Written by MissionCorps Member Emily Bruce. Thank you for sharing Emily.
When a baby is born, it is the maternal instinct (and growing increasingly more common in hospitals), to place the baby on the chest, skin-to-skin. This skin-to-skin contact, often called “the golden hour,” has incredible benefits for both mom and baby. Babies who are placed on their mother’s chests immediately after birth, transition from fetal to newborn life with significantly decreased stress. Mothers who hold their babies skin-to-skin after birth often have increased maternal confidence, as well a stronger attachment that is proven to be so important in life. The benefits of this initial contact can last for years, setting the tone for bonding, communication, and trust. It is one of the first beautiful, sacred moments of motherhood.
God came to the world through Jesus to experience what is was like to be in this human skin. In the womb, He was jostled up and down as Mary wobbled her way into Bethlehem, contracting and laboring as a vessel to bring forth the Divine. He was birthed in a small, smelly, noisy, barn and entered the world, His cries co-mingling with the sounds of different animals. There was no doctor, nurse, or heated monitoring table, and so Mary held Him on her chest. She was the closest to the Holy in that moment of uninterrupted touch, until she holds Him the same way again after He takes His last breath.
At Maggie’s Place, we meet each other skin-to-skin. There is nothing separating us from each other’s humanity in all its failures and glory. These moments of vulnerability build attachment and trust, and foster authentic love. Being alongside a mother as she births her baby, feeds him or her for the first time, and navigates the ever-changing journey of motherhood is a glimpse into the Holy. I watch as the moms in my home labor even after their babies are placed onto their chests and into their hands.
They labor to maintain their sobriety, heal emotionally, work to save money for their future, and care for their babies. They labor to ensure their children feel secure, loved, and provided for. Motherhood is a labor of love, and I am blessed to be a witness to it.