As a new mama, I dedicate this to all of the new mama’s, soon-to-be mama’s, women who want to be mama’s, partner’s of mama’s, friends of mama’s, relatives of mama’s and for anyone else who knows a mama.
Not until I became a mother did I realize to what extent I would quite literally make myself crazy in wondering if I was doing it all ‘right’. My hope is to find another mama out there who is just as ‘normal’ as I am—I know you exist and that I am not the only one with these thoughts…right?! Please say yes…Please say yes…Please say yes…
So I was at my therapist’s office today and we started discussing my life as a mama and all of the stresses, both from society and myself, that I have been feeling since my first baby was born seven months ago, and for many months before that if I’m being honest.
I was telling her about how before having baby, I would read and talk to friends and family about the unrealistic expectations mothers put on themselves and how no possible person could ever live up to them. After the reading and discussing, I had said I was never going to be one of ‘those’ crazy mothers, who stressed about every little thing, “They’re insane”, I thought. “I’m down to earth. I meditate. I do yoga. I’m easy going”, I said to myself.
Well my, oh my how the tables have turned. I found myself, in my therapists office, telling her about how not only am I now one of these ‘crazy mothers’, but I have realized that I will likely have this bit of crazy for the rest of my life and how ‘crazy’ is actually ‘normal’.
I worry about breastfeeding and e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that goes along with it.
I worry about breastfeeding her long enough so that she will be smarter—as the books tell me is fact. About feeling guilty about how every little thing that I eat affects her and if I have a piece of chocolate I must eat a carrot immediately after so that it cancels it out. I worry about what people will say in public about bottle feeding my baby and to make sure that everyone sees that the brand of bottle I am using is actually the same one that makes my breast pump—thus realizing that it must be breast milk that’s in the bottle.
And when I do use formula, am I using the best one? I think so. It’s organic so it must be ok, right?
I worry about my dwindling milk production so am drinking the special tea three times a day, drinking at least two liters of water to keep things flowing, eat the herbal supplements like they’re candy and god forbid I miss my steel cut oatmeal for breakfast!
Confession: Sometimes I eat it for dinner too! I stress about my daughter weaning from breast to bottle but probably more for my own sake than hers but what if she wants to keep breast-feeding until she’s two?
What will people think?
Is she starting solids too early?
No, she can’t be because the books say to start at six months old but it doesn’t feel right in my gut.
She’s too tiny. She’s growing up too fast. She’s not my baby anymore.
She has two teeth so should I be brushing them three times a day? Will she need braces when he grows up? How much will they cost? Am I remembering to take my vitamins and fish oil every day? If I don’t, she won’t be smart. Remember to take the vitamins and fish oil, Megan!
Speaking of smart, am I stimulating her enough? I should have read her three books instead of only two. Wait, maybe I should have read her four books instead of two. Compromise; remember to read her three books tomorrow.
Wait, read her an extra book before bed tonight to make up for the one you missed earlier today. Remember the extra book…Remember the extra book… Speaking of sleeping, when is she too old to co-sleep? When should we stop?
Will it make our bond stronger?
Will it make her clingier?
No, I don’t think it will.
I read that in a book but what book was it…think…think…think… Must google ‘parents who co-slept with their child too long and now have a needy kid’, just in case. Does she sleep long enough? Does she sleep too much? Should I wake her from a nap?
Wait, I think that book said not to. What the heck was the name of that book? Do I wake her form a nap or don’t I? If she sleeps a little longer I get a few more minutes of ‘me’ time. Sleep baby sleep!
Do we listen to enough music? Do we listen to enough classical music?
I must stimulate her brain more.
Do we have enough mat time? She should be sitting sturdier on her own by now. Note to self, add an additional 10 minutes to mat time today after we read three books.
Am I creating a strong bond? Am I gazing into her eyes enough and am I studying her enough? Will we be best friends when she gets older or will she hate me? Oh god, what if she hates me? Must co-sleep longer so that we are creating a stronger bond and that we will be best friends.
Oh, and I should be carrying her more. I heard that if you carry your babe more then they will be happier, cry less and this too will create a stronger bond. But my back is killing me! Suck it up. Must carry baby more.
I think I am but how can I be if I’m not reading all the books, listening all the classical music, having endless hours of mat time and carrying her all the time?
I lie in bed and take a deep breath, wondering how I will ever get through the endless list of things to remember. The alarm goes off, 7am, time to get up. I roll over and next to me, a sleepy little babe rubs her eyes and locks my gaze.
The ends of her sweet, plump lips curl up, opening into a big, two tooth smile. In that moment there are no worries, no lists of things to remember, no stress. We hold one another’s gaze and I am overwhelmed by the love I feel emanating from her.
She loves me. I am a good mama—I can feel it.
I am enough.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives
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