How do you want to welcome your child into the world? What are the concepts you cherish and the connections you wish to impart to your new baby? How do you want to parent differently than you were parented?
If you're reading this blog, you've probably already answered and planned for similar questions on your child birthing experience. While we can't always tailor each of these first experiences as a new parent, we can plan some guidelines for how we welcome our children into our world, our family, and our culture. We can also use the opportunity of welcoming new life to learn more about ourselves, our values, and the lives of those who came before us.
Child-rearing has a way of making us look back at our own childhoods, revisiting nostalgic (and sometimes painful) memories. These are opportunities to heal ourselves, to celebrate our growth and gather the wisdom of our ancestors in raising a new generation. Raising a child will present many new questions and challenges that require us to look within ourselves and into our communities to find the answers on what to teach and how to do so.
As you feed your child physically, I encourage you to be present in those moments of nourishment and mindful of all the ways you are providing for this new life. Breastfeeding provides so much more than caloric energy. It provides emotional sustenance for your baby, it provides mutual health benefits, it allows the physical connection that is lost after your baby is birthed and no longer inside of you. Breastfeeding can also have an effect on the epigenetics of your baby, the genetic expression that is passed down from generation to generation, which can be altered by trauma (Billiar, n.d.)
As you give of yourself physically, think of what you want to impart spiritually, emotionally, culturally. What you want to heal and what you want to grow. How do you plan to root your child to that which is most meaningful to you? This is a special opportunity to appraise your life values through the new, impressionable eyes of your little one. You get the chance to re-examine your history and build a new story with the life that has been entrusted to you.
Billiar, C. (n.d.) ICEA: Epigenetics and Breastfeeding. https://icea.org/epigenetics-and-breastfeeding/