"Birth is about making mothers - strong, confident, capable mothers"

"Birth is about making mothers - strong, confident, capable mothers"

This is one of my all time deep truth favorite quotes. (It's by birth sociologist http://www.barbarakatzrothman.com/ ). 

Let me tell you why. Society is full of worry and anxiety. Parenting in America can be a daunting business. It would be enough if all we had to do after we birthed our young would be to feed and shelter them.... but we are also expected to guide them to be happy and successful members of society. Parents fret over their kids' ABCs and 123s, their broccoli and green beans, where their kids are and what they are doing at all times. The complexity of that endeavor and the stakes of its success have never been higher. How do we know how to do it?

The good news is that we all have the potential to be able to do a great job; not a perfect job but a perfectly imperfect job. We are all "good enough mothers" (that brilliant phrase is from psychoanalyst D W Winnicott and is explained beautifully here: https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/article/the-gift-of-the-good-enough-mother ) But how do we have the courage to begin?

We wade into the sea, lift our feet off the sand and start swimming! That wading into the sea starts with pregnancy and birth. 

Jane's first birth did not go well. She had hoped to give birth naturally but the obstetric system was not on her side and she ended up with a C section. As many women do, Jane blamed herself "I shouldn't have let them induce me.... perhaps if I'd had a doula.... I didn't do my research". Self blame feels really bad. She blamed herself for the loss of her hopes, the pain of her recovery, the inability of her baby to breastfeed. Her self blame brought her great pain and postpartum depression. As she waded into mothering, she vowed that this would be her only child.

Five years later, she found herself pregnant again. Jane and her partner discovered that they welcomed this opportunity for another child. They stepped carefully forward, looking for the opportunity of a natural VBAC. Jane started care at the birth center, gaining hope and confidence with each prenatal visit that a natural birth might be possible. And when the long, challenging labor came, Jane let it carry her deeper and deeper, finding strength with every wave. As she and her baby emerged together, Jane's skin glowed with love and happiness. She knew her body's ability. She felt the power of what she had accomplished. In 12 hours she had grown in self knowledge, in strength and as a mother.

During the the following weeks, she juggled her 2 children, reading to one child as she breastfed the baby. Her birth experience had literally turned her into the mother she had always aspired to be, not perfect, but strong, competent and capable.