The Belief that Made Me a Better Mother

The belief that made me a better mother

Motherhood is the fastest crash course in personal development. Being a mother will put us down and immediately pull us back up, crack our souls open, dismiss everything we thought we knew and every single thought we had in that little fantasyland called When I’m gonna be a mother I will be…. patient, loving, not like my mom, exactly like my mom; or the even more unrealistic, When I’m gonna have children, they will be… kind, polite, healthy, active, calm, sporty, loving or intellectual.
It just doesn’t work like that, a realization which surprisingly, surprised me.

You see, I KNEW EVERYTHING. I read about parenting. I read about birthing. I knew the kind of mother I wanted to be. I already knew for sure the kind of mother I did NOT want to be. I was an arrogant know-it-all.

My initial wake-up call came when my gorgeous newborn couldn’t breastfeed. I didn’t want to give up and I didn’t give up until there was blood (really). By then, my 10lbs baby was already dehydrated and started developing a fever. The doctors took her away for blood tests and a night sleep in the nursery rather than our room. That was day 3 of motherhood. Never a better time to start feeling like I was a failing at this mother thing. I didn’t meet my OWN expectations, and so I thought I am the worst mother. I mean, how come I couldn’t perform the most basic of tasks – feed my baby. My body, my child, and the world were working against me.

I remember crying a lot those days. It felt like a bottomless well of salty water was cascading from my eyes as soon as a caring soul would say something like what a beautiful baby or you’re doing a good job or this is hard, be gentle.

Kindness offered me the permission to let it all out and slowly heal. Kindness from random strangers, my own family and in the end, self-compassion.

Because you see, we will screw up many times. There will be failures along the way. Roadblocks. They’re all part of the plan.

I see myself as very fortunate to have had that experience. It quickly recalibrated me to the reality of imperfect existence and imperfect parenting.

The way one single aspect turns out doesn’t define us as failures, but as Chelsea Dinsmore recently said, how we do anything, is how we do everything.

How we respond when things just don’t go as planned is what will define our experience of that particular event.

So here it is:

Define life by the victories, not by the failures.

The quality of our existence is dictated by how we perceive our experiences. We do have a choice to be happy if we just train our minds to see the good rather than the bad.

When it comes to this particular event, I choose to see it as a wake-up call to humble me in my new experience as a mother. I am blessed to having had the opportunity to actually try really hard. It made me realize that sometimes it’s ok to say I can’t anymore. Help me! , and help I received.

I am grateful for modern medicine, for the fact that we now know enough to help these situations. In my case, it turned out, it took much longer to start lactating. My supply was never great, but I got the absolute best support and eventually I could feed my baby.

I am thankful for electric breast pumps, lactation consultants, kind midwives, ice packs, fenugreek tea, formula and breastfeeding pillows.

I am awed by the kindness, support and understanding I got from my husband, girlfriends and family members. I thank every single person who has listened and reminded me that love is not measured in how many months or years you breastfeed your child, but in how many times you hold them tight, look them deep into the eye and say This is my all. I am giving myself to you.

OR

I can say: I’m failure. My child had to drink formula. It’s poison. I’m a bad mother. My body has failed me. I will never be able to make it up to her. I thought that for a while, but that didn’t serve me too well. So I decided I wanted my life to say something different.

Be kind. Then add even more kindness. What’s the story you need to change?


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The Belief that Made Me a Better Mother 

Motherhood is the fastest crash course in personal development.

The quality of our existence is dictated by how we perceive our experiences.

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1 Comment

  • Nikki

    Reply Reply August 30, 2016

    So true!

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