Posted 20 hours ago

Matrescence: On the Metamorphosis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood

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She raises very valid questions on how our society, the corporate world, our 'social media' - makes motherhood a harder task than it already is. However, even if you've had a straightforward birth and received support for childcare, every woman (not just mothers) can relate to the stories in this book. I’m not sure whether I would have wanted to read this before I had my daughter but I’m glad to have read this now. We pay respect by giving voice to social justice, acknowledging our shared history and valuing the cultures of First Nations.

It is] wide-ranging in its scope, packed with statistics about mental health, new studies on the rewiring of women's brains after childbirth and the presence of foetal cells in our bodies . I’m so glad that it exists during a time when I’m in my own early matrescence, because so much of what’s in it has been a comfort and reassurance to me. Yet there are glorious, moving glimpses of maternal solidarity here too: the woman who picks a book off the floor of a train and reads it to Jones’s screaming daughter, the older woman at the garden centre who kneels down to tie Jones’s shoes because her hands are full with babies.And not just because I am in matrescence but because I have a mother, I know many mothers, and I could have been a much better friend and supporter if I would have been taught this stuff 10 years ago. The pioneer of attachment theory, John Bowlby, did indeed underline the importance of the proximity of a child to a caregiver in terms of their emotional development, but he also said that parents are equally “dependent on a greater society for economic provision”, and that society should “cherish” its parents. Full of the wonders of sharing the natural world with young minds, it's a manual for finding awe in the cracks of the pavement and magic on a stroll around the block. The fox has for centuries been held as the incarnation of such unlovely traits as deviousness, cunning and cruelty.

Here is an urgent examination of the modern institution of motherhood, which seeks to unshackle all parents from oppressive social norms. Jones never becomes bogged down in the material, which is quite an achievement considering its scope. Jones is great on the impossible rules, and the lack of correct information meted out to pregnant women. Matrescence holds the power to carry us back to ourselves, to the rituals and community from which we came; the caregivers we all hold the seed within us to become- and Lucy Jones is the person who should have written it.

Describing how it has enabled her to re-experience the past, she conjures “the scrape of armbands removed from an arm, the lemon-pine smell of hedgerow leaves and shrubs at adult-knee height, the dried-out film of a dead snail … the warm smell of swimming pools, the scent of my mother’s navy mohair cardigan”. This is a particularly valuable read if you've had a traumatic birth experience, if you're feeling alone, or if you believe you're failing yourself and/or your child. By the time I'd read the sixth, I was wanting to break prisoners out of cells and onto the mossy moors. Beautifully written book that truly feels like it was written as a response to every single question, emotion and thought I've had since becoming a mother.

It goes to the very foundational values of our society and how we perceive and value the vital work of raising the next generation. It's about the relationship between the natural world and the human psyche; a wide-ranging inquiry into the mechanism by which contact with 'nature' is therapeutic.Like many women, Jones describes feeling “hoodwinked” by norms of motherhood, how amid the pain, trauma and guilt of being unable to breastfeed she began to detect a coercive force. Her first book, Foxes Unearthed, was celebrated for its 'brave, bold and honest' (Chris Packham) account of our relationship with the fox, winning the Society of Authors' Roger Deakin Award 2015.

There’s the medical side, but also the equally important social implications: new mothers need so much more practical and mental health support, and their unpaid care work must be properly valued by society. Jones hints at her “conservative (childhood) home”, and I found myself wondering how our own mothers shape our experience of matrescence. Jones sheds light on the trauma faced by new mothers, whilst describing the failings of Western Society when it comes to supporting mothers throughout their journey. And those who fall in love with the world might protect it, a virtuous cycle that would make a real difference in the fight for a workable planet - Bill McKibben, author of Falter; Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?My ideologies were challenged, and I came to realise the important role I also play in our community, especially in communicating about motherhood with compassion, understanding, vulnerability, empathy and without judgement. You may well find yourself raging at the various health professionals depicted: the midwife who cries at one woman’s bedside because she so wanted her to breastfeed, the health visitor who tells Jones “baby needs mummy” when she has the temerity to ask if she can let the baby cry for 30 seconds before picking her up, to see if she self-settles. It’s a transition period, like adolescence, that involves radical physical and mental changes and has lasting effects.

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