There are no easy choices

Being a mother is like navigating an army assault course every day, for the rest of your life.  Except the obstacles aren’t the baby (okay, the obstacles are sometimes the baby).  The obstacles are other people, expectations, and self-inflicted guilt and punishment.  Linsey articulates perfectly how that feels.  How everyone’s assault course is different.  How no obstacles are the same.  How you just can’t win, over and over, until you do:    

 

Trust your instincts, ‘mama knows best’ – except when you just don’t know. So then you feel like you’re failing all over again – failing at knowing best, failing at knowing what you are doing, failing because your baby is crying and you don’t know why.

Don’t feed/rock/cuddle your baby to sleep. Leave them to cry, they just want attention. Imagine in the middle of the night, when you have tears running down your face from sheer tiredness and overwhelm and panic and stress and lack of control, imagine being ignored because you just want attention. Of course you do. Everyone does.

Breastfeed but make sure you feel appropriately self-conscious about doing it in public and don’t flaunt it in peoples’ faces. Don’t feel proud of persevering, don’t mention all the many, many obstacles that there can be on a breastfeeding ‘journey’. Keep the conspiracy going that ‘it’s easy’, ‘it’s natural’. Don’t do it for too long though, don’t feed them when they’re too old. Stop at a pre-determined perfect time that no one has informed you or your baby of.  Bottle feed but feel guilty about it, feel self-conscious about doing it in public too and arm yourself with 100 reasons why you aren’t breastfeeding if you are questioned. There’s no guilt- free choice. Guilt driven by society, from other people having opinions on what you should do. You should feed your baby some baby milk. That’s all.

Listen to the experts. Listen to the midwives. Listen to your parents and grandparents. Except they all say something different. Listen to yourself. But you don’t have a clue. Best bit of advice. Don’t listen to Google.

One day it feels easier. You come to terms with it all, get some perspective. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. One day you will feel like you know your baby best. It might be when they can talk, when they shout ‘Mummy, big cuddle’ from their bedroom in the morning, it might be as soon as they are born. One day you will feel it, you will realise that your arms are their home, the thing they look for first and the thing that heals all (or most). But it’s not the same for everyone. Nothing is the same for everyone. Babies are not the same.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Life Experience
4 interesting thoughts on this

4 Comments

  1. Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you! How perfectly timed for this all over the place mummy to a 12 day new baby who is struggling with things I had never thought about!

  2. Fee
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The most important lesson I learnt about babies helpfully came when I had my second so a touch late – and it’s exactly that, that babies are different.

    Totally different things soothed my eldest and youngest, they reacted differently to everything. It made me much more confident as I realized there was no secret to parenting, it depends on the baby, it depends on you.

    Great piece L xxx

  3. Rach B
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The ‘mama knows best’ killed me. I didn’t have a clue, I didn’t have the instincts I was “supposed” to have.

  4. Alex
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Hell yes! And also, sometimes you think you’re at the place where you know your baby and you start to feel comfortable with what you’re doing and then bam, it all goes off balance again!! Xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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