How to survive the first year with a new baby – part one

IMG_0988

What advice can I give to a new mother? I can only write from my own experience. And what resonates with you, you should take. And what doesn’t resonate, you should leave behind. You see, as soon as you fall pregnant, every single person has some advice to share. While it can all be well meaning, I find that it can also be disempowering. Mothers are incredibly powerful beings, in a vulnerable place in their lives.

So, my only real advice is that you already know it all. You just need to trust yourself. You need to make the space to listen to your inner voice, the voice that guides you on this journey of motherhood.

Everything else I share is just information, it is not the heart of the matter. The heart of the matter is that you already know.

When you listen to anyone’s opinion or advice, the one thing you need to ask yourself is whether that person is happier than you or not. So many times we take advice from people who are actually more miserable than us. Is it really in our best interest to follow what that person says? Find someone who inspires you and get the clues from her. What she does and her philosophy will lead you down your path, the path that is right for you. And if she is attached to you doing things her way, she is not the best source of inspiration for you as a mother.

New motherhood is such a shock. It is one of the great initiations we are blessed to experience as women. It is a real gift. Every single life on this planet started in a womb. To have the honour of carrying life is not something to cast aside lightly. The womb is the vessel for life and the mother is the one who carries and sustains that life. Honour yourself for what you have done. Give thanks to your womb for bringing this child to the earth. It is an experience that one cannot prepare for. Some mothers are ecstatic with joy and take to their new roles immediately. Other mothers are mortified at what has just happened. The realisation that your life will never be the same, the reality of lack of sleep, your body that is so different. These are big things and if it is not fun for you, that is ok. Whatever you experience, own it. There is no right or wrong feeling here.

We put a really unrealistic expectation on ourselves that we have to be “good” mothers. I remember an episode of Friends where Rachel can’t see the image of her baby on the ultrasound and lies about it because she doesn’t want the doctor to think that she is a bad mother. It’s very funny, but it is a parody of the huge expectation we place on ourselves to get it right.

There is no right. But, if we look at traditional cultures, we see that new mothers are relieved of all their responsibilities. They are left alone to rest and to bond with their new babies. There is incredible wisdom in that. We need time to get used to our new roles. We need time to bond with our babies. It is really difficult to do this if we rush back into life. Because life is no longer what it was. It will never be the same again.

We need to mourn the old life. If we deny that there is a loss, we cannot fully embrace our new lives as mothers.

It is a time of learning to receive. We never give as much in our lives as when we give to a new life. It is not possible to sustain this life giving energy if we do not balance it by receiving. Receiving the love from our children, receiving the help that is offered – in whatever form it is given, even if it is not in the “perfect” way that we would like, and receiving our own self love and care. Receiving is a really hard thing to do, especially if we are trying to get everything right, isn’t it?

Energetically, we are still connected to our babies once they leave the womb. We stay connected in this profound way for seven years (and beyond, of course, I am talking about the intimate connection formed in the womb). It is called the Madonna Cloak, the protective cloak that we shield our children with. It is a long time. It is not natural for a mother or a baby to be separated before they both feel ready.

Take it easy. Take it slow. Realise that this, too, shall pass. One day, you will have a teenager, but right now you have a little person. A little person who chose you as their mother. A little person who has chosen to come and experience this life with fresh eyes, with you as her tour guide. What a great opportunity to experience life in a new way.

There is a misunderstanding about babies. It is that they know nothing and that we have to teach them everything. Nothing is further from the truth. They come here – all knowing. They are wiser than we are. Our role is to teach them how to physically live in the world – how to eat, dress, speak and drive one day. But, they are on their own journey. They have come here to experience the joy of being alive. They look small, but they are not helpless. If we actually take the time to slow down and just be with them, we see that. When we become too identified with our role as their protector and guide, we lead them away from their own power.

When we don’t trust that they have their own inner guidance, from day one, yes, day one, we lead them away from their own inner guidance.

Khalil Gibran states that our children come through us, but they do not come from us. When we let go of the concept of ownership, we relax as mothers. When we trust our babies to know what is right for them, we relax as mothers. When we listen to them from day one, we teach them that they are important. We build up their self esteem from day one.

We teach them that they are empowered, because we know that the only life we can control is our own. Even though we have a responsibility to feed them, clothe them, house them, educate them and love them, they are still on their own journey. Every mother in the wild knows that she has a role to play, she has to protect her young and empower them. When the time is right, she lets them go.

This realisation has made a profound difference to how I parent.

I do not take things personally. I trust my children’s inner beings and I tell them that all the time. Xavier is four years old and he will tell you that he should always listen to his body because it never lies to him. I know to teach him this, because I know this within myself. There is no external authority more powerful than the teacher that is my body. And a baby knows this from day one. That is why the baby cries when something is wrong. When the baby is hungry, tired, in pain or in need of a mother’s love and tenderness. The baby knows that she came here to feel good and she announces to the world that something does not feel good. When we acknowledge her for what she has announced, we teach her that her body’s signals are in fact 100% right. When we tell her not to cry or dismiss her discomfort, we teach her away from her own inner guidance. She grows up confused. She does not know who to trust, so she relies on external forms of authority.

I am sure that you can relate to this personally, or you know of someone who can’t trust herself. She always has to look outside of herself for the answers. It is no wonder that our children are confused. They have been taught that they can’t trust themselves. It is probably how we have been raised too.

That’s ok. We are all here to expand and grow. When we shine a light on something that hasn’t been working, we can change it. We can bless it for the lessons it has given us and take what we want from it. And let the rest of it go. One. Day. At. A. Time.

So, as new mothers, the best gift we can give our children is to trust them and to trust ourselves. We can slow down and hear what our newborns are telling us. Receive those daily gifts.

In the next post, I will continue with some practical tips that I have personally used, while applying the principles of personally empowering my children to live from their own truth.

I would love to hear if you have experienced a shift in how you see the world since you have had children?

Sharing is healing and your words could inspire someone else. Your words are important, please do not keep them to yourself.

Blessings to you.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “How to survive the first year with a new baby – part one

  1. krissie

    I wish I’d known all this when I had my family…. I was comletely lost and unsupported and eventually found my won methods and strong voice, but it took many years before I felt confident as a mum. So much is expected of you when you first have a baby,so many methods its confusing, but finally we all work out whats best for our family and children. Even though I dont need this advice now its nice to read about and maybe pass onto my dd’s when they start having their families!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: How to survive the first year with a new baby – part two | Peaceful mothering

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s