Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Unspoken Influence

I have lots of vivid memories from when I was a little girl of 3 or 4 of sitting and “nursing” my many baby dolls. I would sit and rock as I nursed and talked to them- and I loved it! I knew breastfeeding was a great thing…because that’s what Mom did, and she loved nursing.

I remember enjoying pretending to be pregnant- sticking anything I could find under my shirt to make me look like Mom. I couldn’t wait till I was pregnant for real, because I knew it had to be a wonderful thing….I knew because Mom loved being pregnant so much.

Before Mom spoke a word to me on the subject of mothering….before I was nearly old enough to begin to think about my own mothering future and what my philosophies were, my ideas were being shaped and molded. Later as a teenager, I thought through the things I believed and why, tossing around different philosophies, but ultimately, the influence Mom had on me played a large role in shaping my initial perspectives of motherhood, which are still the same today, married and some 15 years later. By the age of 6 or 7, I had clear ideas of the joy-filled paths God intended women to walk. I knew being pregnant was an incredible thing, even though Mom had terrible 1st trimesters….I knew babies were the very best present anyone could ask for….I knew breastfeeding was an amazing way God created for the mother to bond with her babies, and that breastfeeding could be done in any circumstance, while doing any number of other things….I knew that carrying your babies (in your arms or a sling or something that held the baby really close) was what kept baby happiest. I wasn’t really thinking through how I was going to raise my babies- I just instinctively new, partially because of the natural girlishness God gave me, and partially because of observing Mom my whole life, that this was how it was done, and this was what women should love.

As I’ve been walking through my first pregnancy, lots of thought has gone into what my philosophies really are, now that the rubber’s meeting the road. My mothering philosophies effect me and the baby right now, because it starts with my attitude towards pregnancy, my view of the womb, and my view of labor and childbirth. And I realized that, though more developed, studied, and understood now, I still hold to the same views I unconsciously had as a 3 year old, thanks to Mom.

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How are you influencing those around you, even if you don’t say anything? What do your daughters- even your three year olds- view pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood as? What kind of opinions have they already developed, due to your attitudes? Kids catch on fast….without a verbally-instructed course on how they ought to think.

I completely believe that adults should take responsibility for themselves, and it’s up to each young woman to study and decide what mothering method she believes is the best, or to choose to become educated or grow her skills in a certain area. I don’t think any adult can blame their parent for how they turned out. That said, there’s no doubt you have a large impact on your daughters’ lives, and can’t help but influence their take on life, and what they think of Biblical womanhood.

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