I may just be a mom-to-be right now (three months and counting!) and not quite yet a mom-mom, but one lesson has already become very, very clear to me: As a mother at any stage, there are a lot of decisions to make. A LOT. And I’m not just talking about registering for gifts at Buy Buy Baby. (Although that can totally give you a panic attack. I may know from personal experience.)
Right from the moment you find out you’re pregnant, the questions begin. Where will you get prenatal care and who will deliver your baby? Will you hire a doula? Breastfeed? Get an epidural? Cloth diaper? Use a baby carrier? Put your baby on a schedule? Go back to work? Eat only organic foods? Co-sleep? And with every potential question that comes up, there are seemingly about a million opinions — strong opinions at that — that come with them. One article or book or expert says one thing; the next says the complete opposite. One of your mom friends swears by one product; another says she couldn’t live without something totally different. And the internet. Oh, the internet. Online discussions and forums are awesomely helpful, but they can also make your head spin.
It’s enough to make a mom — especially a first-time mom — go a little nutty. And feel a little lost. There are so many decisions to make and so many different opinions. How will I figure this out?
Which is why I love the sage advice I’ve gotten from a few moms — including Erin, and it’s ingrained in Fit Bottomed Mamas’ very own mission statement: Do what works best for you and your baby. When in doubt, stick to that. (Another piece of advice I love, especially during pregnancy: all the baby stuff you register for is really for you — love your baby, keep it warm, feed it and give it a place to sleep and it’ll be fine.)
While to someone like me who is a bit of a control freak and would rather just know the right thing to do, this gray area is a little unnerving at times. Just tell me what to do that’s best, and I’ll do it!
But it’s also liberating. I may mess up, but we’ll figure it out.
Women have been having babies and figuring it out for thousands of years. Is picking out the right swing really something to fret over? If you can’t exclusively breastfeed is it the end of the world? Do you really need to have all the answers now? Nope. Again, you gotta do what works for you. Each mother, baby and family is different. And therefore there is no single “right” answer. Just a bunch of them!
And isn’t that one of the most beautiful intricacies about motherhood? That, really, there’s no best way to have your baby and raise your family, but rather it’s a flowing and evolving learning process of you maneuvering through what works best for not just them but for you, too? Isn’t that awesomely challenging and gorgeous all at once? And isn’t that kind of what life is all about when you get right down to it? Embracing your individuality and celebrating it, rather than trying to conform to some ideal? (Not to mention, respecting and honoring those differences in other moms and families, too!)
I hope so. In fact, I’m counting on it. I trust myself to do this.
Any more sage motherhood advice I should know? Have you found the differences in motherhood to be pretty beautiful, too? —Jenn