Journal information

  • Title: Welcome to 2021
  • Date: 13 March 2021

Welcome to 2021

When we are preparing for babies arrival, there is a heavy focus on the physicality of pregnancy, health of the mother, and the growing baby. Towards the end of pregnancy, the focus shifts to working towards a healthy delivery of baby. When the baby arrives, the energy remains centred around the baby.

But the question remains…who mothers the mother. Who provides nurturance, care, and safety to the mother, who is journeying through the most significant and impactful stage of change she may ever experience. A change of self, a change of relationships physically, emotionally, socially and mentally.

The journey into parenthood comes with so many expectations, from so many directions, well meaning friends and family, health professionals, media, social media, as well as our own experiences and expectations of self.

In the western world we live in, we hold an individualised mind set, in which independence, autonomy and self sufficiency is celebrated, promoted and admired. Right from infancy, we are sent messages that foster this mind set…..

This mind set works against us, because feeling as though we aren’t meeting the expectations of parenting is the biggest barrier to seeking the support we so often need, as a normal part of the mothering journey.

This area of work, mothering the mother, is where my personal and professional passion become fused together, and I love it.

I reflect back to may baby shower, and I remember expressing my gratitude for the village of wonderful women that surrounded me, a few of which are here once again supporting me today. My understanding of the importance of having a village of people around you through the journey into motherhood was acknowledged, and appreciated, but at the time, not truly felt.

I was fully aware, that not having a support system amplified the vulnerability of emotional difficulties following babies arrival. But what I did not realise was even when wonderfully helpful loving support was readily available, our own internal representations of parenting and the expectations we hold, and the cultural structure that we reside in, can be a gigantic barrier to reaching out and utilising the help that’s available.

I truly believe that if we can share the message around impactful parenting expectations, normalise experiences of uncertainty and self doubt, talk openly about the difficult emotional experiences that come along with this ever challenging journey of motherhood, and revisit what research states as developmentally normal infant behaviour, the barrier to share, to connect, to seek help and build a helpful village will begin to break away. And we will begin to nurture a culture within our community that accepts and offers the need for support.

A little while back I was given the opportunity to interview Pinky Mckay a best seeling author of 4 titles, including Parenting by Heart. I came across Pinkys work as a tired and overwhelmed first time mum of an infant, who was drawn into and lost amongst the expectations of how baby should behave and perform particularly in relation to sleep. Feeling anxious and battling feelings of self doubt, and struggling to sit with my own intuition I begun to search for evidence that I’m either doing right or wrong by my baby, and thankfully found Pinky. Pinky’s sharing of knowledge is non prescriptive and supportive. And from a professional standpoint, contain two crucial aspects in the recipe of mama well being. I was lucky enough to interview her a little while back, and wanted to share and finish up this very fitting quote, Pinky says…

“ My wish for women is for them too not feel the pressure to be perfect in their role as mother. And for them to feel free in expressing that being a mum is hard, and help is needed. And when women seek help, for this not to have the underlying message ‘there is something wrong with you’”.

The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ comes from an era of parenting and a style of parenting (different to the western world) where communities were closer, generational family systems remained together…resulting in an actual village of support working together to take care of both mother and child.

To the Mama Base Community, our promise to you is that we will continue to grow and work towards building a aligned accessible community of support to nurture your needs through parenthood.

We will continue to work toward breaking down the barriers, expectations and beliefs that get in the way of us standing up and seeking the help that is needed to rase thriving families and communities.

We vow to continue to be the voice within our community that says, support is needed, and here we are.

Rachel Bridge
Founder & director at Mama Base Illawarra