Becoming Mami: A New Generation Speaks
Latinas on Natural Birth, Gentle Mothering and Acceptance
When I was pregnant, the support for a natural birth and breastfeeding came, not from my community of gente, but from non-Latina friends I met in birth class — kinda-crunchy Nashville friends who used doulas and cloth diapers and didn’t think “co-sleeping” was a dirty word.
It is only now, nearly 8 years after I delivered my only child, that I have found a tribe of Latina women who get my personal desire to focus on natural options, and also understand the cultural perspective from which I see the world. Unfortunately, most of them are accessible to me only through cyberspace.
But in those glorious days of my big belly, of sleepless nights, trouble at the breast and loca-making toddler years, I would have loved to have a circle of Latina mom friends to bounce things off of too. I imagine a few of them would have told me que lo coja con calma un poco.
Now, before we go further, let’s quickly state that I firmly believe: “It isn’t how you birth ‘em, but how you raise ‘em.”
That being said, I want to give a space to Latina women who are increasingly attempting mothering in a way often ridiculed, or derided, in certain circles. Maybe la familia doesn’t get it, or they live in an area with a low rate of natural births or breastfeeding.
So this week you will read essays on natural birth, natural birth plans that didn’t go as planned, breastfeeding, gentle parenting, and one extra special essay by a mother of two children with Down syndrome.
The thread that runs through all the essays is Acceptance — acceptance in the power of our bodies, in trusting outcomes we didn’t plan and in the people we love and adore.
I hope you — regardless of your birthing and mothering preferences — will enjoy the heart these women are sharing.
- Suzanne Garcia Mateus, whose baby daughter turns 1 this week, worked on letting go of fear to accomplish an un-medicated delivery and explains the process that helped her.
- Dulce Chalé, a mother of four, examines the tight rope walk that is parenting in two cultures — of making choices different than the ones your own parents made.
- Saray Hill became a lactation consultant after the birth of her child and now does what was done for her — offer support to new mothers who want to nurse their babies.
- A story about my own attempt for a natural delivery, which ended in a Cesarean section after 37 hours. There was mourning, but also gratitude.
- Maybelline Valenti got ill toward the end of her pregnancy and her completely unmedicated birth plan didn’t go as planned. Today, she raises her son as naturally and organically as possible.
- Eliana Tardio is raising two children with Down syndrome. A difficult situation has turned into a life’s mission and taught her more about love and compassion than anything else ever could have.
We hope you will join us and share the stories with women in your lives.