Monday, May 2, 2011

La Mamma!

I was lucky when I had four little ones, because I lived in Italy, a country world-renowned for its art and culture. What? You are imagining I took my four rambunctious boys to the museums? No! The museums came to us ...
There was one image that was always around, and that was the image of a mother and child. Everywhere I looked, when I first arrived in Florence with my oldest, who was then a babe-in-arms, was an image of a beautiful woman with a baby on her lap. The religious details didn't mean anything to me - but the beauty of that image moved deep into my soul and colored much of what I believe about mothering.
I was honored back then. It was a generation that wasn't too reproductive, and we made up for it by having four boys each two years apart. Everyone looked at me with admiration, though they thought I was a happy fool. A peasant once drew me aside to ask me if I knew about "the pillola" - the little pill. I was happy in my ignorance and enjoyed the fertility of that life.

I look at my clients here in a city that is under snow much of the time, where children are considered a nuisance, and the best times are when mom and dad get to go out on their own, and I admire those women I meet who devote their immense energies to being with their young ones. I work with women to achieve their optimum birthing experience, but often I find I am giving support after the baby is born and named - when the mother wants assurance that she is doing the right thing by holding her baby when he cries, or she wants her baby to sleep with her, or she keeps her two year old home from daycare. It is hard enough being a mother without having to cope with everyone else's ideas about what you should or shouldn't be doing. If only we could honor mothers just for being mothers! I felt I received that honor, when my boys were small - no one knew who I was or where I was from, but when they saw me with my children, they congratulated me. I was fulfilling the honorable task of raising babies.

To the mothers having and raising babies! To the women who support them!

2 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful memory!! i feel that same special respect when i walk around with my baby boy (now almost 2) on my back... even here in north america!

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  2. That's great to hear that people respected it. I wish it happened more here and now but anyway without it we get more reward, right? The pill is seriously a bad idea as contraceptives go... :)

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