Motherhood is safe and happy if…Part 1
By Penelope A. Domogo, MD
Happy Mother’s Day to all women in this world, especially to my two daughters, Gawani and Adamey, who now have children of their own. Women who don’t have biological children are also mothers to their nieces, nephews, children of friends and kin. “Mothering” is an instinct- a product of the female hormones which manifests itself in many ways like when you see a baby, a child, a person in distress. Notice how women would be drawn instinctively to a baby or a child and see how we try to relate with the baby. On the other hand, observe the reaction of a male. Deadma. Relax, guys, we don’t begrudge you this. It’s not your fault- it is a matter of XY – the male hormones. As a review, when an X egg meets an X sperm, the resulting baby is female. When an X egg (all eggs are X) meets a Y sperm, the baby is male.
God designed that the female of any mammalian species, whether humans or pigs or lions, will be the one to get pregnant, bring out the baby out from the womb into Mother Earth and continue to “mother” the baby until the baby can feed itself or can eat food apart from breastmilk. By the way, pregnancy and motherhood ensure survival and propagation of the mammalian species. In this article, the term “motherhood” refers to the period of pregnancy to childbirth and postpartum (usually 2 months after birth but may last till 6 months).
Pregnancy is a concrete manifestation of one of the laws of the universe – the law of gestation which states that everything has a gestation period during which it develops. Gestation period is also called incubation period. A human baby needs nine months to gestate in the mother’s womb and this period is called pregnancy. Once a woman is pregnant, she has already become a mother as the baby inside the womb is totally dependent on her for survival and development. Thus it is important for the pregnant woman to eat well and be happy. The mother’s food provide the building blocks for the baby so it is important to provide nature’s building blocks (these are natural, whole foods), not building blocks from the factory. What do you think will be created out of those meat and vegetables and fruits that are loaded with toxic chemicals? What about those highly-processed foods laden with artificial seasonings and colorings and flavorings? Surely, these were not created by God but by people. Only our Creator knows our best building blocks, trust him. It is not surprising, therefore, why there are more inborn abnormalities in children now compared to 50 or 100 years ago.
Dear mothers, eating well and taking care of yourself (in the holistic sense) during pregnancy is not only good for the baby but for yourself, too. The western diet which is excessive (meaning big portions) and rich in processed food, sugar, milk, meat and eggs is causing a lot of diseases all over the world, for all people, young and old. This diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is the recipe for disaster especially during pregnancy. Eating so much sweets causes overweight babies that they will not fit in the natural birth canal – the vaginal canal – and so they will be delivered by cesarian section (CS). I remember a cousin was named Cesaria because she was delivered by CS which was rare in my childhood days. Our modernized diet – western diet- also puts so much sugar, fat and animal proteins and hormones and artificial additives in our blood that will lead to high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and many other modern diseases. High blood pressure in pregnancy is doubly dangerous and will make the pregnancy not safe because the pregnant woman can go into convulsions- this can be fatal for both mother and baby. Hypertension can also cause small babies and even fetal death. It can lead to hemorrhage after a normal birth and this has caused a lot of maternal deaths. A woman, therefore, has to be healthy before she gets pregnant and make sure that she stays that way all throughout her life.
A stable emotional state is also desirable for pregnant and nursing mothers. In the indigenous Igorot culture, the pregnant or nursing woman should avoid crying and being emotionally upset, she should avoid going to wakes and other occasions with negative energy, because her emotions also impact on the baby in the womb and the baby she is breastfeeding. It is imperative, therefore, for the husband and family and community members to support the woman as she goes through her pregnancy and later, childbirth and child-rearing. Where the husband is not present, then the other members of the family and community will have to pitch in and support, not upset, the mother. This includes minding her diet and activities. Again, in our indigenous culture, pregnant women are physically active until they give birth as this will make labor easy. She is advised, however, not to carry heavy loads. More next issue.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9