Happy Mother’s Day!
Every May we honor the mamas in our lives! Sometimes that is our birth mothers, at times fathers, grandparents, aunties or uncles, siblings, or someone who chose to take on the responsibility to mother us. Being a mother goes beyond the physical act of birthing, and we include cis, trans, and gender non-conforming folks in our celebration today. To mother includes acts of nourishing our children physically and emotionally, holding space for their spirit and individuality as they grow, taking on the responsibility of telling hard truths about the world, and ultimately facing your limits in protecting them. Mothering is a continuous act of love that often demands self-sacrifice and is a practice that can be embodied by anyone who rises to the occasion.
In many societies, mothering is not a solo act. Practices such as communal chestfeeding, traditional postpartum “lying in” periods, and robust social support throughout people’s entire lives meant that mothers rarely parented alone. In this sense, mothers are meant to be mothered too. Our answer to this need at Open Arms is our community of doulas, lactation consultants and peer counselors, and community connectors that provide birthing people and their families with the physical, emotional, and resource support otherwise absent or difficult to reach. We know that the key to thriving families, healthy children, and powerful communities lies in our ability to come together and use cultural, ancestral, and evidence-based practices to transform lives.
Our society lacks meaningful support for birthing people and families, resulting in adverse health outcomes both before, during, and after birth as well as through life. Parents are expected to go through incredible physical and emotional hurdles without the ability to prioritize rest and healing, instead of worrying about employment, bills, and health care access. Those that birth are expected to “bounce back” and all caregivers are pressured to give themselves wholly to the identity without asking anything in return. If there is anything that the pandemic has shown us, is that all parents need help and that all children need access to affordable, accessible childcare.
At Open Arms, our mission is to hold birthing people through times of great transition and our dedicated staff makes sure that no one is left alone during birth, postpartum, and the tender years of early childhood. Our responsibility is to ensure that mothers and parents in our community are supported with the resources necessary to take their own time for healing and adjustment. At a time when everyone’s reproductive choices and rights are threatened, we at Open Arms know that our responsibility is to protect all reproductive choices of our families and communities, including if or when to become a biological parent. On Mother’s Day, we want to take a moment to reaffirm our commitment to this responsibility and celebrate each of you who has taken on the sacred role of mothering someone you love.