Letter to all the new mothers out there
In an era where information surrounds you everywhere you look or go, the world´s toughest job- being a mother-can get rather confusing at one point or the other. Suffice to say you go online, either for Facebook, reading your favourite newspaper or bumping into …blogs, and you are immediately exposed: Advice, tips, do´s and dont’s… how and how long to breastfeed, how to give birth, what´s the ideal age for giving birth, how and why staying at home with your infant is important, or not (yes, new studies are developing the idea that children with working moms will have a more successful and fulfilled life at maturity).
And the list goes on…infinitely: Whether to vaccinate your child or not, provide the healthiest baby foods out there, the appropriate age for enlisting your child into kindergarten, `parenting´ blogs and meetings, books… And then we go a little deeper: Why providing breast milk for your newborn and for the longest time benefits your child, the potential dangers of powder milk, photos of famous women breastfeeding whilst at work, pros and cons for national vaccination scheme, pros (usually) for organic fruits and vegetables, whether you should or should not introduce meat to your child’s menu… And we go a little bit …deeper: Your Facebook friends; dads sharing or giving tips why your child should be breastfed until…school age?
Of course, being exposed to information and doing your homework well (as in documenting) cannot be a bad thing. And it isn´t! As a doctor should stay alert to the latest medical discoveries or a lawyer has to keep reading law newsletters, a parent should not be ignorant. Except, it is not for nothing it is called the hardest job in the world. Because the fear of failure, the fear that ´maybe´you are not doing everything’ by the book’ intervenes. Because, what if, someday, the most important person in your life, your child, will wonder – why did my mom work so much when she should have been home raising me and giving me all her love and attention, or why did my mom quit her job and decide to stay at home, or why did my parents decide that i shouldn´t get vaccinated, or that I am not supposed to eat meat, or, on the contrary, why I should be familiar with fast food from an early age, why and what if…
So – and this is especially for first time moms – you ask friends, go online, receive booklets and advice, you start comparing your child with others. And… you get confused …and then you panic.
And IF or when that starts to happen, stop and… feel. As for everything else in life, you and only you are the best adviser for you. You are the best (parent) for your kid. Patience and love cannot be replaced! While the love part really does come unconditionally, patience may require some work, starting with the long hours of the night when your baby is still crying after you’ve tried all the tricks, to teething and starting food diversification, to the early fears of abandonment. Well, what’s the saying…keep calm and carry on! Because the first time your baby will smile back at you, you will know you really did something right!
Read, always read, as much as you are willing to, but don´t forget to pass all the information through your personal filter. Take whatever information you have and sprinkle it with a little bit of your own intuitive intelligence (it is my personal belief that women tend to cultivate it much more than men do). And when your kid(s) will get to be grownups, I wish for you exactly what I wish for myself; that you will be able to say:
“I did the best that I could, considering…( what comes after considering is for you to decide) and everything turned out great!”
By Sorana Popescu, July 2015