The old saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is true, and as our society has moved out of villages and into big cities, this saying and the action of communal raising of children has been set aside. It's "proper" to mind ones own business and to be only concerened with the business of what happens within our four walls.
There are pockets of these villages tucked in our cities. Places where neighbors look out for one another's children. Where parents trust other parents in the rearing of children. And often times, in queer and progressive communities children being raised by multipe parents and parent figures. I imagine that these children, shown love and nurting not only by parents, but by their community are well-loved, well-adjusted children who turn into community-focused adults.
It is my belief that women and people who are pregnant and in early motherhood also need villages. Not just to help raise the children but to honor, support and love the person who has recently given birth. I encourage my clients to find their tribe and that is my tip for today.
It's been a while since I blogged. I'm happy to say that I attended a lovely birth two months ago. I have been busy raising a child with my friends who keeps me on my toes. It is amazing to see him grow into the little person he has become. I'm very happy to be dedicating the late summer and fall to birth and birth work, taking classes, attending workshops and marketing myself a bit more for families looking for inclusive, spiritual, parent-centered births. After August I will be booking births, so until then I want to re-focus on my blog and Tip Tuesday.
So, Finding your Tribe. What does this mean? As a Jew, the idea of a tribe feels very Torah (Bible) specific. We read of the 12 Tribes of the People Israel going to the corners of the earth. As a black woman I imagine the tribes my ancestors were members of before being brought to the Americas. And as an American living in the PNW, I think of the Native American tribes that are so close to me, yet so far away. And I think that's just it, as Americans disconnected to our tribal roots, the idea of a "tribe" may seem foreign or a bit like you're appropriating a culture. But when I say that a birthing person or mother should find her tribe I don't necessarily there should be ritual or dress or ceremony (although there could be). I simply mean, a group of women, parents, people who are there to support, love and listen to you.
These people aren't there to tell you what to expect, to warn you of the "horrors of birth" or to tell you what's right or wrong for you. Which means, selecting these sacred people may be a task. But they may be a great aunt who has always had a nurturing spirit about her. A friend whose child rearing you admire, another person who is also pregnant or a friend who has recently given birth. These are the people who you can talk to, or more, the people you can bare your soul to. They are there to not just listen, but to hear you say that you're scared, tired, feel like giving up. They are there to hold you up when it feels like a burden and they are there to hold your hand when you feel alone.
It's been my experience that after the initial flow of well-wishers and guests have slowed down, settling into parenting can be overwhelming, alienating, and a bit scary. Your doula has moved onto a new client, your doctor has new patients, your partner may be back to work, grandparents are back home. This is when you turn to your tribe and they will hold you up.
Hi there! I'm Erika Davis and I'm a doula working in the Seattle and South Puget Sound area.