Being a mom is often described as the “toughest job in the world.” It’s a “job” that doesn’t pay you money and that constantly requires you to keep “learning on the job,” with no training manual. From the minute you come home from the hospital with your new baby, you’re in a new world of intensive, highly-involved caregiving that can leave you feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed at times. But beyond the day-to-day chores and tasks of changing diapers, soothing crying children and breastfeeding, being a mom also brings a variety of emotional challenges.
It’s past midnight. I’ve been standing by your cot now for over 20 minutes, shaking a little, taking invisible slow breaths so as to not wake you up. Checking out every little line on your face, watching every tiny movement you make. Trying hard to relax, I tell myself that I am doing ok – that we are both doing ok. We are pretty new to this baby/mother adventure, but we are feeling our way in the dark and somehow we are figuring out what to do. We are being guided by powerful instincts that neither of us totally understand. We just trust each other and are holding invisible hands on this unfolding journey.
Motherhood tends to be talked about in glowingly positive terms. It is described as a beautiful, natural part of life that is all sweetness and light. For some moms however, this is not the case. Some moms can struggle to adapt to the new realities of motherhood and have difficulty developing a strong feeling of “bonding” with their newborn baby.
I know that sometimes you might have felt left out of the pregnancy experience, since so much of it was going on in my body. And, now that we decided that I am going to be a breastfeeding mom, it may feel like there is another important process that you need to watch from the side-lines. The truth is, now that I’m a mother, you have never been more important to me!
It is a fact of modern motherhood that so much of our daily life is infused with feelings of guilt. A word that has such negative connotation, guilt can be negative and manipulative, and even paralysing if you allow it to dictate your daily decisions.