I'm really not political. I mean like I run away from debates like the plague. I am more neutral than Switzerland. If you see a political post on my Facebook then it is my code for come and find me I have been abducted and need help. That being said, I have to react to the recent unpleasantness at the borders. I MUST. Families are essential.
I think I have mentioned my mission trip to Uganda before but in January of this year I went on this life changing adventure. The middle of their summer in the dry season I was in Kaberamaido. We have this amazing “carepoint” where we meet the needs of children who are, usually, orphaned by the loss of one or both parents. They must receive school fees and food and most of all love. On my trip, I received all the love and joy I could handle. So why do I bring this up in a blog post about uniting families?
While I was there, I experienced the true meaning of family. I believed foolishly that I was going there to give. I never felt the need to be a savior, I have a Savior already and so do they. I did feel like I would be a teacher to some young people and some mothers. I thought as a Postpartum doula I would impart great knowledge about bonding and attachment. The mothers of Uganda have all the knowledge they need. The people I met there, like Florence and like Monica, (the names they asked me to use) were mothers to everyone. They are my age probably or a bit older, but so much wiser. These women humble me as I see them easily caring for the other mothers and children around them. Men are quite scarce in that community. Either they were murdered by guerrillas, dead from disease or with another family because they make the rounds. There is also rampant alcoholism. But none of that changes the way I saw family shown to me. Aunts raising nieces, grandmothers nursing grandchildren, sisters looking after each other's children and older siblings (I'm talking 8 or 9 years old) with infants strapped to their backs going about their day. They were all looking out for each other. I realize I only saw a snap shot and that often we put on our best for visitors but I am certain that children are valued there and families are together fighting for a better life.
I look at this and I compare it to our lives here and I feel like we really are missing something. I know I have talked before about community I also want to talk about attachment. The babies I saw did not often cry. These babies had their need for touch met by being carried everywhere by many relatives and friends. They were fed on demand by the breast of the closest lactating mother. The children, as they grew were given freedom that was developmentally appropriate. It was intuitive and completely safe because everyone was looking out for everyone else. Now clearly, as I have already stated, it is not all roses and there are needs in Uganda. But here is the key, in the poverty and the diseases that permeate the country, the people are looking out for those in need. If a family member is homeless or without food, the extended family believes it is shameful to not care for their own.
Here from my soapbox, my words are clear. Do you want to change the way our country is going? Work on making better people. You don't think cuddling your baby can have any way of making a better future? You would be so very wrong! This is THE way!!!
Bonding changes brain chemistry. Brain chemistry effects the way we see things. The way we see things can create a paradigm shift. We can bring this care for each other into our way of thinking. We can love our way into creating a new way. Keep families together. Feel the weight of your own power as a mother. You can change things, but not in resistance and war or laws and divisions. You change the world by rocking a baby, holding her close to your heart and making sure she feels loved! This baby will then grow, maybe she will be a policy maker, maybe she will see the way she developed well emotionally and help others learn to help their babies. Maybe she will hold her baby and help her to grow into a adult with a healthy emotional life which also betters the lives of others. Can't you see how important you are? If you want to change the world start with the children who think you are the world and think the world of you.
PS I am reading a fascinating book about brain chemistry. This is not a plug, I get no gain from sharing this. I just want to share this resource with you. Oh, and I just thought of another I would recommend if you are interested in how you can effect the brain chemistry of your child for good...
Anatomy of the Soul:
The Whole Brained Child
Paula is a single mother of 3. Follow along on her journeys of motherhood and her fulfilling work as a postpartum doula