Friday, December 20, 2013

Gifts of the Wise Men (and Women)

It is the Christmas season and a time of gift giving.  We exchange gifts with family and friends in the same way that the three wise men or Magi did on the night so very long ago.

It was the custom for ambassadors to bring gifts to royalty.  The Wise Men came to Jerusalem seeking the newborn king of Israel and did not find Jesus there. The Magi were directed by an angel to Bethlehem to search for Jesus there. They gave Jesus three gifts. The importance of the gifts was the message that each one conveyed about Jesus. The gold represented the fact that Jesus was royal. The frankincense supports the claim that Jesus is divine and the myrrh was for the importance of the mortality of Jesus.
What can expectant mothers give our newborns today that are as valuable? 
First, expectant mothers can give them the gift of health.  By nurturing our own bodies during
pregnancy with healthy foods, plenty of fluids, exercise and quality prenatal care, expectant mothers lay a foundation of health babies can grow on for decades.  Learning about the healthy foods, from resources such as and the March of Dimes,  expectant mothers can add to or even change their diet to promote healthy newborns.
Second, expectant mothers can give their babies the gift of a healthy birth.  Today, there is a lot of controversy over what the best practices are for labor and birth...what is evidence-based care...and what is traditional care.  Expectant mothers should be encouraged to seek out quality education, either in childbirth education classes that meet in person, online classes or through information on evidence-based websites. Sometimes, the information that is evidence-based is different from what their physician tells them.  To help bridge that gap, childbirth educators, doulas and midwives can use social media.  Handouts and free video clips, like those at, give further credibility to what we teach our clients or share on social media.
Last but not least, expectant mothers can experience the power of their own self...not just during the birthing process but afterwards with skin-to-skin contact and the mother-baby bond.
If we ignore what humans have known for centuries, that health begets health, birth is not an illness and mothers are a powerful resource for their newborns, then we may very well do harm in ways that we have not even begun to comprehend

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