How do women do it? How did my mother do it?

Hannah Kim and the twins

…a good mother gives her children a feeling of trust and stability. She is their earth. She is the one they can count on for the things that matter most of all. –KATHARINE BUTLER HATHAWAY

My new daughter-in-law called me the other day and said ‘how do you do it all’? Now I know for a fact that my son does his fair share of the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, but they both have jobs and go to school, and have a dog that needs to be walked and two cats whose litter box has to be changed, but even without a child, they run out of hours in the day.

I’m glad that she marvels at what her mother, who raised four daughters, and I, who raised two sons, managed to hold together, and I also let her know that we all ‘lose it’ sometimes. I’m anxious for grandchildren, but I know the responsibility of parenthood only too well, and support their decision to wait. As I walk the streets of Potrero Hill where I live, and see the young families, my heart goes out to them all.  You have to be brave to live in this world. 

I love that men are present at their children’s births. I love to see the fathers with their babies in carriers at the coffee shop, and I want to give them a better infant carrier so they can really tote the little guy around and let Mom get some sleep.

Sleep, that precious thing that ravels up the sleeve of care. Go without it and you go a little crazy. You forget things, and get irritable, or worse, you can’t stop crying and you don’t know why.

The typical new mother hasn’t slept well for at least the last month of her pregnancy, and already sleep deprived, she loses at least a full night of sleep when she’s in labor, if she’s lucky.

Before she can put her knees together the baby is encouraged to find her nipple and ‘latch on’, which he will now do almost constantly for the next month, regardless of whether its day or night.

As a postpartum doula you do what you can. Her mother does what she can. So does her husband, and her girlfriend, but it all comes back to good old Mom. She is the earth, the moon, the sky to the little one who has just arrived.

To present her with an infant carrier that is an extension of herself, an external womb that she can tuck her precious bundle back into for safe keeping while she performs a simple task or even, God forbid, nods off to sleep…it’s OK. Your precious child is safe…there, on your chest. Yes, feel his heart against yours, feel his chest rise and fall with each breath, smell his sweet neck…he is ‘nested’.

Julie, Your Chief Mother Officer


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