We just spent the weekend in a course called Safe Babies. Hubby joked about going to learn how to change poopy diapers and install baby gates as we reluctantly dragged ourselves off to the course! Our intention is to foster older kids, but since we are open to sibling groups there is potential for a baby and we needed to take the course!
What we actually learned was a whole lot about all the things that can influence a baby before they are even born and what to expect when mothering a child with pre-natal exposure. Now you might be familiar with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as the result of consuming alcohol during pregnancy, and be somewhat aware that using drugs or tobacco during pregnancy is not advised like I was! But I had no idea how these things permanently damage the actual architecture of the brain and change the expected outcomes for these kids for life!
It made me stop and think!!
We ALL have a mother!! Not one of us came into existence without one! Those stories and experiences are varied! In a best case scenario you were raised by a Mom who wanted you and loved you and cared for you in a stable home for your formative years! I am blessed with one of those Moms!! And I consider her a great Mom, still enjoy spending time with her and seeking out her thoughts and opinions! This is surprisingly not the norm. Many people tell a different story of abuse, neglect, abandonment and a home rife with stress. For many the mention of Mom is painful and causes all kinds of mixed emotions!!
Even the best of Mom’s have made mistakes in their mothering journey! The relationship with your mom is complicated!
Yet most of the female population desires to be a Mom! That desire is full of it’s own pitfalls, heartbreaks and challenges. A best case scenario is choosing to bring a child into the world into a stable home environment with a partner where there is the time and resources to raise them into confident, competent human beings who are loved! The fairy tale we all hope for! Then there are all those who want to be a Mom and can’t conceive a child, those who want to adopt and wait…, those who don’t carry a beloved child to term and suffer through miscarriage, and those who never find themselves in the stable relationship they crave and feel they can’t have a child.
Stats indicate that 50% of pregnancies aren’t planned! That’s a whole lot of surprise! Some meet the challenge of that surprise and go on to have the best case scenario… others do not! Unplanned pregnancy can be incredibly challenging whether the mom is young or old, single or married, healthy or facing her own health challenges! Then there are Step Mom’s, and Foster Mom’s and people who never carry the title Mom but mother little people none the less!! The trip to motherhood is complicated and the few scenarios I’ve mentioned only scratch the surface!
As we learned about how exposure to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and stress impacts fetal growth I was humbled by the incredible miracle that growing a little human is! I had the privilege of having 3 beautiful children and watching them grow into wonderful adults! I had the supports and resources, education and health to do that! I no longer take that for granted!
Many women are facing challenges I can’t even begin to comprehend in the journey to having a child and raising a child! The world is like that. If you know a woman who is struggling in her mothering journey you can make a difference! Take off your “judgy pants” (as one of our amazing instructors from the course said more than once this weekend) and offer help! The care and concern of just one individual can make all the difference in the world!!
So before I go off on a rant… let me just say that life is complicated. Choose to think the best of those who are struggling. Offer what you have to be helpful. Love one another. All the moms I know are doing the best they can, and they are all too hard on themselves!!
I’m going to go spend some time loving 2 beautiful kids who are in my home. They might be here for a short time, or a long time… but I’m told every moment makes a difference!
In the midst of the mess,