I wasn’t scared going into parenthood. I had a couple younger siblings growing up, one of which I took care of much of the time when he was a baby. I guess you could say I felt fairly confident in my mothering abilities.
Was I ever in for a surprise.
That mothering instinct was thrown into high gear and I was DETERMINED to do it all the “right” way…to my own detriment. Not only was there all the questions of what how and why but on top of all that, there was a coded language that mothers “spoke” or rather wrote when discussing their baby frettings in the cyber world.
Here are some questions I can remember from my first couple hundred days or so of mommy hood.
1. How long do you burp them for if they haven’t burped yet?
2. Am I not doing something right if they aren’t sleeping through the night by 12 weeks? I can’t tell you how many books/articles I read that suggested that my baby should/might start sleeping through the night around this time
3. What do, DD, DS, DH, FTM and all these other Baby Center generated acronyms stand for? And why does it feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know and doesn’t bother to use them?
4. Why is it not good to feed your baby rice cereal mixed in with milk through a bottle? A mom I knew thought it was and suggested I do it – to the disapproving clucking of other moms.
5. Would my baby be forever dependent on me to nurse him to sleep if I used that “crutch?”
6. Why didn’t the no-cry pick-up and put down sleep method work for me? Was there something wrong with my baby or ME???
7. Would my baby get nipple confusion if I gave him a soother?
8. Why did it feel so natural to sleep with my baby despite mass disapproval from baby sleep books and people alike?
9. Would my baby be at a disadvantage if I didn’t make sure he had daily tummy time?
10. How are you supposed to function if you are:
a) not getting enough sleep at night because your baby is waking every 20-35 minutes?
b) you’re not supposed to let him cry it out?
c) you’re not supposed to sleep with him?
d) you are supposed to spend every time he wakes putting him back down in his crib for a 134 times if necessary ’til he falls asleep only to do it all over again when he wakes up in half an hour???
And that last one is the question that burned my eyes during long nights as I would hold a tiny flashlight up to one of the many no-cry sleep books I had, committing to memory every step that promised a blissfully sleeping baby and mommy result. Had I given up too soon? Did I not have what it took to do this mommy thing right?
To my own detriment.
So focused was I on doing it “right” that I failed to really savor the moment. It didn’t help me feel confident in my mothering abilities. It made me constantly compare how I did things to how others did. I was restless, anxious, so anxious in fact that I developed insomnia (as if I wasn’t already suffering from sleep deprivation!). Sure there’s more that lent to that anxiety than just wanting to do things right. I had just had two babies in the span of 10 months and lost the first. But really, I could have spared myself the needless worry.
Easier said than done right?
But that’s one human condition I supposed. Or maybe it’s something to do with how moms are conditioned in our western society. We haven’t reached some sort of pinnacle of baby rearing knowledge here as much all the literature out there would make it seem to be.
Sometimes I wish we were more tribal and followed ancient customs…
Any questions you remember as a
FTM first time mom that plagued you day and night?