I had the opportunity to be around a new Mama, Papa, and Baby recently. It was a beautiful sight. Being the “Mothering the Mother” type I coo’d briefly over the baby, then focused on Mama. I asked how she was and listened. I listened to the familiar stories of lack of sleep, adjustment, feeling completely attached, etc. I moved into wanting to take care of her immediately. I told her my history of a Doula, but also mentioned being a Mom and having that new mom experience. I offered her my card, and told her to call me if she needed anything, to talk, to sit in the presence of another, whatever she needed to feel supported.
Like many other couples in the Bay Area, their family lives elsewhere. Papa works but also does his best to be there. Familiar story for many. I worked for a company focused on birth and postpartum care for families a little while ago. I saw countless numbers of women coming in just a few days after birthing their child. One woman came in just 3 days post partum, beautiful dress, and full make up. I looked at her and she looked exhausted, but clearly trying to hold he head up to some standard to which I did not subscribe. She left within 5 minutes. I wish I could have talked to her, let her know she didn’t have to be all put together after growing a human for 9 months and going through whatever she experienced getting that human out of her body.
Though I do have a history as a Doula, my focus is Mother-to-Mother care, money or no money. While I do not “Offer my services” for free, I have a tribal viewpoint. Papa is a part of one of my communities, that means Mama and Baby are part of the community. I equate that to “Tribe.” This is a young couple, with a new baby, and they live far from people who can care for them. My Tribal Mama Nature took over and says, if she needs me I am there, not as a Doula, but as a Tribal woman who believes in community.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Doula care. Midwives and Doulas offer a valuable service, they work hard and deserve to be compensated for their care. I also believe in the tribe, and when you have a tribe, women who have had the experience offer a valuable service to those who are new to Mothering. I am one of those women. If you are in my tribe, I’ll be there when I can to sit with you, Mother you, listen, watch you cry and scream (Which needs to happen cause pushing out a baby, birthing a baby from your belly, aka C-Section, feeding a baby from your breasts, etc) is HARD work.
We as a society need to return to a Tribal way of being. The “40-Day” rule* in many cultures exist for a reason. When a family “is born,” we need to take care of Mama and partner so they can focus on baby. Even more when Mama may be Mothering solo.
I have no judgment in this post. I am a Woman and Mother who intuitively believes in taking care of those who may need. The fact is carrying a baby in one’s belly, then pushing that baby out and/or having it pulled out by surgery is a major event. I mean a MAJOR event. Not only is it physically taxing but the hormonal changes last for months. We as a society need to take care of these new families, whether it’s the 1st, 2nd, or 5th child. Parents benefit for that loving non-judgmental tribe, whether you can pay for it or not. At least that’s my belief.
It’s time to bring back the tribe. Whether it’s a blood relative, a Doula, a TRUSTED neighbor or friend, it’s imperative that he/she/they have nurturing support. That’s all!
Let’s bring back the tribe. That tribe may not be blood relatives, or it may. Just someone or a group of people who will love up Mama solo or partnered. Our future generations benefit from this.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
All the Best,
Postpartum Me Working on the First Latch
- “40-Day rule is a practice in many cultures that allow a mom 40 days postpartum to lay in bed, nurture herself and baby. The tribe takes care of her so that she can focus on herself and the being she just birthed. It’s often referred to as “Lying in.’