Today, May 17th, Birthways will celebrate its 19th anniversary! For almost 20 years, we’ve been helping parents find ways to thrive as they welcome their babies. It’s amazing to think that some of those babies that we have cared for are entering their adulthoods!
As we celebrate this milestone and start planning for some big ways to celebrate our 20th, we want to thank you for all the ways that you’ve shown that supporting mothers and parents matters. Every day we have expectant parents tell us that someone who was a Birthways’ client told them how important it was to get support and described to them what we do to make parenting challenges a little lighter.
These special someones told stories that are authentic and often vulnerable. Stories of births that were peak experiences and of birth stories that shook them to their core. These parents spoke of what it was like to release expectations and work on letting go of their parenting ‘shoulds’ and they also spoke to those just starting their childbearing year to expect more from their maternity care, to take the time to prepare, and encouraged them to feel more confident and empowered. They talked to them of the ways instinct needs to be cultivated, and un-buried, and how every parent feels unsure of themselves and overwhelmed at times. They spoke of how it’s an unreasonable, even impossible expectation to do this alone.
When you talk about what you needed in the childbearing year, you aren’t just supporting our small business and community of doula providers, although we appreciate that very much. You are opening up a discussion that can validate the fact that all parents need support in many forms. We need health care providers that hear our needs and partner with us for the best outcomes, we need childbirth classes that inform us, inspire us and empower us to see what our bodies are capable of. We need reassurance and accurate information to meet our breastfeeding goals. We need comfort ideas for the sore stuff, someone to hold the baby so we can shower, someone to make lunch and make sure we eat it.
We need, as Karen Kleiman describes, someone looking over our shoulder at 3am telling us that we are wonderful mothers and, I might add, helping us get restorative sleep to face the next day as the parents we want to be.
So if you’ve been someone who bravely shared your stories to another expectant or new parent and you offered them kind encouragement, thank you. We all find comfort in knowing we’re not alone. I’m a mom too, and was as touched to receive support as I am to give it for all these years.
Just today I read this beautiful post from Esther Kang who bravely speaks with honesty about her experience of motherhood. She’s not alone, you’re not alone.
We appreciate that you gave us the honor of being a part of your support team and allowed us to be witness to your grace, strength and resilience as parents. May you and your family be well and thank you for allowing us 19 years of doing this heart-centered work of helping new families.