This month you’ll notice a new badge on the upper left corner of our website, promoting Pregnancy Awareness Month.
I have to admit, the first time I heard about Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) two years ago, my reaction was “Huh”? After all, thanks to the Annie Leibovitz photo of a nude Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, and a booming maternity industry launched by Liz Lange, A Pea in the Pod and other fashionistas determined to ban the mu-mu and demand equal rights for bellies everywhere, it seemed to me there was certainly no lack of pregnancy awareness; in fact, pregnancy, once hidden shamefully, has now been embraced, celebrated and even flaunted (I still can’t get that picture of Kate Hudson baring her belly at the Oscars out of my mind).
But then it dawned on me, that Pregnancy Awareness Month should REALLY mean Healthy Pregnancy Awareness Month, and that is something our culture definitely needs. There’s a lot of focus on dressing snazzy for pregnancy, looking hot, decorating the nursery, taking folic acid and watching out for unpasteurized cheeses, but we still have a long way to go before our culture takes an holistic approach to pregnancy. This is exactly what co-founders Anna Getty and Alisa Donner have done with Pregnancy Awareness Month; they “aim to empower pregnant women and new parents with information, “how to” ideas and inspiration to incorporate PAM’s four key initiatives – education, exercise, nutrition & wellness and nurture – into their life routines and to show how easy it can be to make healthy changes in their lives, for themselves, and their children.” We are very grateful that PAM included an article from us in last year’s newsletter, and we’re contributing an article to this year’s Nutrition Newsletter on a VERY hot topic . . . please sign up (and be entered for great giveaways) and stay tuned!
Making healthy changes is not easy when there is an onslaught of marketing for fast food and food substitutes at every stage of life that pale in comparison to the fresh, organic produce and the fabulous “mom-made wonderfood” (one’s own, or donated breastmilk!) that is available locally–pun intended. Nurturing ourselves, getting exercise and take care of ourselves and our families is a challenge in a world that demands that we do more, all the time, and that breeds a fragmented, distracted, anxious mentality. (And I get awfully anxious myself at just how distracted I can be with my own children).
And that’s where PAM comes in. What Getty & Donner have done especially well with Pregnancy Awareness Month is to take a mandate for a healthy start to life and packaged it into a mainstream platform that moms can relate to and embrace, and that is palatable to the media. They’ve brought on terrific eco- and mom-friendly sponsors, including Best for Babes sponsors MobyWrap and Earth Mama Angel Baby, and put together events that are as fun, hip and stylish as they are educational. They’ve lined up great celebrities and experts like Ricki Lake, Josie Maran, Dr. Alan Greene to make their concept appealing to mainstream moms. Best for Babes’ friend Expecting Models put on a 7th-Avenue-worthy pregnancy fashion show. I love the idea of making healthy choices glamorous, motivating and appealing to the masses; as you’ve heard me say a thousand times, droning on about the benefits of breastfeeding in an overbearing, judgmental way is no more successful than throwing broccoli at the fast-food crowd. We have to win moms over by attracting them, and since breastfeeding attitudes begin long before birth, pregnancy is really the last chance to engage a captive audience. We know Getty & Donner’s Pregnancy Awareness Month will continue to grow and reach more moms! Our goal is to have a presence at their events next year, and to do for breastfeeding what they have done for pregnancy. Our motto of “inspire, prepare and empower” fits perfectly with their key initiatives!
Personally, as a mom who handed her power over to those who didn’t really have my best interests at heart when I was expecting, I fully support PAM’s compassionate, clear and simple messages that focus on progress, not perfection. We all have room for improvement, and whenever we fall off the beam a bit, it’s wonderful to remember that we can take a deep breath, and start over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started over in my own quest to take care of myself better, to eat healthier, and get a little exercise; if I succumbed to those judgmental voices I would never even try; just like with breastfeeding, a little is always better than none. And even when I can’t get a second chance myself (I can’t get a “do-over” on my horrible birth and breastfeeding experience with my first child), sometimes our second chance lies in the hope of lovingly coaching and cheering on another mother to navigate the “Booby Traps” and succeed where we did not.
And that, to me, is the true meaning of PAM’s slogan “Motherhood begins now”!