Doula AKA Sista-Friend AKA MotherLover
Mother's Day has come and gone but the efforts to love our mothers well are still in effect. This blog goes out to a group of mothers I have had the pleasure of knowing and loving.
You may have seen the #MotherLover campaign going on. If not, it's not too late to get a shirt and support!
Alliance of Moms is a non-profit organization founded by 5 LA moms with the mission to break the intergenerational cycle of babies born to teens in foster care. With May being National Foster Care Month, they have joined together with Omaze to create a T-shirt campaign that raises money for the organization to continue doing the awesome work it does within Los Angeles. You can get the MotherLover shirt I am wearing or the Like A Mother shirt you may have seen last year. This campaign inspired me to think through how I could improve in loving the mothers in my life and how society usually does not love our women well, especially during motherhood. Motherhood is hard at any age and with all the resources available to you. It truly takes a village to raise a child and support its mother. Let's support Alliance of Moms as they work to be the village for teen moms in the foster system.
Doula should be synonymous with professional Motherlover. What a sweet, sweet privilege it is for this to be my profession. Although, I spend an insane amount of time with new mothers, this one goes out to the mothers and mothers-to-be in my personal life!
It is in relationship with each of them that I have learned the complexities and majesty of motherhood. And more importantly, the need to love them well so that they are encouraged in their roles as Mom.
From navigating the anxiety of early pregnancy, to witnessing the reality of parenting two toddlers, to parenting solo and to the woes of parenting me! The mothers in my life are more precious than jewels.
So to my sista-friends, Nunie, Ashley, and Andrea: I have seen how much you want to learn and grow to better care for yourself and your children. I am inspired by you.
From Jess: This September, my younger sister and first friend, Nunie, is becoming a mommy. It has been amazing to see her grow in confidence, responsibility and assertiveness as a pregnant woman. I am so proud of the questions she asks, the homework she is doing, the changes to her lifestyle she has made on her own for herself and her child. She is already embodying her new role as mommy. Nunie, I am so proud of you!
From the Doula: Mothers know best for their children, instinctively. However, they desire more information to make informed decisions. We often pervert our role in giving a ton of unsolicited advise and then judgement to mothers for the decisions they make. Trust that they have the best intentions for their children. Provide them with the information, wisdom you have learned, after they ask, and trust them with the health and wealth of themselves and their children. Empower them with information and confidence that they are capable of doing this and making the decisions for their family.
From Jess: In addition to my sister, my best friend from home and best friend in Los Angeles are also pregnant. Ash (hometown BFF) is expecting her first baby and Andrea is expecting her third child. Ashley is probably the most organized mother-to-be I know. She has had her baby's name, registry, life insurance, college applications and retirement plan completed since like 20 weeks pregnant. She's such a big picture, proactive thinker. Being a mom have come as a surprise in this season of her life, but she has navigated the journey like a pro. Ash, you will be an amazing mother; a perfect collab of competence, confidence, cuteness, and compassion.
From the Doula: It is amazing what encouragement can do to the mother. If you want to love those children well, encourage their mother in her strengths and gifts. She already has exactly what her child needs within her. As a friend, help her to see herself as you do - all the good and great traits you love about her. Remind her that she is enough for her child and that she will have your support and a community to add on wherever she thinks she lacks. Empower the moms to be the moms they’ve dreamed of being.
From Jess: While pregnant with her third child (yes, there are two toddlers running around), she finished over a year worth of midwifery school academic work in about 6 months. I slept in and watched. Perks of not having children - you're less efficient! Ha! Andrea has taught me the necessity of community within motherhood. It has been amazing to see how her dream of being a midwife has been flamed into fire because she was supported by her community in her role as a mommy (and wife). With the community coming together to provide relationship, childcare, and encouragement, she was motivated to pursue her calling as a midwife. She has excelled in school and been present at births because her children were well taken care of by her community. Other women and their families have been blessed by her presence because she is loved so well through support. How cool is that - to see the exponential fruit and cycle of being a motherlover. Andrea, I am beyond blessed to have had you go first in these seasons: midwifery school, marriage, and motherhood. Thankful, I get to reap with wisdom without reading the books and going through some of it. Haha! Love you for you and your transparency!
From the Doula: I don’t know about y'all but being a motherlover sets the world up for greatness. When they are loved well with education, encouragement, and support they thrive, those around them thrive (including their children) and the whole world benefits. When I teach childbirth education, I always tell the class "the best thing you can give your child is a healthy, happy mother - this includes her mental, spiritual, and physical health". This is stated to her as she grows in practicing self-care and to her partner as they learn to support her in this new role and/or work to get her the education, encouragement, and additional help they may need as parents.
All mothers need to be loved for the women that they were, are and will be. Yes, many aspects of them forever change for the better after they’ve entered into motherhood but many things about them stay the same. We can help ease the transition in their identities as we pursue them as the sister, friend, person they are. Don't forget to invite them to gathering, out for drinks, go over to hang out, meet them at the park to provide adult conversation, or tell them about the craziness of your life. Love them as people regardless of the season of life they are in.
One proud MotherLover.
To Chew: Thank you for loving me unconditionally! Love you, Ma!