I have been blogging (albeit inconsistently) from the perspective of a mother of two little ones. I have also been following the blogs and vlogs of a couple of friends, one who is experiencing her first pregnancy and the other experiencing life with a toddler and a newborn. Two very different women from different cultures and different circumstances. However, despite their differences, not only with each other but with me too, I noticed that at the very core of their stories was the same sort of emotions, the same wants, needs, and fears. This is where I felt the connection with these two beautiful women, and could wholeheartedly empathise with what they were sharing.
With each scan you attend, there is always that worry about your baby being ok, and if anything seems even slightly out of the ordinary, alarm bells are immediately triggered inside your head. During pregnancy, as the bump grows, so does your pride in bearing it as well as the constant need to stroke it. Then when you bring your newborn home to meet their sibling, there is always that worry about jealousy and the constant awareness of making sure the older one is getting enough attention from you.
From the moment a woman learns that she is carrying a child, she shares the same fears and the same joy that mothers have been experiencing for centuries. What I’ve come to realise is that we all fundamentally want and fear the same things as Mama bears, it’s part of our natural, primal instincts. There are many labels and sub labels we could give these wants and fears, but I have identified three main ones:
- Security. Whether you’re a tribal mother living in a remote part of the rainforest or an urban mother living in a concrete jungle, we all have the need to feel secure. Security covers many aspects, such as having family or local support, financial security, having shelter, being able to provide for and protect your child, etc. A mother living in the rainforest might not care about (or have any concept of) being able to pay for rent, and a city dwelling mother might not fear a bad harvest, but they can both relate to the feeling of having a safe shelter that they can call home, and the need to be able to provide for themselves and their child.
- Good health. When I had my 20 week (anomaly) scan during my first pregnancy, I decided to bring my mother because I wanted to include her in our special journey, especially as it was for her first grandchild. One of the things that struck me during this experience was her reaction to the technology and how different things had been in her day. She never once received a scan during her pregnancies, and they only found out the sex of the baby after delivery. Imagine going through the whole 9 months without a scan? For me, that would give room to so much worry and doubt. Even with all this wonderful technology to help keep a track of mother and baby’s health and development it’s a natural reaction to worry, but I cannot even fathom what it must have been like to be pregnant in the times before these technological developments. At the end of the day we all just want a healthy baby and for “everything to be ok”; this is a natural and universal feeling for every parent.
- Freedom. I believe that we are all born to be free and no living organism, be it creature, beast, or human, ever wants to feel trapped, in the physical, emotional, psychological, or financial sense. It wasn’t until recently that I realised that my relationship with money wasn’t so much of a material thing but more of being connected to a feeling of freedom, or “financial freedom” in this case. I asked myself what money represented to me, and that was the word that came to me: freedom. With freedom comes choice, or having the freedom to choose; free to be yourself, free to provide, free to love, free to live. Again, freedom can cover many aspects, and what I’m discovering is that a lot of the time it has a lot to do with reprogramming our minds so that we can see things from a different perspective in order to connect to that feeling no matter what the situation is.
I could go a step further and give all of the above just one label, and if I had to pick one word as the umbrella for all of the above, that word would be “safety”.
Ultimately, as mothers (and as human beings) we all want to feel safe, and it’s a feeling that I believe we all innately seek throughout life. Even all the thrill seekers or dare devils out there, those are temporary highs that some reach for, and I would argue that anyone who falls into that category still seeks some kind of safety, perhaps in the form of being able to nourish their body with nutrients, or mind with good knowledge, or heart with good relationships, or spirit with freedom.
Safety is that feeling of comfort and relief. Safety is something that we become even more acutely aware of when we bring a newborn into this world. Safety is one of the first things that we teach our child as they explore their new world. Whilst we all want safety, as human beings we all tend to have the same responses when faced with the opposite, fear, which is to go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. I added “freeze” because sometimes one literally just freezes on the spot, neither fighting nor fleeing the perceived danger. Personally, I tend to bury my head in the sand, especially when it comes to financial matters (this is something that I am working to overcome).
However, when it comes to fear, sometimes our bodies and minds tend to react to perceived danger (large or small) in the same way, not differentiating between logical and illogical fear. It’s a primal response and something that is ingrained in our DNA from when our ancestors faced the fear of dying from being hunted by a wild animal or suffering from a bad harvest or hunt. So, could it be that our response to fear is actually because we fear that death will be the result? Unless you actually live in a jungle and are exposed to the possibility of being attacked by a wild animal, this fear is illogical, but still our bodies react as if it were. This is why I believe that our need for safety comes from a natural and very primal place, and encompasses many areas in our lives; ultimately we share the same wants and fears no matter what our circumstances are, and that is the thing that connects us all.
For anyone reading this, I hope that you find comfort in my words. We are all different beings having unique life experiences but with the same wants and fears. It is in the recognition that we have this in common with each other that allows us to have compassion and empathy for all. May you always find your way back to that feeling of safety, no matter where you are and what your challenges in life may be.
Thank you for reading.
picture taken from PikTex