I remember becoming a mother for the first time. It was years ago that Red was born, but I remember those first few minutes like they were yesterday. The nurse placed Red in my arms after an incredibly traumatic birth and emergency surgery, and I almost didn’t know what to do. I had been a babysitter, mother’s helper, preschool assistant and teacher, but never in charge of my own human. It was surreal. Okay, now I’m a mom. I’ve got to figure this out, and super quick. A little human is depending on me. Every minute of the first few days was a learning curve. I had previously researched the bananas out of every situation, so I made the most informed decisions I could. I learned what worked for Red, and what worked for me. I even learned what worked for Chase and how our new little family needed to operate.
What was the most amazing thing for me, was how quickly I learned Red’s tendencies and what worked for him. I understood his cries after a few days and learned how my body worked with him for feedings, despite our troubles and struggles with breastfeeding. But, there were constant barrages of articles, other mom’s stories and my personal “feels” that wracked my nerves. Was I making the right choices? What about what other moms were doing… was I not following along correctly? I’m not saying it was direct peer pressure I was feeling, but with all the “causes” and information out there it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing everything perfectly. And new moms need support. Was I doing okay, and learning, doing, experiencing everything a new mother does?
The one thing I still remember was my Mom saying how impressed she was with how right on my instincts were. When Red cried, or needed something, she said I knew exactly what I was doing (I’m glad it looked that way!). I’m not sure if she said this while on the phone, or to someone in the same room, but I heard it. I’m not sure I was supposed to (but you know those new mother ears that hear EVERYTHING? It’s a real thing!), but it made a real difference in my confidence. In fact, I’ve never forgotten it, and I’m not even sure I told Mom, but it was something I really needed. Those moments of incredible support from her, Dad and Chase were so meaningful in that early part of my hormonal, emotional, no-sleep, motherhood.
I hope that when I meet a new mother, or a parent that is learning the current stage of their child (because we all know as soon as we’re on top of the routine, it changes!), that I’m as supportive as my family has been. Because moms need support. (Dads, too!) Did you feel supported as a new mom? Was there one person who said something to you or showed you that you were doing the best you could, making the right choices for your family? I’d love to hear your stories of support!