"This is the season of receiving.” This being new motherhood, the postpartum year, or I would stretch it throughout the years of early childhood. I heard this phrase from Chris Reines, a UNC nurse specializing in maternal mental health.
How opposite are these words to what we are actually told? How many mamas actually think “This is the season of giving. So let me give, give, give until I have nothing left in me, then give some more and feel guilty that I don’t have even more to give.”? We are TOLD this is the season of giving.
But we were told wrong. This is the season of receiving.
When young babies are at home, it is the time to let others support us (community, grandparents, partners, doulas). In pregnancy and birth a woman give her greatest physical output. And then she is in near constant support of that output through nursing, feeding, tending, learning, soothing. A new mother should not be cleaning up for visitors to come “meet the baby” 1 week post birth, (or 1 month, or 3 …). She should be receiving their love and help, free from judgement of the state of her house and clothing.
This is the time to receive meals, grace, and space as she changes, integrates, and learns. This is the time to receive hugs, childcare, help in whatever way feels like restorative nourishment. This is the time to receive acknowledgement that she has done and is doing hard, incredible work. This is her time to receive acceptance in the community as the new person she now is.
Why? Because when Mama receives in this vital first year after birth (and beyond) she comes back to her relationships, her job, her community, as a WHOLE PERSON with even more to offer everyone.
It is womans great ability to give; lets never forget her superpower is awakened in receiving.