Valentine’s Day is almost here and I’d like to celebrate it by celebrating moms. It is a joy for me to be working with Mother’s, Babies, N’at and also with Shining Light Prenatal Education. Around the world and through the artistic ages, mothers have been celebrated in art. I’d like to share a few of them here. Sometimes, especially at a 3:00 AM feeding, mothering can be very lonely. And then too it seems like mothering is a skill and a craft our culture takes for granted and doesn’t value highly. Remember, mothers, you are valued! I hope this art will serve as a Valentine to remind you just how important you are, to your children and to us all.
This is a close-up of a Nereid from the fountain of Neptune in Bologna.
“A Mother’s Duty” by Pieter de Hooch (1629–after 1684) – Show’s a mother delousing her daughter’s hair.
Fritz Zuber-Buhler’s Maternity.
Renoir’s “Mother and Child” 1882.
Fountain of the Mothers in Macedonia.
Each child is a blessing and each belly is beautiful. That is the way doulas feel about it. Each belly will give way to a birth story. The pregnant belly is a temporary beauty. It is our baby’s first nest. We get to feel the stirring of our child’s kicks and prods. We get to feel fertile and voluptuous. It feels like spring-time. Pictures can take us back to that memory. A baby nursing can remind you why the journey was so important.
Midwife Salome at Jesus' birth
The Post-Gazette reported that the new health care law means that midwives will be getting the same reimbursement as doctors for births and prenatal care.
“In short, it says certified nurse midwives will now receive the same Medicare reimbursement as physicians when they provide the same services, from prenatal care to routine deliveries. They had been getting only 65 percent of the physician’s fee.”
This change will mean that more people will be using midwives more regularly and that midwives will be able to afford remaining midwives. In Pittsburgh, many midwives have had to change their practices or stop practicing because they couldn’t afford to keep being midwives. This is a banner day for birth!
This year I have clients due close to Christmas day. My own mother’s birthday is December 21st and recently, she switched when she celebrated it to June 21st — she switched from the winter solstice to the summer solstice. She had her first outdoor birthday ever! It was great.
My mother has definite ideas about how to celebrate a birthday that is near Christmas. She gave us a set of guidelines which I will pass on to you:
- Always use birthday wrapping paper and birthday-type cards, nothing Christmassy.
- Give separate and distinct gifts, not a scarf for the birthday and matching hat for Christmas.
- It is OK to celebrate the birthday earlier and further away from Christmas (like the weekend before).
- Don’t play Christmas music or have a Christmas theme at the birthday party.
- Try not to name your child something extremely Christmassy, a little goes a long way.
- Remember, it seems like everyone is celebrating the birth of another baby, make the birth of your baby special to your family (the other baby won’t mind).
Every child is a blessing and a miracle. Enjoy yours.
This is a fifteenth century painting called The Birth of Mary by an unknown painter known only as “Master of the life of the Virgin” from Cologne. As you can see, St. Anne, Mary’s mother, is being attended by many doulas. Probably one of her women attendants is a midwife and the rest are doulas. You can’t tell from the picture which is the midwife. All of the women are assisting the new mother and her baby. It is a peaceful domestic scene of birth. The red bedspread and canopy show us how important this birth was.