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"Mothering" for a Mother too- Part2

In my last article, I spoke about the joy and fortune of becoming a mother, by explaining the lactation response, which I refer to as the precious collaboration between mother and child. This can also be considered how a mother first expresses her love and the active maternal socialization for her child, and her joy and happiness of becoming a mother. These heart-warming thoughts and feelings contribute to the smooth functioning of motherhood.

On the other hand, loss of confidence in childrearing, an environment that does not celebrate a mother's new status may deteriorate the mother's condition and the flow of motherhood may come to a halt. Lactation stops and it becomes impossible for the mother to raise the baby on breast milk. Lactation is a complex system involving the mind, heart and organ functions.

The tradition for the Japanese expectant mother to return to her parents' home before the birth of her child is especially important from this perspective. The importance of being surrounded by familiar people and things that have warmed her heart since childhood and by her own mother and siblings who give her strength and love is significant for the mother who is about to go through childbirth. The delivery process including breastfeeding and childrearing are critical for the continued and comfortable existence of the child.

The serene emotional state of the mother is important for the period surrounding childbirth to establish the human interaction between mother and child after birth and successful lactation.

In today's society where there is an increase in the one-generation living system, this traditional form of existence, with familial and community support for childrearing is deteriorating. Accompanying this deteriorating support of the woman is the decline in the rate of successful breastfeeding and consequently, an increase in problems with childrearing, which is becoming a contemporary societal phenomenon.

Mothering the Mother

I have read about the following research carried out by D. Raphael in the United States nearly 40 years ago. The success rate of breastfeeding of new mothers differed depending on whether their own mothers lived in Texas or somewhere in New York.

Needless to say, the group with their mothers nearby had a higher breastfeeding success rate. Whether or not the new mother consciously recognizes the security she feels with her own mother living nearby, the fact is that when the mother actually is near, lactation occurs more smoothly. For those with mothers in Texas who were 4 or 5 hours away by flight, it was a close phone call away, but emotionally too far away to offer the new mother emotional security.

It is important the new mother to be mothered by her own mother, her husband or even the community by giving her loving support so she can have a smooth lactation cycle and begin socialization of her own child.

"Mothering (note 1) the mother" is something that has evolved over time and has proven to be successful in allowing the flowers of the future to bloom. In other words, the love and support that surrounds a new mother is just as important as the love she will pass onto her own baby. It is the source of the new energy coming into this world.


(Note 1) Mothering refers to the maternal care and maternal love given to others. It also has references to motherhood and mother-like.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1991). Hahaoya nimo mazaringu wo -2 (written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved July 5, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.crn.or.jp/LIBRARY/KOBY/MIRAI/cbs0083.html
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