Posts Tagged‘parenting’

And God Created A Mom

And God Created a Mom

By Jenny Rapson for The Mustard Seed Foundation

The Bible says that on the sixth day of creation, God made man and woman. And He also saw that it was good. If you know what happens next, you know that it went from good to not good when Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. God’s original plans were foiled by free will, and He had to set about redeeming it.

When I look back at the early days of man, I can’t help but think that one way God brought redemption was by creating a mother. Yes, the pain of childbirth was one of Eve’s punishments, one that all women have inherited. But, oh! The reward at the end of that punishment! The feel of a newborn baby in your arms. The knowing that you’ve been part of creating something so beautiful, so precious as a new life. And looking back, even carrying that life within you for nine months is a priceless gift as well.

My friends, out of darkness, when things were bad…God created a Mom.

working-momWhen He created a mom, He duplicated His own unconditional love. When He created a mom, He created selflessness and sacrifice. When He created a mom, He created a calling.

Moms are inspiration. They are empowerment. They are strength, motivation, and unwavering belief. They are devotion, they are sass, and they are fierce to their cores.

When God created motherhood, He gave women a priceless gift. Not just a child, but a child who was made for that mom, and a mom that was made for that child. He instantly equipped each mom with every individual superpower that she would need to provide for her specific child.

My heart swells when I think of it, my friends.

Moms have been called to an often thankless task. Motherhood is a blessing, a gift, but also an indescribable challenge. Moms need not just the strength that God has endowed them with, but the unwavering support of a community, of friends and loved ones, to help them stay the course in a world that will throw obstacles in a determined mom’s path again and again.

In a time of unthinkable grief, of wrecked plans, of uncertain futures…God created a Mom. A baby cried, a woman’s heart beat anew, and a sliver of light broke through the darkness.

Support the moms in your life, and keep the light shining bright.

To the Young Single Mom During the Holidays

To the Young Single Mom During the Holidays

 treeBy Jenny Rapson for the Mustard Seed Foundation

 

Dear Strong Mama,

It’s the “most wonderful time of the year,” or so the song says. And I truly believe it is. But, I realize that for a young mom like you taking care of her children on her own, it can also be a thousand kinds of hard. Maybe you feel pressure to make everything “Merry and Bright” for your child when you are worn out at the end of a long day. Perhaps you feel like “How in the world am I supposed to make things magical when I am just trying to get by?” Or perhaps you feel like you wish you could give your child a “picture perfect” family for Christmas, and worry that you are not enough.

Well.

Beautiful Young Mom, this is what I want you to know this holiday season.

You are not incomplete, and your family is perfect.

One of the natural joys of being a mother is that you were made for your baby and your baby was made for you. The two of you are a perfectly formed family and have been since the beginning. As time goes on, your family may grow, but even if it doesn’t, the two of you are enough for each other. Truly, surely, meant to be.

Comparison will steal your joy.

You are uniquely you, and your story is 100% yours. Do and be the best that you can be, and don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Comparing your journey to others is simply a waste of time. Keep your gaze on your little family and strive to give them your best. Don’t worry about the opinions and actions of others, and don’t let someone else’s achievements take away from your victories, big and small.

More stuff doesn’t equal a happy child.

Moms always want to give their kids the world. You are not alone in this. Every mother feels this way when it comes the holidays. But the truth is, more doesn’t equal better. Don’t worry or beat yourself up if you can’t give your kids all the material things you would like to this holiday season. Focus every day on giving them a mother that will love and support them through anything. That is truly the very best gift you can give your children…and one they will never outgrow.

Single doesn’t have to mean lonely.

You don’t have to be alone and lonely just because you are parenting without a partner. You do have people in your life who love you and who are cheering you on. Reach out to your community of family and friends and embrace your community this holiday season. Open your heart and share your little family with another young mom looking for someone who gets what she is going through. The holidays are about giving, and when you spend time with your community you are giving and receiving in the best way. Loving others costs nothing, and adds everything.

