Ask The Labor Nurse: Three Gifts for Mothers Day

The gifts of history, knowledge and kindness


Happy Mothers Day! I believe with all my heart that every mother deserves to be spoiled rotten on this special day. Motherhood is a demanding job right from the start and it stays that way long after they graduate and move out. We need this holiday to make a bold statement that producing and raising the children of the world deserves to be honored, celebrated and made a great big fuss over.

Whether your child is still inside you or babbling in her crib, I want you to make it clear to your family that you want them to go all out this Sunday. You want them to make your breakfast, give you a present, take you on a picnic or to the movies, give you a massage, fix your favorite dinner and while they’re at it, put the nice tablecloth and napkins on the table. Telling your clan how you want your motherhood celebrated sets the precedent for the rest of your life. Believe me, if you don’t know what you’re in for as a mother yet, you’ll know soon. You’re going to want your own holiday. Just to get the ball rolling, I have a few gifts I want to give you:

1. The gift of history

Mothers day began as a political statement when Julia Ward Howe (author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) created a Mother’s Day proclamation demanding mothers of the world band together to put an end to the senseless violence of war. She’d had enough of women handing their well-raised, perfectly healthy sons over for the military who would send them out to kill or die or be returned to their mothers injured or ill. Later an unmarried, childless woman, Anna Reeves, lobbied Congress to declare a national holiday for Mothers that honors their contributions to society. Few of us today think of Mothers day as a political statement, but when you really think about it politics touches almost every part of motherhood.

2. The gift of knowledge

Knowing what you’re doing when attempting a really hard job (like birth and parenting), makes the difference between making a bumbling mess of the thing and doing the job right. Preparation, education and study are the only practical things to do if you don’t already have first hand expertise. For those of you pregnant for the first time (and those who want a better experience than you had with your first birth), knowing what to expect during labor and birth and how to prepare for the biggest physical challenge of your life is critical. That’s why I want you to read every darn article you can get your hands on about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood. That’s why I co-wrote the book, The Complete illustrated Birthing Companion – to give you the 100% straight scoop on what you need to know to have the birth you want. If you haven’t already purchased your copy, buy it now and start studying. Consider it a gift you give yourself in honor of your own motherhood.

3. The gift of kindness

You’re going to find yourself in a lot of quandaries and conundrums – times of confusion, discomfort, stress and friction. That’s the baseline state of affairs for many mothers every day all over the world. Here’s my advice: When deciding what to do in a troubling or irritating situation, whenever possible, choose the kindest solution to whatever problem lies at your feet.

Is it a bad mood brought on by unrelenting nausea? Choose self-kindness in the form of a nap.

Is it irritation brought on by your cranky husband?

Choose to say a kind word that tells him you understand.

Is it a backache, a bad day at work, a toddler throwing the mother-of-all tantrums?

Chant silently – kindness to self, kindness to others; kindness to self, kindness to others. Repeat as often as necessary until you can see very clearly what the kind solution would be.

Your kindness solution might be to ask for a massage or to do something fun that will turn your day around. It might be to scoop that toddler up in your arms and hug her with all your might while whispering in her ear, “We’ll get through this together, sweetheart. I know just how you feel.”

    Happy Mothers Day to all of you and thank you for celebrating this powerful journey with me. I’ve been a mother for a good long time now and as far as I can tell, there’s nothing finer in the world.

    Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and children. And co-author of, The Complete Illustrated Birthing Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Best Birthing Plan for a Safe, Less Painful, and Successful Delivery for You and Your Baby. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to and it may be answered in a future blog post.

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    This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.