During my first pregnancy, I dove into every book, blog, movie and magazine there was about parenthood. I’m normally a reader anyways, so this didn’t seem unnatural or obsessive. I was simply educating myself.
For what the hell did I know about mothering?
Oh man, I still remember the worry. About sleep and maternal instincts and being too independent and selfish to properly care for another human- a baby helpless human!
And then my baby came. And I understood what fierce love was. I understood that yes, I will be cranky and crave alone time and not always know exactly what to do, but there would never be any question about what I would do for my child. Because the answer was simply, everything. With the caveat that everything did not mean perfectly. Which had a caveat that perfectly meant nothing even close to perfectly.
It was only about a month, probably less, that I sensed that I needed to stop reading. Cold turkey. Everything. Because I wasn’t feeling educated anymore. I was feeling pressure and judged and comparing myself with others.
My baby was in the 98th percentile for weight. Great! But wait, there’s a report about the link to obesity. I nursed every 4 hours, not 3. Breastfeeding was not beautiful, it was freakin torture! (Okay, I got to the beauty eventually but damn that first month sucked.)
So no more reading or charts or boasting mom blogs. This was my first foray into mamma’s intuition. I’ve always been one to follow my intuition. Listening to my gut has led me around the world, away from danger, and into love but for some reason I doubted my gut knew shit about motherhood.
Turns out, it was the opposite of that. My intuition knew everything about motherhood. In fact, my intuition introduced, then guided the whole of me around motherhood.
To this day, 4.5 years and the addition of another kid later, my intuition lies at the forefront of my mothering. It helps guide me into everything from being present, to reacting instantaneously to a real cry, to lunging and catching near falls, to sensing the immediate need to vacate the house before we lose our minds!
I wonder, if I hadn’t trusted my impulse to put away the books during that very vulnerable time, would I trust myself as a mother like I do today? Would I have learned and built confidence and grown if I had continued to constantly check the book or compare myself with other mothers?
Not to say that reading in and of itself is bad. My intuition simply knew that to build confidence I needed to do, not read how to do. Today I read parenting books, blogs and magazines. But I do so as an added resource to what I already know. Ya know?
I’d like to say I’ve come full circle. But it would seem that while I follow mamma’s intuition daily, I now blatantly ignore those other impulses that keep on knockin.
Doesn’t it stand to reason though that my intuition, the breadth of it, can be trusted beyond the scope of motherhood? Just because I’m a mother, doesn’t mean I need to ignore these other aspects of myself. In fact, my intuition tells me that following those dreams will only enhance my mom self.
Well damn, that my friends, is what they call a lightbulb moment.
Time to, not so much come full circle, but be a full circle.
Oh the possibilities!