When I was in labor with Baby Mo I got a nasty chill. One of the nurses gave me a blanket. She asked why I hadn't rang for the blanket earlier and I mumbled something about not wanting to be an inconvenience.
"You'll learn to speak up," she said curtly and whipped back around the curtain.
Baby Mo is six months old today. As I look back on my first six months as a mommy, this is the lesson that has been the hardest: speaking up.
As a new mom, you are second guessed a lot. I hate it. As much as I appreciate the help, I don't appreciate being second guessed. It makes me question myself and that is something a mother should not be in the habit of doing.
Confidence is an important quality in a mother and it is hard to find in the first months. My husband on the other hand never doubted his ability as a father. Baby Mo came out and a few hours later, he knew that the baby needed a diaper and he knew how to swaddle him. He took those small victories and built upon them and now has an amazing ability to read our son and care for him accordingly. He is Daddy, The Baby Whisperer.
Not me. My instinct may tell me what Baby Mo needs but then I will second guess myself or listen to someone's casual (or sometimes aggressive) suggestions and second guess again until I feel like I've run laps around my own thought process. In the end, it was usually my first instinct that was correct. It is exhausting and I am grateful to be outgrowing it.
Think of the most successful moms you know. No one steps in their path with a pointed finger and says, "Are you sure you should .?" No one would dare. Now think of that shivering woman in labor. You might second guess her, right? She makes it easy.
Some moms don't need this lesson in confidence. My pregnant sister-in-law is a point in case. At Thanksgiving, some family members were giving her suggestions about parenting. She simply said, "We're doing it this way and we're not going to talk about it any longer." She wasn't rude or aggressive. She just wanted to make it clear that her baby's care was not a democracy. I silently high-fived her from across the table for standing up for her decisions so declaratively.
That is how I aim to mother: with love, respect, and confidence.
Meanwhile, my baby's half birthday is a cause to celebrate other victories too. I hit my 6-month goal in breastfeeding (and still going!), I lost all of my baby weight, and I am (mostly) making it happen as a working mom. I can't believe how one little person can change your life so dramatically. I fall in love with this little man more and more every day. He is growing so fast and in many ways, so am I.