The baby is here! In your ams! Mewing, and pooing, and screeching, and sleeping!
You can’t stop staring at the little mite in disbelief. YOU MADE THIS! You MADE this.
You want to cry at the mystery of it all… and also the sense of doom that seems to creep in at the corners, just a little, every so often… you shed a few tears at that. You want to laugh in elation… but not too much, until you really get cracking with those pelvic floor excercises. Your heart bursts with wonder… and your mind creaks a little with fear – how can I do this? You love this baby more than anyone ever in the whole world has loved a single soul… and also not quite enough.
It is, er, an emotional business, this parenthood malarkey.
I want to tell you one thing. This one thing I’m going to tell you… it is to forget everything anyone’s ever told you. And then replace it with this:
Trust yourself and your baby.
Just have this one mantra, and repeat it to yourself everyday.
I trust myself and I trust my baby.
Carry it with you and wield it like a silent shield, if need be, in front of disapproving glances, or undermining words. When you read parenting articles announcing new research that simply doesn’t fit with the rhythm the two of you have found. When experts suggest they know the pair of you better than you know yourselves. They don’t. You are the expert, the absolute expert, when it comes to the paths you are carving out together.
Settle into these instincts, be guided by your intuition, listen to your baby.
Soon enough you will gather confidence like a warm coat around you, you will delight in the trust you have developed. You will see your baby as wise, you will let them be your teacher, your lives together will be rich and deep and joyful. They’ll be angst and emotion and teething and hormones but this trust will be the surest foundation for your every parenting action and decision.
It starts now, with breastfeeding. It takes too much teethgritting, too much patience, it is not how you imagined it to be at all! You were excited about nursing your little one, but this actually just hurts.
Another day, maybe one more day after that, and you will feel like all the secrets of the universe have been bestowed upon the two of you.For real. It will go from feeling as if your toe blisters are being burst with pliers to feeling like sitting on a whimsical cloud being sprinkled with magical love glitter. You’ll soon cherish these milky moments, you’ll rest in the easy, blissful breastfeeding relationship you have woven together. It is JUST around the corner.
Believe in the concrete power of your intuition and the unfathomable innate ability of children, even the very youngest ones.
Your mother instincts and your baby’s voice is the most harmonious duet. Let this song guide you.
Trust yourself and trust your baby.
PS- You may know… this is a letter to my new mamma self, that one that emerged late in the evening in November 2010. It is also a reminder as I contemplate another wee one arriving in the Spring…
PPS- I am actually all for reading and talking and exploring new ideas for parenting Books like How to Talk so Kids Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk inspire me no end. I just think it is vital first to have firm belief in your instincts and heart and what your child has to say!
If you were to write a letter to a new mum, or to your own fresh mother self, what would you say?