Sunday, October 2, 2011

{Day 2} Real Motherhood: The Overthinking Mama

The day I found out I was pregnant, I did not run to Baby Gap for a layette or call my mom or scribble down my emotions in a journal. 

I went to the public library.

I checked out a mountain of books on pregnancy and babyhood and began studying. 

Studying! Because I was pregnant.

I had stuff to learn, parenting philosophies to choose, decisions to make. To co-sleep or not to co-sleep? To feed on demand or to feed on a schedule? To deliver naturally or to have the epidural?

I was elated and exhausted when I brought Blondie home. I was also as confused as ever. I couldn't seem to find the solutions or philosophies that fit me or that fit my sleepless, intense baby. I felt as if I needed to belong to some sort of parenting camp and that I should be that mom all the way. 

I never found my camp.

Blondie usually slept with me {when she slept at all.} She was sort of on a feeding schedule {except when she wasn't.} I held her when that made her happy and put her down with toys when she seemed tired of being held and I just knew that all of my inconsistency would ruin her. 

As time went by I continued in my "studies." I kept reading books and continued to try and find my niche as a mama. 

I remember asking my own mom whether she nursed on demand or on a schedule, whether she was more of an attachment parent or the opposite of that. She told me that she fed us when we were hungry and that she didn't really remember giving any of it a great deal of thought. 

And then she lovingly told me that perhaps I was reading too many books.

I wondered how a woman as intelligent as my mother did not have a philosophy about these things. 

She simply trusted her instincts. 

Having raised four children from newborn to adulthood, she also had the gift of perspective. From her vantage point, babies simply needed love, food, and sleep. Why fret over all the rest?

I've been a mom now for nearly 11 years and I still feel like a novice. But thankfully a few things have crystallized for me recently. Had I not endured such a long period of fretfulness and insecurity, I certainly wouldn't be able to appreciate the relative clarity and {dare I say?} budding confidence that I have now.

Want to know the big secret?

Trust your instincts. Know that God created you to be the mama to the child or children He's blessed you with. Why wouldn't He equip you for the sacred role He designed you to fulfill?

Tomorrow I'll unpack this a bit more and share what this looks like in real life.



  1. So true, Marian. Every book gives you different numbers, different cues, different everything. It's no wonder so many women feel defeated so soon. They *want* to do what they feel is right for their child, but "they" say otherwise. The internal struggle to do what is right begins and once "they" get in yeour head, it's hard to get them out.
    I struggle with that, and I am on my 4th. I have shushed "them" a little, realizing that my first child is nearly 11 and is just fine- crib, bottles, and all. My other children are just fine, too, without the crib, bottles and all.
    I agree: trust your instincts -- God put them there. I am adding your button to my blog, and i *hope* to join in some!

  2. I wish I had had someone to tell me all this nine years ago, when I was expecting my first baby. It's definitely something I've learned. I wish we didn't have this need to divide into "camps" on motherhood-- I wish we could just support each other and love each other and accept that motherhood looks different for each of us.

  3. I saw the "new" version of this when my sister and brotherinlaw had their baby within the past year. Google on their iphone was their friend. Their bestest friend. And whatever site they found first was THE one to follow regardless. I wish you had written this a year ago and I could have let them find THIS page. ;)

  4. My 'baby' is 18 now and I remember those intensely terrified feelings of worrying that I was doing the 'wrong' thing! I, too, spent my days reading books to try to find the 'right' way to do things for this baby I loved so very much. I wish someone had told me then, what you just did.

  5. I bought every book under the sun for my first son. The book pile got less and less with each child. lol


  6. I really like your series idea. I sure need a push to let my "real" out sometimes.

    Excited to see what you do with this.

  7. (fingers crossed i don't botch this again).... how cool that you are writing the 31 day thing! Real..that is what i love about your blog, how well you write the real, everyday life. looking forward to following along this month! -Jordan

  8. YES! it worked.....ok, i know two comments are a bit ridiculous, but that just thrilled me how I finally got that comment to post (see, just keepin it real:))!! -Jordan

  9. Here's the real truth . . . I didn't have to give it as much thought because God gave me you first, and you, in all honesty, made it pretty simple. You didn't get intense (as our precious Blondie was, is, and forever shall be) until you got much older. By then (8th grade or so), you were weaned, potty trained, and didn't need rocking nearly as much!

    Seriously, have I told you lately that I think you are a fantastic mom?


  10. Great topic and story. Love being a mom. I wish I would have known more in the beginning, but PRAISE GOD they turned out awesomely!!! Blessings

  11. I did read all the books on pregnancy and mothering, too because I get too stressed with doing it "freestyle" or merely listening to tips from Mom, relatives and friends. I learned a lot of stuff from books-- I followed what I thought made sense but learned to listen also to my instincts ;-)

  12. i thought studying was a perfectly normal first response to pregnancy! :) ...It was B&N for me instead of the library.


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