Want to know WTF a Woke Mama is? Each week, we’re introducing awesome women who are making the world a kinder place, one happy baby at a time.
Babe: Namo, 13 months
What does being a woke mama mean to you?:
In one sense, it means seeing Namo for who he is, and meeting him where he is – regardless of my own expectations or those of society at large.
In another, it’s about staying educated and aware of the issues he’ll face as a mixed race boy and man, and confronting my white privilege in regard to this.
I also celebrate the fact he’ll grow up in a world where it’ll be ever more possible to have a public conversation about his gender identity and sexuality, but I think it’s important to stay aware of the struggles he’ll still face if he deviates from the ‘norm’.
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite acspect of it?:
Like a lot of people on this site, it wasn’t something I consciously chose – I just kind of followed my instinct which mainly screamed CUDDLE HIM AND THEN CUDDLE HIM SOME MORE. I actually think I was quite lucky – my husband is from a culture which widely regards current Western parenting norms as completely nuts – co-sleeping is the norm, women spend a month in bed after giving birth doing nothing much except breastfeeding and cuddling the baby, and families are much closer in general. So he just saw the ‘gentle’ approach as normal, and it wasn’t until people started pursing their lips at our babywearing, family-bedding ways that we realised we were considered a bit odd.
Most awesome moment so far?:
It’s all been pretty great, but those first 3 months when Namo just wanted to be snuggled skin-to-skin on my chest, or to feed, and we lost whole hours just gazing at his face…ahhh. Bliss. It’s amazing now that he’s running around the place and starting to talk, but man that first bit is unreal.
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?:
Postnatal depression, brought on in part by a horrible postnatal hospital admission. I am very grateful that it manifested as self-hatred rather than interfering with my bond with Namo, but although it’s a lot better it still casts a shadow.
I think postnatal care – like a lot of women’s health issues – is one of the biggest taboos in our society and it shocks me on a daily basis how many women suffer through it.
I cope with a mix of medication and therapy, in addition to a lot of meditation and some dietary changes (went vegan, just to be more of a hippie cliche).
How do you juggle gentle parenting life and work?:
I’m lucky enough to work for myself, so although I started working again quite soon after having Namo, I was able to do so whilst still being his primary carer (hard but juuuust doable!).
Now he’s a bit older, I’m able to take a little more work on and split childcare with his dad which is awesome for their bond.
Any advice you would give to new mums?:
Very little in contemporary Western society aligns well with new motherhood. Our postnatal bodies and our new babies still need to be surrounded by a tribe, taking care of our physical and emotional needs.
What we categorically do not need is a media denouncing our bodies even more than usual, a health system that chucks us out on our broken vaginas as soon as we’re no longer baby-vessels and a wider society that thinks it’s totes normal and fine for one or two people to do all the babycare whilst the new mother is still in a shit-ton of physical and emotional pain.
So basically, new mums, you are fucking warriors. Take no shit, and surround yourselves as far as possible with others of a similar mind.
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?:
Joni Mitchell (as ever) and the Rockabye Baby playlist on YouTube (Classic rock in the style of nursery rhymes – Namo particularly liked Stairway to Heaven on the Glockenspiel)
Read Lucy’s blog: Totesblatesyeahbabez
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