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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

To the new mother

© Photo: {Nurtured} By Jen

From one mother, to another.

You worked so hard to bring this baby here, and now she's here, you might feel you don't know quite what to do.

Perhaps you feel tired, exhausted. Perhaps you look upon this baby as though she is a little stranger, and you feel guilt, and love, and wonder why it's not more like the TV says it should be.

Maybe when your baby cries, you cry, too, because you feel helpless. You want to be be able to place your baby down, content, like they say you should, but your baby doesn't allow this. Your baby demands your arms, your breast: constantly.

Maybe when your baby cries you feel torn, bereft, a failure.

But you are not a failure – you do know what to do. You just have to allow yourself to believe it. But I know how hard that can be, when women – mothers especially – are often forgotten, believed unintelligent. Broken.

You must ignore those voices that warn against our instincts, those who tell us to put down our baby, not to feed our baby yet, that our baby needs bottles or prams or something other than us and our love.

Your baby grew from your flesh, your bone, your heartbeat. Your baby is part of you and only you know what is best. Listen – what does your heart say? Hold, breastfeed, keep close. She may still cry, but that is okay. Sit with her, like a good friend, and hold her while she weeps because that is all she needs.

When you desire to seek help, take it from those who place you at the top, along with your precious baby. Drink in only words of love, acceptance, understanding. Listen only to the advice that reminds you that you and your baby are a whole: together, flawless, and perfectly flawed.

Be still; rush not. Time with a new baby can seem infinite and slow. You crave the night so you may rest, but then night comes and rest doesn't. Take your baby to bed and sleep together – in the womb, it is all she has known and she will outgrow it when she is ready.

In these early weeks and months, nothing is more important than being still with your baby. Housework can wait, or be done by others. Ask someone to feed you, so you may be still with your baby. Time for running around will come soon enough and then you will miss this time on the couch.

Unlike everything you are conditioned to believe in a world so driven by money, please remember that when you seek the wisdom of another, in mothering, the best wisdom will be free. Freely given, because that wisdom stands no purpose other than making the world a better place.

Let me tell you this: your baby who cries? She loves you. Infinitely. She knows nothing else but your heart and your blood and your voice. You are her, and she is you.

Allow me to promise you this: this baby who longs for your arms and drinks you dry and refuses to move from your body even to sleep? She will move from you. I promise. It won't be forever and when it happens, you'll miss this time.

I have lain like you, exhausted, wondering if it would ever end. But it does. It did. My children now? They cuddle me when they need, but then off they run – independent, free, secure, loving and loved little people.

Let not a world that has bound your power for centuries bind your power now.

Believe in yourself, believe in your baby. I believe in you. You are amazing.