Mama, more than anything this holiday season, I want you to know you are loved, and so is your child. You are seen, you are admired, and you are valued. Rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed this holiday season, I pray you feel treasured. You are your child’s whole world, and you were made for this. You are enough…at this and at any time of year.

Much Love,

Your Admirer

Science Says: Mother-Baby Bonding Is the Best Medicine

Science Says:  Mother-Baby Bonding Is the Best Medicine

By Jenny Rapson for The Mustard Seed Foundation of Dayton

All new moms want to do everything they can to keep their babies healthy, but often we don’t know what to do, so we follow our maternal instincts and baby care books and do, well, everything. We watch them like a hawk for signs of illness, make sure they’re always warm but not hot, and start reading to them before they can even smile. But according to a prominent endocrinologist and mind-body-wellness advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra, the strength of the emotional bond between a mother and a baby is more powerful than any other medical or physical precautions we can take for a baby’s health.

So what moms really need to do to keep babies healthy? Is CUDDLE them!

Mother-baby bonding is best.

Mother-baby bonding is best.

That’s right: when moms and babies bond, the physical health of the baby is impacted just as much as the emotional health. That’s just one reason why our goal here at the Mustard Seed Foundation is to keep moms and babies together, not only giving babies a great start in life, but also ensuring their life-long health.

An article at Parenting.com adds plentiful scientific evidence to back up Dr. Chopra’s claims.  “In one study from Ohio State University, “ says the article, “rabbits that were cuddled by researchers were protected against the artery-clogging effects of a high-cholesterol diet. The love and attention affected the rabbits’ hormone levels, the study authors concluded, helping them withstand heart disease.”

If a stranger cuddling a rabbit can have such a positive health impact, how much more can a mother cuddling her own infant add to her baby’s health? The implications are astounding.

The truth is, the evidence that keeping moms and babies together is best for both of them has been on the books for years. For instance, it’s long been known that when a newborn baby nurses, the “love hormone” oxytocin is released. It hits the ”reward center” of our mama brains and makes us feel good, while also making us crave more of that feeling that bonding brings. And you don’t have to breastfeed to get that “love hormone” goodness. Parenting says, “Simply gazing into your baby’s eyes while bottle-feeding or just snuggling or massaging also unleashes the feel-good hormones in both of you.”

Touch isn’t the only bonding sense our biology uses to cement the bond between mother and baby. Our sense of smell gets involved, too. Pheromones, the chemicals we excrete to attract a partner, are excreted by our babies, too, making moms likely to be enamored of their little ones and encouraging physical bonding via touch. And even though newborns can’t even see clearly when they’re born, they can almost instantly identify their mamas by scent, proving once again that moms and babies are simply meant for one another.

When it comes down to it, Francesca D’Amato, M.D., a behavioral neuroscientist in Rome and a prominent bonding researcher told Parenting, “The mother-child bond assures infant survival in terms of protection, nutrition, and care.”

Did you hear that? “The mother-child bond assures infant survival.”

That’s a pretty important reason to keep moms and babies together and bonding during those first few crucial months of life and beyond.  But here’s another: Dr. Chopra says positive bonding experiences with a mother and baby can actually alter a child’s DNA to be more resistant to illness. “Immune cells have memory of experiences,” he says.

According to Parenting, what Dr. Chopra means is, that when a baby is born, he or she is a “disorganized bundle of nerves.” They’ve just been thrust out of the warm womb and don’t know what to do with themselves.  Bright lights, hunger, having their diaper changed—everything freaks them out! Newborns are under stress and they need to be cuddled and soothed to alleviate this stress.  Science tells us that when we’re stressed, our immunity goes down, and we’re more susceptible to sickness. Babies who are not snuggled, hugged and bonded with physically are constantly stressed. Their immune cells remember this stress and their immunity can be permanently affected, even into adulthood.  People who have experienced childhood trauma have a 70 to 100 percent increased risk of developing certain autoimmune maladies like Graves’ disease, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bottom line? Mother-baby bonding contributes more than any other factor the emotional and physical well-being of children throughout childhood and into adulthood.  Let’s do our part to keep young moms and their sweet babies together—and therefore healthy in body and mind.