I think every new mom (or about to be new mom) does it. You read book after book and article after article on every topic under the sun. Each book and article contradicting the one you read previously. It becomes so overwhelming, as if you are not already overwhelmed enough. I believe that most moms out there realize this is the most important job they will ever do. They prepare just as they would for that once in a lifetime interview or as if they were studying for the MCAT. It is insane the amount of pressure we put on ourselves as moms or soon to be moms. I remember the first week my Haddie was born. In between my exhaustion and pumping and feeding I was trying to remember exactly everything I had read. I could barely remember to shower and brush my teeth but I was trying to remember everything I had read over the past 9 1/2 months. Good luck with that, right? I remember my husband and a few of my more wise girlfriends saying, "don't worry, you've got this". Don't worry about what Dr. ABC who has never had a baby and never heard them cry all night long has to say about how often you should pick up your baby. Don't worry about what he says about snuggling them too much. It was really hard for me to take this advice because I wanted to do everything "by the book", even though every book seemed to be different. Once I gave myself permission to just listen to my heart I became a happier, better mommy. I felt it and so did Haddie.
I am no expert and I will not every pretend to be. I am just a girl who prayed for years for a baby. A girl that vowed to do everything correct if God ever blessed me with a child. What I found through my self awareness and my babies development was that her and I know each other better than anyone could imagine. I found myself waking up a split second before she started to cry. Like I was anticipating her being upset and on the flip side, anticipating her being happy. Sometimes I knew what she was going to do before she even did it. Call it mother's intuition or whatever you would like to call it, but I am here to tell you it is real! For these reasons I started to listen to my heart.
There were a number of people telling me that something was wrong with my daughter because she should be able to fall asleep on her own without being snuggled or held. They told me it was my fault and that I was spoiling her and doing her a disservice if I kept holding her to fall asleep. They told me I needed to break the pattern before it got worse. It devastated me. Yes, Haddie enjoyed me holding her, but I enjoyed me holding her too. Every night I had a chance to hold her and let her fall asleep in my arms and just protect her, I felt that much closer to her. What could be wrong with that? It made me feel good and it made her feel good, so why all the fuss? Why was everyone so concerned with telling me what is the right way and wrong way for my daughter to fall asleep? There were many other things of course that I am sure I was doing wrong, but this is the one that sticks out the most in my mind. All I could think was I love to be snuggled. I snuggle my husband every single night in order to fall asleep. When I have to travel or we are apart for some reason it is hard for me to sleep. I am used to him being there. It feels good and it is comforting, so why would I not want to give this same comfort to my child? If it makes me feel good and I long for this kind of comfort, why is it wrong for her to want it? I decided it is time to do what my heart is telling me to do.
I began to not listen to all the hype. I didn't let people tell me anymore what I should or should not be doing with my daughter. If she cried, I held her and sang to her because I know that is what makes her stop crying. I even found a few songs by Keane and Matchbox 20 that actually made her stop crying as soon as she heard the first notes of the songs. These are the things that make her happy so guess what, I decided I am going to give myself permission to do them. I am going to hold her, and kiss her, and sing to her, and play music for her not only because it makes her feel good, but it makes me feel good. I do realize there will be a time that this will change. There will be a time I cannot give in to baby girl's every need. But for now, I have given myself permission to love, protect and take care of my child the way I see fit, not the way everyone else sees fit. I have chosen to listen to my heart and not try to decipher which book is right and which one is wrong. For now, I probably know my little Haddie better than she knows herself, so why not do what makes her happy? I am sure there are many people that will agree and even more that will disagree, but this is the path I have chosen and the one that works for us. Give yourself permission to listen to your heart and do what works best for you, your family, and your baby.
With that I will say goodnight and end with a quote from the Dalai Lama.
“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”