I have been at the La Leche League of Georgia conference listening to the very talented Diane Wiessinger speak (see her informative website here: www.normalfed.com). She was speaking about the fact that breastfeeding is something that we have turned into a sometimes complicated act that undermines a mother’s feeling that she can own this experience without a professional telling her what to do. One example she gave was about the times mothers call her and want her to help them learn to nurse lying down, when really mothers could lay down on their bed with some pillows and experiment! Some things in life are really just up to you to figure out!
Sometimes it is easy to forget that you really are the expert on your own family and children. Many of you know I come from a background of working in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. I have worked with some very fragile premature infants and their families, and the families often felt as if the medical team knew their infant and what their infant needed better than they did. They often felt the medical team could read their infant’s stress signs better than they did, and the team, not them, knew what their infant needed. How discouraging and challenging! I always tried to encourage the families I was working with, that whilst they didn’t have a medical background, that their infants certainly knew THEM and their smell and the taste of thier mothers’ milk and how no one in the world could mother this baby the way that family could.
Here is a different sort of scenario, but with similarities: how about the family with their first child, and then when that child hits about three or four years and is so “challenging” and different from before? The child’s own will is emerging, and it can be so difficult to support that child where they are. Every book may hold an answer, every expert may know better than the parent. But at the end of the day, the family knows that child best. It may take trial and error, it may take experimentation, but instead of viewing this as a failure and that an ‘expert’ could have figured ‘it’ out faster, perhaps a more productive attitude toward this would be to note that the journey is in the striving, and this striving must come from within.
It is popular to say these days that, “Well, this works for that family and this works for that family” and almost everything is deemed okay if it works for that family. I am here to say that there are essential truths to work with in childhood, (you can see this blog post for some of the things I consider essential in parenting: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/23/carries-laws-of-childhood/ ) but thankfully one of the essential truths is that you learn to trust your own intuition, if you can remain calm long enough to discover what your intuition is telling you. Build up your confidence and surround yourself with people who will encourage you!
You are the best mother for your child, your child loves you and you are doing your best. Even if you are making different choices now than what you made in the past, you made the best decisions you could at the time with the information you had.
Mothering is also a process of growing and developing and maturing. Your own inner work to be a calm parent, your own ordering of your home, your own rhythm to the day, and most of all, your own love for your child is there.
Many blessings to you today!