“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)

A mother is not born fully-fledged, like Athena springing from Zeus’ head. She is a newborn mother, a baby mother, a little chick mother, as vulnerable and precious as the child she birthed.

A newborn mother may never have held a very young baby. She may not know how to change a nappy, or bathe her baby, and she often doesn’t know who to ask for help, or even how to identify when she needs help.

mother holding baby in her arms

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

She has heard stories about broken sleep, but has never herself experienced the kind of sleep deprivation that causes hallucinations. She took pre-natal classes on the benefits of breastfeeding, but she’s never attached a baby to her own breast. She babysat her friend’s children for an afternoon, but she’s never experienced the shattering transformation that parenthood brings.

This is why it is important for a pregnant woman, and her family, to build a village of support before her baby is born. She needs to know that her village will encourage her while she tests her wings. She needs to trust that if – no, when – she falls, someone will be there to catch her. And as her confidence grows, and she gains strength and purpose, she will fly – not the desperate, panicked flight of a fledgling pushed too soon from the nest, but the soaring of an eagle at home on the wind.