would you like your eggs cooked?” or “Does this blouse go in the gentle cycle?”
This is why Marabou began. There is an important need that isn’t being met. The village is lost –and we’re starting to realize how important it is. We must find ways to get it back. We as Marabou want to be a part of that. We want to get to a point where each new mom has someone looking out for her. It’s time that women approaching their due date expect to rest and be at ease after they deliver. It’s time for postpartum peace to be the new norm.