‘It takes a village to raise a child’, it’s often said; I’d like to add, ‘and a village to make a mother’.
I became a mother over a year ago and I’ve learnt that motherhood does not exist in isolation; it is relational and developmental. A mother requires the community in its diverse range and the compassion of others to thrive.
Inspired by the 1000 Voices Speaks for Compassion project, below are people or groups I’d like to acknowledge, celebrate and thank for showing me and others compassion on our motherhood journey.
I couldn’t be where I am in my mothering without all these people, and the compassion they’ve all shown to my family and I.
1. Church Family
My church community has supported me since I moved to the UK and their support in the last year has been mind-blowing.
I am so thankful to God for them in my life, and their kindness has been such an example to me. So many kind words, thoughtful acts, prayers and tips, at just the right time!
Thanks for the visits at the hospital, the food you kept making for my family and I in those first few crucial weeks, the home visits when we were ready for it, the multitude of presents, the chaffering to this place and that, the many enquiries about how we were getting on, and so much more.
Thanks for all your practical, emotional and spiritual support; my family and I couldn’t have made it this far without it. 🙂
2. Mummy Friends
Mummy friends are such an essential part of motherhood; the level of connection mothers can feel towards each other quite quickly is amazing.
Mine have comforted me in my tears and rejoiced with me in my triumphs. They can relate with me on a level that others can’t; where babies are concerned, they know what I’m talking about in a personal way.
They willingly talk about the same topics over and over again; sleep, poo, weight, feeding, breast milk, breastfeeding, formula, bathing, baby products etc. They share their experiences, pass down leftover and pre-loved items, and give tons of tips.
They don’t take offense if you don’t do things the way they suggest.
Many have visited me at home and chatted with me over the phone, one even organised a cooking rota for my family and I after I gave birth.
I’ve met them at work, church, children centres, La Leche League meetings, Boots, the Baby Show, Fun fares, online through blogging etc. They really are an incredible group.
I am so thankful for all my mummy friends in person and online, and the many adventures we’ve had together. 🙂
3. Children Centres
Children Centres in the community are so vital; and I’m so glad that Surrey County Council in England are keeping theirs opened even though some other councils have shut them down, and many countries don’t even have them.
Our local centres have supported my family and I in such practical ways during this challenging life change. Their compassion is beyond the call of duty and I’ll always be grateful for them.
The compassion of a particular outreach worker especially stands out for me.
Dear H, you didn’t forget our meeting at one of your mobile bus tours before I had my baby. You kept making contact, by post and in person. I appreciate your home visit, your continuing offer of help, interest and overall support. Thanks for making it so easy to talk to you.
4. Health Visiting Team
I am so thankful for my local health visiting team, especially my allocated health visitor. I’ve heard some mums talk about how unhelpful they found theirs and I’ve wished for them to have a health visitor like mine.
I will always remember all the extra home visits I got, they helped me in ways I can’t fully convey.
Dear H, thanks for all your support through my little one’s weight concerns. Thanks for not expecting me to come to the health centre until I was ready, and for your persistence in encouraging me to get out of the house and meet other mums.
I really appreciate your arrangement for C to look out for me when you were away and to visit me at home for a one-on-one baby massage session. Thank you so much!
Thinking about the compassion they showed me at some of my most vulnerable moments brings tears to my eyes.
5. Folks out and about
I have been amazed again and again by people’s generosity and kindness towards mums with children on public transport, in restaurants and other outdoor places.
The helping hands to lift buggies from trains to platforms,
the smiles and interaction to amuse my Precious Sparkle on the bus,
the offer to carry trays of food from the till to the table in eateries,
the assurance that the food mess created by a weaning child is okay,
people respectfully looking away when you are trying to discreetly breastfeed a grumpy and whimpering child,
the kind comments on walks with baby in the buggy,
and so much more.
I also love London underground’s information page for pregnant women and buggy users, and their free ‘baby on board’ badge. It’s so lovely to live in a country with this much practical consideration for the needs of mothers. 🙂
I am acknowledging 5 groups of people whose compassionate response to mothers and their families especially help breastfeeding mothers like me.
This list is of course not exhaustive, what would you add?
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