Thursday, August 28, 2014

New moms

My midwives at In Tandem Midwifery asked these questions recently:

Did you feel like a good mom from the get go, or was there a learning curve?
Did you feel like there was a baby whispering secret that nobody told you about?
What kindness can you instill on some of our newest mamas who are struggling with their first few days?

I had a lot to say, but I thought maybe I would go into more detail here:

 "Good mom" is so loaded! I didn't know what a "good wife" was the day after I got married, so I tended to treat myself a bit more flexibly when judging myself as a parent. Did I make mistakes that annoyed me? Hell yes. Did I not know answers i thought I should know? Sure thing. 

But with a two year old now, I realize that being a good person means I'm a good mom, regardless of milestones, breastfeeding, diapers, etc. Intention is key. Just like with everything else, there's a learning curve and I definitely have figured out how I learn (trial and error, still!) and I realize, too, my kid is WAY more forgiving than I am! 

My "baby whispering secret" is to listen to my kid, both literally and figuratively. Many books can't simply cover all humans, so it was key to read less and listen more, specifically to MY kid. My intuition was KEY to my success, my feeling happy and rested, and my bonding with my son. 

Also, treating my child like a new little (already formed) human, rather than a blob baby with no skills, allowed him to share wisdom with me...he's been guiding me the entire time! And treating him with respect has been good for me to get in the habit of. 

Observing him (rather than checking charts, talking to doctors, comparing with friends) has resulted in really weird but SUCCESSFUL parenting moments (like I started talking to my kid in the womb and we have had a lot of success with telepathic communication). 

As for the first days, I had to let myself off the hook from my insane (and unrealistic) expectations. I drank coffee, didn't bathe myself or my kid, watched TV during 3am breastfeeding sessions, asked for a LOT of help from ANYONE and EVERYONE who offered, cried, and tried to be as gentle as possible. As someone who wants to look strong, it started to feel unsustainable to "act" strong, when I just needed to feel okay being "weak" or taken care of (now I see that it wasn't weak at all...just different from my normal methods). 

Parenting is unique in that one day you are pregnant and the NEXT day you are in charge of an entire person! I also didn't use language that discounted my parenting (Parenting of the Year Award--said sarcastically--, lazy, bad mom, etc). I don't like knocking myself in front of my kid. I'm a "great" mom because i said so. My kid said so, too.  

One other thing is that sharing the struggle really helps. When we share, we release and someone else can hold us for a bit. We can see it better when we share it. We can help others when we share. That's been powerful.

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