Three mothers who share a passion for all things parenting believe there is a lack of informed choice in the maternity sphere in Malta. They tell Simonne Pace that they want to see their children have less challenges and better experiences than they did during their expectant and parenting journeys.
A great friendship and a passion for pregnancy, birth, informed choice and all things parenting brought together Becky Gauci-Maistre, Melissa Bugeja and Sabrina Doublesin.
Small, individual dreams became one big dream and Parenting from the Womb (PftW) was born. To be launched in the next few weeks, this new network of pregnancy, birth and parenting-related service providers, conferences and seminars will be assessing maternity and parenting services available in Malta.
As mothers, the women feel there is a huge flaw in the maternity and parenting industry in Malta.
“We want to bring the levels of service providers, as well as information, up to standard, thereby providing parents with access to informed decision-making,” said the three partners, who believe that parenting starts before conception, but also that the family is symbolic of the mother’s womb.
“People who are exposed to certain norms, such as a physiological birth, breastfeeding, respectful maternal and neonatal care, positive discipline and gentle parenting, will eventually pay it forward both with their children as well as among friends.
“We hope to see such education starting from school-aged children in the near future. We also feel that tools, such as mindfulness, meditation and listening to our instinct, are fast-disappearing traits that need to be brought back as an inherent part of humanity, and the best place to start is within the family unit.”
Becky, who owns Tree of Life, is a childbirth educator, GentleBirth instructor, postpartum doula and babywearing educator and has two daughters and a son, Emma, 5, Amy, 3, and 10-month-old Mark.
Having had a very traumatic experience with her first pregnancy and birth, she provides peer-to-peer support for families who have experienced birth trauma and vaginal birth after a Caesarean. She founded and runs BabyWearing Malta and co-founded the Better Birth Coalition.
Melissa, who has three children, Greg, 6, Maya, 4, and four-month-old Benjamin, owns Breastfeeding Matters, which also runs LatchOn, an incentive for establishments to support breastfeeding families. A breastfeeding counsellor, she holds classes for baby-led weaning and positive discipline.
Sabrina, mother to Adam, 4, and Ben, 2, is an aquatics teacher for babies and toddlers, as well as a meeting and events planner. The owner of Sabee Events, she brings to PftW the same passion and attention to detail in every event she plans.
“We have skills and personalities that complement each other. It was only natural to team up and create PftW,” the three mothers said.
But how can a parent be a parent from the womb? Is a parent ever prepared for such a life-changing event?
Tools such as mindfulness, meditation and listening to our instinct are fast-disappearing traits that need to be brought back as an inherent part of humanity
“We very often hear, ‘But this is my first, I have no idea what to do!’ In the past, a baby was raised by a village, not just by the mother or parents. Parents need to be taught the tools to cope with trusting themselves to conceive, grow, birth and raise that baby. Attending independent ante-natal and parenting classes is crucial if parents are to walk away feeling armed with knowledge.”
The three mothers have one common goal: whatever is best for their children.
“We all put our children first and want to equip them with the tools they would need to be independent, upstanding citizens. PftW aims to provide a wholesome approach to this by providing a ‘tried and tested’ list of service providers as well as a steady stream of knowledge.
“Unfortunately, the world is moving more and more towards a system where children are raised by grandparents, childcarers or the State. The need for both parents to work is increasing fast. We want to help parents to still be able to connect with their children. Quality time is far more important than quantity time, and this is a message we need to get across.”
“Ideally, the bond between babies and parents is created from conception, but there are some families who do not conceive babies. These are parents too and they also need to figure out how to bond with their new arrivals, regardless of age.
“Parenting is the process of connecting with our children, as a family unit, as a team, regardless of the dynamics, and providing them with the tools to become trusting, independent, responsible citizens, raising children who will come to us when they have a problem, who are prepared to fight injustices and who will stand up for others.”
Classes are for the family unit, regardless of its dynamics. “We are not mothering from the womb, but parenting from the womb,” said the three great friends who love working together.
“Parenting is very hard to explain and the dictionary’s definition is hardly comprehensive enough to really understand what it truly is. We would tentatively say that parenting is insane love for your children, the intense desire to give them everything that would make them happy while knowing that you need to prepare them for their autonomy in the global society.
“It is the knowledge that somebody else’s life is worth several times your own. It is broken nights, piles of laundry, never-ending grocery bills, hours on school projects and extracurricular activities. It is the realisation that you could waste precious sleep time wide awake watching them sleep.”
Parenting from the Womb will be hosting its first conference ‘Understanding lactation’ on October 14, with world-renowned breastfeeding specialist Jack Newman, who will be flying in from Canada specifically for the event. Dr Newman will be covering topics including jaundice, hypoglycaemia and low milk supply.
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