A major and unnecessary part of my first few months as a new mother was spent poring over parenting books, websites, chat boards, magazines, etc. If it offered to unlock the secrets of the new world I had entered, I was willing to read it. Some of what I read was interesting, some thought provoking, some silly, and some downright scary. What did I learn from all this, you ask? Am I a certified platinum, five star mother now? Can I whisper to babies in three different infant dialects? No. I spent many nights, when I should have been sleeping, worrying. Did Ladybug have incurable reflux? Was she becoming securely attached? Did that beer I had at dinner lower her IQ?
I finally stopped and came to my senses after a conversation I had with one of the women I met at the Lucina Centre. She stunned me by telling me that she didn’t read anything, ever, about parenting. She explained that she just did what she felt was right in the moment. She used her motherly instinct. My mind was blown! I have all the tools I need to care for my baby.
What she said next cuts right to the heart of the parenting experience: it is a lesson in being present. Put down your cell phone, step away from the television, shelve your laptop and look your little one in the eye. What is he telling you? What does he need? The way to figure that out is to watch, to listen, and to feel.
There are many helpful sites and books out there, and sometimes it’s comforting to know that you are not alone in your journey. Being a new mother can be very isolating. However, it is also comforting to know that there is no one right answer, no one right way. Much like there is no one magical baby product that will solve all your problems, there is no one secret that will make parenting a breeze (if you’ve found it, though, please send me the information).
Something I have learned over the last twelve months is that, just when I think I’ve got something figured out (crying, naps, feeding, etc.), it changes. The best I can do is to try to keep up with all the changes, and stay present.