When I first had my daughter, I was terrified at the idea of being left alone in a room with her. We had to spend her first night out of the womb in separate wards, we were then reunited on the second night and all I could do was stare at her with fear in my heart. What if I end up being a terrible mother?! I’m not ready for this – please don’t leave us alone!
I didn’t know what I was doing. She was small and fragile looking. The idea of her crying sent shivers down my spine! I mean what would I do? How would I know what the problem was? What if I’ve tried everything and yet I still can’t get her to stop crying? We’ve all seen those adverts or movies where the parent is there anxiously trying to soothe a screaming baby but nothing they do seems to help. Speaking for myself, those kind of scenes had planted a seed that only showed up when I had my own child (growing up as an only child, I never got to see the raising of a baby so TV is all I had to go on).
Even if you feel you know all there is to know, nothing can prepare you for this job, except the practical experience of getting on with it. My daughter is now 2 and a half months old and I am loving being a mother. The fear of the unknown has gone and all that remains is joy, laughter and the little moments that she and I share. There are still times when I get worried about the fact that another person’s life is in my hands and they are affected by the decisions that I or my husband make. But then, I just remind myself that my husband and I have been chosen to raise our daughter and that ultimately her life is in God’s hands, and we just need to do our best and leave the rest to him.
For any new mother or ‘soon to be first time’ mother reading this, I would like to share with you some things that have helped me overcome the fear of getting it wrong.
You will receive some contradicting information from your midwife, health visitor, friends and family members who are mothers. For example, my midwife told me that it is best to cream my daughter with sunflower oil because it is a natural product. But then, my health visitor told me that until my daughter is at the age of eating solids, I should not use food products on her. Then friends and family have their own advice too! Even though they mean well, it just adds to the confusion of you not knowing what to do and the fear of getting it wrong (because if the professionals cannot agree, then what is one supposed to do?).
Just remember this: a baby is a mini human being, so whatever they need, you have it. Really, they just need your love and protection, and for you to approach motherhood with a positive mindset. Also, just like adults, one baby might have a few things in common with another but ultimately they are different people. Therefore, what works for one might not work for the other. So, do not be discouraged if what people are advising you to do does not work. Your job is to study your own baby, learn to read their tell-tale signs.
For example, a baby has different types of cries. There is one cry for food, one for a dirty nappy, one for sleep and just like you and me sometimes, they just want a cuddle. Just take the time to get to know them and the rest will fall into place!
If you are ever in doubt just ask God… it’s his child too!