Ten Things I Learned About Motherhood from Mamas Around the World
Recently I was looking at photos of beautiful mamas and their babies from all around the world.
I’ve started collecting them here, but I’ll include a few of my favourites below.
Here are a few things I learned from these beautiful mamas and their babies.
1. There is no one right way to raise a baby.
We all do things differently. It seems crazy to think there is a ‘best’ way to do things, when everyone lives in such different conditions and circumstances. Whether it’s ‘rules’ about climate, clothes, sleeping, settling, health, feeding, development or whatever else you feel pressure about, know that mamas and babies all over the world are doing what works for them. It would be crazy to tell an Inuit mama it’s bad for her to carry her baby on her back, because the baby needs to learn to go to sleep on its own. It would be crazy to tell a tribal mama who lives in a one-room hut that her baby shouldn’t sleep in the same room as her. It would be crazy to tell an Indian mama she shouldn’t eat spicy food because it affects her breast milk.
2. We don’t need much.
We do need some things, but we don’t need much. We are constantly bombarded with these messages that we need certain products, and we need lots of stuff, and it just isn’t true.
3. We all love our babies.
No matter where they are in the world, no matter what they look like or sound like, no matter how they do things differently, other mamas love their babies just as much as we love ours. That goes for the mama across the world, and for the mama who lives down the street.
4. It’s ok if your baby is attached to you.
Our culture is all about independence. Mamas in other parts of the world accept their babies will be attached to them like koalas, and just let that become part of their lives for that little time period. They embrace it. We don’t have to feel guilty or embarrassed if we like having our babies close, if we wear our babies in wraps, slings or carriers, or if we like having the baby sleep in the same room as us. Equally, we don’t have to feel frustrated if our baby isn’t taking to ‘independence’ as much as we’d like - it’s normal for babies to be attached to their mamas.
5. Life doesn’t revolve around the baby.
Babies are part of life, not the centre of life. They go along for the ride with the family, and they grow up fine. They go on the backs of mamas because mama has things to do.
6. Babies are adaptable.
They really do adapt to whatever life looks like for them.
7. Mamas are resilient.
There is no doubt life is challenging with a baby. Somehow, we show up each day, we take care of our little ones, and we get through. Whatever life throws at us, we do what we can to take care of our babies. We are incredible. We should be proud of our role as mothers, and of what we are achieving, and of what we are able to do.
8. Babies don’t need us to spend all day entertaining them.
The outside world is entertainment enough for a baby. They love being with us and seeing what we do.
9. Mamas work.
All over the world, mamas are working hard - doing what they can to provide for their families. Work looks different for all of us, but we all do what we have to.
10. Babies are natural.
This sounds a little weird, but something about these pics really made me realise how natural it is in life to have a baby. These days, it can feel like having a baby is like an accessory or an upgrade - something additional to our everyday lives. We’re supposed to be in control, independent, and keep on having this pre-baby life, even with a baby. Yet we’re also supposed to do all these extra things to raise the perfect child. There are rules and expectations and things we have to do. It can feel complicated, complex and challenging. These pics were a nice reminder that babies are natural, and being a mama is a natural part of life too. It doesn’t have to be so hard.
I guess the biggest thing of all to learn, is that we can learn from one another. We can be inspired and encouraged by one another. We mamas are in this together, no matter where we are in the world, and no matter what motherhood looks like for us.
If you'd like to see more, you can View the full photo collection here.
(Please note, I don’t own copyright for these images, you can click through to find the original photographer’s details on individual images.)
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please let me know what you think in the comments below.