The Vulnerability of a New Mother

| December 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
Sadie Jakoba Starr’s little feet photo is provided by Natalie Fiocre Photography.

Sadie Jakoba Starr’s little feet photo is provided by Natalie Fiocre Photography.

Pregnant and having a baby for the first time results in a very steep learning curve. There is so much to know. Each of many phases last only a short time before the next comes with more things to know and decisions to make. On top of that, everything changes once that tiny being is completely dependent on his/her mother (this is especially noticeable if she is breast feeding and/or a single parent).

New moms are the one group that can be easily scared by people of authority, like a medical doctor or other moms with several kids, possibly already grown up. They all seem to “know” and to know better. And the one thing every mom wants to avoid is being called a “bad” or “irresponsible” mother. It is so easy to make statements without facts and explanations that gnaw on the new mom´s self-esteem.

What to do? How to handle this delicate situation? It is very important for the new mom to choose sources of information wisely, since this vulnerability threatens to cut her off from her mom instincts.

Any mother truly knows her baby best. She spends the most time with her offspring and has a special bond. It is a true shame if any person in the circle of the mom wants to influence her beyond caring and supportive fact-providing.

Any mother might remember the moment she spoke up for the first time against some well-meaning advice giver or some mainstream, treatment selling doctor appearing to shame her. That is the moment she truly became a mother. This means taking as much as possible, reviewing all the facts to her own understanding of the situation, the baby, as well as her own life experiences, and then making a decision.

It is excruciating to have to make so many decisions for another little person that she loves so much, way beyond the love for herself. We decide for ourselves and are ready to put up with the consequences. But having our baby live with the consequences of our decisions can be an incredibly difficult experience, especially if the outcome is not as we had hoped. We decide and our innocent child pays. That does not seem fair, but it is part of being a mother and of raising a child.

What can be applied to other situations as well is for the new mom (or anyone in a new situation who is vulnerable to criticism and unsolicited advice) is to make sure to stay connected with oneself and with the situation at hand, and the overall desired outcome or goal. So if you are an experienced “old timer” and encounter an absolute beginner, please, don´t give unsolicited advice. At most, ask ahead if an observation or piece of advice would be appreciated.

If the answer is no, respect the answer. Keep the piece of wisdom to yourself and instead return to enjoy the person and the situation. Remember to leave room for the beginner to grow. By respecting the individual’s space, it leaves the door open for them to get support from you in their own time, when they are ready. We all can learn from each other, but shaming and belittling will certainly not lead to learning or improvement.

It is worth the exercise in restraint to allow the “rookie” to face her own fears and stay connected to her own intuition. This same intuition will let us know when we need to seek advice – and from whom.

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