I watched an amazing TV program a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to post about it for ages. It was all about black bears in America, so it had big time cute factor. But then it had the most incredible story about a Mummy bear.
I’m particularly fond of black bears having accidentally ended up on one of those ‘working’ holidays, counting acorns in Shenandoah Virginia for Earth watch (it’s a long story, we were meant to be picking up orangutan poo in Indonesia, but someone got kidnapped and their head chopped off the week before, so they sensibly moved our trip!) . We saw lots of very unattractive deer (they aren’t like our cute english Bambie look a likes and they smell when you weight them), but hubby got a video of the cutest baby black bears climbing/falling down a tree).
Anyway, back to the TV program; A black bear called Lilly abandoned her cub, the kind of sad animal watching event which we often see, which ends up in sentimental music and them cutting to a sad picture without showing us the poor dead cub. But this time the people involved couldn’t bear to see the little cub die, <big cheers> so they helped it along a little, so that it tried to survive on it’s own and then held their breaths with little hope of a happy ending. Suddenly something AMAZING happened. A couple of months later they found the cub back with it’s Mummy; They were together, playing, hugging and loving each other. big tear shedding time!
Even more amazingly, the mummy bear had managed to re-lactate. Now I’ve read about this care of the Breast Mates posts from the lovely Aly at Plus 2.4. But I’d never heard of an animal doing it. But there it was, clear as day, feeding the baby bear. So it shows how even in the animal kingdom a Mum can change it’s mind and go back to breast feeding.
So if you are a Mum with Post Natal Depression, or even just feeling a bit knackered and wanting some time to yourself for a bit, I’m hoping that this little story might give you some relief. It is possible to get over it and come out the other side, and your child doesn’t have to be damaged by the process. It’s a ‘normal’ condition that even animals suffer from (i.e. feeling separate from our babies is something that many experience). And when you overcome it, you can have a great relationship with your baby. It’s only guilt (which the bears don’t feel like we do), which will get in the way. Try to enjoy being back, and keep the image of a big black mummy bear rolling in the leaves with it’s baby.
If you are a Mum who has given up breast feeding and is now feeling that it is premature; for a start I don’t believe in mistakes, do don’t beat yourself up, but if you want to learn more, check out the breast mates posts for information on relactating.
The program was called ‘The Bear Family and Me’ on BBC2 with Gordon Buchanan a wildlife cameraman. It all ended up happily, with the baby bear eventually building up enough fat to be able to go into hibernation just after all the others (it was a little underweight for a while), and with them surviving the hunters; phew!