My youngest daughter just had her first baby. I would like all babies to begin their lives in the way he did. His labor was undrugged and as soon as the baby was born, he was given to her to nurse. The midwife waited an hour or so before cleaning, weighing and measuring him. The baby’s been with mom ever since with as much support as she can muster–her husband and me. And, I must kvell, he’s gained 8oz in 11 days! He’s alert and already gazing at our faces with deep interest.
I’m very grateful to be here but can’t help comparing this situation to the hunter-gatherer or even early agricultural societies we evolved in for at least 90,000 years [not counting pre-homo sapien millenia]. In those societies, a new mother is surrounded by many other women of all ages to support her early mothering. Mothers in this country are lucky to have one person to give a hand.
I am not wishing to be back to a hunter-gatherer society; I do want a re-organized society that gives highest priority to supporting families. Do we really need so many people working 40+ hours/week? [If we worked any other primate like this, it would be considered abuse.] Do we really need to produce the current level of goods? Do we need the production of armaments, guns, and shlock? It’s my belief, that once greed is removed from the equation, we’ll be able to think of many ways of creating a society that actually, as opposed to hypocritically, supports families.