I was told – read this book… have you heard of this technique…. you should try this… but no one told me about the parenting style called:
It’s not surprising that I was in a complete blur after giving birth and desperately seeking answers to combat the overwhelming feeling of change. I took every bit of advice I could get. As I was in hospital for 4 days, the shifts of the midwives meant that I met over 15 of them. Every single one had their own opinion or style which they’d pass on to me. However, the idea that I could actually trust my own instincts and follow my own style was never mentioned and the stress I was under meant it never crossed my mind! I found it particularly difficult to comprehend that professional medical staff were giving me their own thoughts and not necessarily facts.
No one mentioned that I could actually trust my own ideas. I could try things that I thought might work for my baby and me. Any issue or question I had on parenting would be quickly followed by an in-depth search of the internet, a parenting mag or book to find the answer. I never looked inside myself and thought… What would I do if I had no one to ask? What would my instincts tell me to try?
There is so much to be influenced by in this age of the internet. There’s also so much pressure from others to do it their way or their idea of what’s best. Be kind to yourself and remember most of the advice your see or hear is opinions…
You don’t have to feed your baby rice cereal as their first food. You don’t have to breastfeed if it’s not working for you or your baby. You don’t have to keep them in your bedroom for 6 months. You don’t have to swaddle them.
You can do what feels right for you.
Something that crossed my mind recently, with my son’s first birthday just a few weeks away, is the pressure to create something amazing for him. I see the internet flooded with elaborate cakes, incredible decorations, piles of presents. Then I remembered that is their way of celebrating and I’m probably not seeing the whole picture on social media. For all I know, the reality might be that other people’s culture celebrate birthdays with cakes rather than presents. I’m slowly realising I can do something that feels right for me and my family, if I try to compete with everyone I’ll exhaust myself and ultimately feel like a failure.
As a first time mum, I wish I was given the confidence to trust myself, it might have avoided a lot of unnecessary suffering. I’m slowly getting more confidence in my parenting ability and realising that I’m doing a good job and if I make mistakes I’ll learn from them.