Thirty one years ago, as a young mum I didn’t have any idea about how to be a parent – at least that is what I thought at the time.
My first pregnancy was an unknown canvas and I was unaware that I was the one holding the paint brush. I was in labour for nearly two days before an emergency caesarian section was performed. When it came to feeding my baby the nurses were not helpful in regards to my inverted nipples nor were they mindful of the pain I was in, so the option of breastfeeding was quickly ditched because I was so overwhelmed. Being so young (18) that experience was etched into my brain and the following three babies, all by C section, were also not breastfed. I was uneducated about motherhood and generally only had my own mother’s experiences to go by. Of course things change over time and I too grew and learned a great deal from my own personal experiences.
There are however three things I wish I did know as a young mother.
How you feed is less important than how you love
I absolutely agree and acknowledge that breastfeeding is best for baby whenever possible. But it’s not the end of the world if you can’t or won’t. The most important thing is that you are nourishing your baby and loving them. Your love is the most important thing to a baby. Your relationship is made or broken based on the love you supply.
I was made to feel so guilty and less of a mother because I didn’t breastfeed my children. I now know that to be utter bullshit. Loving and nourishing your child is what is important.
Your baby – your routine
This is so important. This is your baby and it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you and your family. Don’t let others tell you how they think their way is best. It was only best for them – not for you. For sure, you can listen to advice and see what resonates with you – but the final decision is yours and you can change your mind anytime you like.
Your body is amazing – exactly how it is
That body of yours has just birthed a little human. Those stretch marks, that swollen vagina, those heavy breasts and darkened nipples are all because you carried and nourished a beautiful being into existence. Don’t be listening to anyone telling you that your body isn’t as it should be. Tell them to fuck off (or your version of the same). The end.
There are so many things that a new mum has to navigate – let it not be those things that everyone else is telling you. Follow your instincts and give yourself credit – you have birthed this beautiful being, you are amazing – you’ve got this.
As I write this my own daughter has given birth to her first child just yesterday. My husband and I were honoured to have been there for the whole event – such love in the room to welcome new life. I’m here to offer her support and to facilitate her wishes where I can. This beautiful child is her baby and my grand-baby – never should the two roles be confused.