When Ted was born, so was the Mother in me. I experienced the happiest day of my life followed by the hardest one, when he was rushed for an emergency procedure. He was a sick baby and spent his first week in NICU. That experience shaped the way I cared for him and robbed me of many precious newborn moments. From the day we brought him home, soley into our care with no kind nurses or well-qualified Doctors, I was frightened. I didn’t know if I could do it without them.
In those early weeks as a mother, I questioned everything. Is he feeding OK? Is he warm enough? What does that cry mean? Often I was scared to go to sleep, in case I missed something. I would keep the bedroom light on in case he made a noise – I wanted to be able to see if he was alright immediately. I was constantly on edge.
I consulted every resource I possibly could to compare myself and my new baby. I needed reassurance I was doing it ‘right’. It helped me to read that someone else’s baby made a clicking noise when feeding, or squirmed at night after a feed. If I couldn’t find similar anecdotal tales, I thought I must be doing it wrong. This added pressure of constantly seeking reassurance exhausted me. It took all the energy I had left. But I didn’t trust my ability to look after my tiny baby without doing it.
This time with my newborn, I am calm. And so is he. I follow his lead. I don’t seek reassurance from anybody. If he wants to nurse all night, I nurse him. If he is unsettled and wants to be held, I hold him. I don’t trawl the internet to find out if this is normal, or check a faceless app. I don’t ask anyone if that is right, if they do it too. Because I don’t care now. I do what feels right. I do what my newborn baby tells me he needs. I have not read a single forum thread or opened the covers to a parenting book. I don’t know if it’s a leap or a growth spurt or a developmental milestone. It is what it is.
This time, I feel more present. More in control. I am enjoying myself and I trust in my instincts. I am not frightened any more.
I am a Mother, after all.