Due to my history of loss, I never really let myself accept that I might ACTUALLY have a baby during my pregnancy, so I did minimal research on infant care and parenting. This feeling even kept me from bonding with the pregnancy. I wouldn’t call the baby growing inside me by name, only referring to her as “the baby”. I took the traditional Birth Prep, Infant Prep, and Breastfeeding classes through the hospital, but that was the extent of it. I hadn’t spent much time around babies and really did not have the slightest idea of what was in store for me.
However, how strong my maternal instincts were shocked me. I remember a conversation I had with my mom while I was pregnant where I told her I was scared I was not going to know how to be a mother or that I was going to be too anxious to be a good one. She said to me “Tara… it is instinct, you will not think, you will just DO.” She couldn’t have been more right. When my daughter would cry, I wouldn’t think- I would just respond. It was ingrained in me to know what to do, like it is with all of us. We have thousands of years of evolution behind us to ensure our young survive. Does that mean I was confident 100% of the time? God, no. Do I still question my decisions at times? Yes. But, I continue to and always will follow my gut because Mother’s Intuition is real.
I discovered a scary trend very early on, though. All of the well-meaning advice I was being given went completely against what my instincts (as well as my knowledge of basic biology) were telling me to do. My aunt would say things like, “She just ate, she can’t possibly need to nurse again” or “Oh Babies just cry, she’ll be fine“. When my gut was telling me to breastfeed my daughter even though she had just ate, and that watching my crying newborn but not doing anything about it felt in every sense of the word wrong. Everything in my body compelled me to comfort her. And it wasn’t just my aunt (I won’t let her take all the heat!), it was everyone- even my trusted pediatrician!
When you are a new mom (or even a veteran mom), you are getting unwarranted advice from your well meaning mother in law all the way to your neighbor you have only briefly spoken with once. It is enough to make your head spin and you are left only feeling confused. On top of that, you are overwhelmed, anxious, sleep-deprived, and scared. You’re whole world has literally been turned upside down, inside out, and has rearranged itself in a drastic way. You are also under an immense pressure to be and feel like a GOOD mom. So you will listen to all of this advice, and you will do what everyone is telling you is “right” because you WANT to do the very best for your child from the start even if it goes against everything your intuition is telling you.
I couldn’t help but wonder when our society became like this? When did we come so far away from following our instincts? My theory is this: simply bad trends. The developed world strives for everything to be done in the most efficient and easiest way possible and I don’t think parenting has been left unscathed.
I started to question the “norm” and mainstream parenting advice, and started to do some research of my own. I soon discovered that there was an entirely different perspective out there- and one that made a lot more sense to me (that was also supported by science). I realized that the way we handle birth and baby care today is drastically different from the way we as humans have raised our young for thousands of generations (and it has only greatly changed in the last couple hundred of years or so!). I was also not alone in wanting to get back to our roots of motherhood, and believing in the meaning and importance of parenting the way nature intended. There was a growing majority of mothers who also felt the parenting advice of today seemed well, backwards. This other “world” of parenting was out there, you just had to find it beneath the “Sleep-training” and “Rigid Baby Scheduling” books of today.
My attempt with this blog is to share a different perspective with mothers (and fathers) and maybe inspire their parenting views. I want to encourage new moms to follow their instincts despite well-meaning, misguided advice (there’s a reason it feels good to snuggle your baby!). I do not claim to know all there is about parenting, but I would like to share my perspective and maybe learn something in the process. I hope if anything, you leave a little more confident in yourself and your baby.
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten” – Marie Antoinette