What, short on those warm and fuzzies? Well…..New Moms Take Heart

10 07 2009

Just recently I read a column in the local paper that caters to young mothers. The women who had written in were concerned that they were not good mothers.  Seems they did not fall madly in love with their newborn just as soon as it was born. They felt guilty and somehow deprived of a feeling they were sure they were supposed to have.  That rosy, cooing, melting feeling had somehow escaped them.  Instead, the mothers were upset and unsure of themselves.  In  one case, the mother almost disliked her child because he did not come with the full package of feelings she was expecting.  The mothers also resented the fact that the babies consumed all their time and lives.  They were not expecting the crying and feelings of helplessness that come with each and every newborn.

Well, I don’t know how the rest of the young mothers of the world feel or have felt in their lives, but I can speak from my own experience.  I was scared to death of that baby. I didn’t know what in the heck I was supposed to do with him.  And besides that, I didn’t know anything at all about raising a baby.  I had just learned first hand what ‘having a baby’ felt like.  I didn’t want to be pushed or rushed into learning something else new right now.  I wanted to rest and get organized and get control of my life.  THEN, I would be ready to take care of that baby.

I had read all the appropriate magazine articles.  I had even checked some books out of the library, trying to understand what was to be expected of me. But somehow, none of those writings were relevant once that baby bounced onto the scene.  Instead of following directions from a book, my home was utter chaos.  As soon as I bathed him, it was time to feed him, and then it was time to feed him again, and again, and again.  And then it was time to clean up everything from the making of formula, and the constant feeding of baby.  In the middle of all this, I was supposed to remain sane while I ran the washer and dryer constantly, tried to put a meal on the table, and tried to entertain all those who came to my door to see the newest addition to our family.

Well, I’ll tell you for sure, it was pure intimidation to me!  I was overwhelmed, under prepared, worn out, and almost physically sick from the responsibilities heaped upon me.  I had never even been around babies before.  I did not even know how to carry or  hold a baby.  What was I supposed to do with this tiny bundle that the nurse handed to me in the hospital.  I was half asleep from just giving birth, worn out and sore all over.  And now this. The nurse handed me a baby and told me to take care of it.  How?  What was I supposed to do?  I looked for that book of instructions that I felt sure came along with him, but there were none.  I was not even sure how to hold the bottle or the baby.  What on earth was I going to do with this new addition to my life.

And that was another thing.  What life.  All I did once I got home was take care of baby, take care of baby, and take care of baby.  Some mornings, I didn’t even get my hair combed.  This was not at all what I had been led to believe motherhood was going to be like.  And that bonding thing that everyone writes about and people talk about.  What in the heck is it?  Where did I go wrong?  I must be the worst of all mothers.  I missed out on everything somehow.

But I know now that I didn’t miss out on anything.  I reacted exactly the same way that mothers have been reacting for centuries.  The problem is all those that write and talk about that gooey, pink, rosy feeling that is supposed to melt the new mother when she sees her newborn for the first time.  I’m here to tell you, it ain’t that way at all for most of a new mother.  I had to learn about that baby and he had to learn about me, too.  There is not an immediate bonding feeling at all.  It is a growing, knowing feeling that develops over time that tells you that this baby is a part of your life forever.  That will never change.

If you are a new mother or expecting a child soon, give yourself a little time.  Don’t judge yourself.  Don’t feel guilty or upset.   Don’t be unsure of yourself.  The life of a new mother takes a little while to adjust to.  Of course that baby will consume your time and your life.  But it will all be o.k.  In fact, you wouldn’t really want it any other way.

Take your time learning to be a good mother.   It takes a while to learn how to  handle the most important job in the world.