There’s a certain mental shift that happens when a woman first discovers that she is pregnant – it’s almost instantaneous. Taking it upon herself to educate herself about the best ways to better serve the human growing inside her. She awakens to the responsibility of taking care of herself for the sake of the child and the family is inspired to support her in this endeavor by taking care of her. She, along with family, suddenly remembers the importance of taking care of ourselves as a way to adequately taking care of others.
This sudden change in behavior in the people around her, especially her husband/boyfriend, even though often short-lived, is the reason many women may even attempt to use pregnancy to make their partners stay with them or to heal broken marriages. This, however, hardly ever works because when the child is born people easily revert back to old patterns including the mother.
It is therefore interesting to me why families, especially fathers, quickly revert back to old patterns of not supporting mothers and why mothers abandon the belief of educating and nurturing themselves as a way to best serve her offspring, especially when the child stops being physically dependent on its caregivers.
It may feel like love, but if it quickly dissipates then it was all fear.
In his book, ‘The Law of Success’ Napoleon Hill states the fear of death as one of the main six fears that govern how people act. Not only do we as humans fear our own death, we fear the death of others. And pregnancy poses a huge death risk for women and their unborn children. This possibility of death inspires us to protect the one at risk — for our own sanity. Which explains why the immediate family members are suddenly inspired to take care of the pregnant woman, especially because in many cultures women are still seen as the sole nurturers of the household, often expected to take care of everyone without the same care being afforded to them.
This is why when the mother gives birth and the risk of death no longer exists, the family reverts back to old patterns and consequently, the mother abandons the most important aspect of nurturing others — first nurturing self. Though in the mother’s case it is due to now having limited capacity to take care of self as help from family members is withdrawn. It is still important that she continues to nurture herself and cultivates a healing and self-care routines that nourish her, as babies can pick up and internalize their caregiver’s energies.
Once, I was having a discussion with friends about parenting, particularly interesting, was the different beliefs that we have seen play out in our parents’ style of parenting and how these beliefs that are seemingly accepted as normal in society affect us all the way into adulthood. Many beliefs were mentioned that night… From “kids don’t have feelings” “kids should not talk back” to “kids are like trees; they grow on their own”. All of which did not come as a surprise to me as someone who’s job is about addressing childhood adversities. I could, however, see how mentioning these beliefs was triggering to my friends. Undoubtedly bringing to the surface unpleasant memories.
The fear of death is the inspiration behind these beliefs. It places physical needs as more urgent and leaving all else for the offspring to deal with later. An irresponsible act considering early childhood is the foundation from which an individual bases their entire life experiences. It is unfortunate that fathers and family members stop caring for mothers once the child is born, but it is even more detrimental for mothers to stop nurturing self — in the different forms that nurturing self takes from pregnancy to infancy to early childhood, teens and all the way into adulthood.
Transcending this fear will benefit your children…and free you from frustration.
Fear-based parenting that only focuses on physical and maybe mental needs (school) is incomplete and parents who practice it, are merely held ransom by their own traumas and fear. They cause themselves the greatest frustration. They cannot see the bigger picture… That the kids are here to help you grow and remember your divine nature and you are here to help them grow in their divinity. But for them to serve their purpose and you yours, you have to do the inner work and rise to the occasion. How ready are you to drop your projections, fears, and ego…To truly see, hear and connect with your child? This is truly what raising self is.
Fear-based parenting doesn’t only limit your kids it limits you. And as hard as taking your kid’s school, clothing them and feeding them is, they are not fully nurtured if their emotional needs are not met.
You will have to transcend limiting parenting beliefs and address your own childhood deficiencies to put yourself at a better position to grow soul-wise and lead a fulfilling life so you can best serve your children. However, you can only waken to your children’s true individualized mental, emotional and physical needs when you remember yours — before you were conditioned to believe you don’t deserve more than what you got.
So, for those that do not yet have children, use this opportunity to educate yourself and prepare yourself if having children in your life is a responsibility and life experience you want.
But if you are already a parent and this is your first time coming across the concept of conscious parenting, you too can still grow in conjunction with your children. No one is perfect but we can be great parents if we give ourselves permission to grow. I know change is daunting, even more, so addressing childhood adversities, so go easy on yourself.
So, how do you continue self-nurturing even after pregnancy? With or without external support.
The type of nurturing your child requires evolves as she/he grows and with his growth, you too have to keep adapting. The way you nurture yourself also has to evolve.
It is therefore very important to understand the basic brain development stages of a human and what each stage requires. This will allow you to make adequate changes to best meet your child’s needs.
Photographer: Adrian McDonald