Ah, maternal instinct. Another aspect of motherhood we often think we should have honed the moment our newborn is in our arms.
Is there a new mom on the planet who feels fully confident in her ability to keep her baby alive in those early weeks? Between the hormonal dips and spikes, the exhaustion, and all of the conflicting advice – you must breastfeed! Don’t force yourself to breastfeed! Co-sleep! Don’t you dare fall asleep with your baby! It’s enough to make any mom question her instincts.
Couple that with depression or anxiety, and your brain becomes a minefield of shame. I remember questioning everything, not only because it was all so new, but because I was viewing it through the lens of anxiety – something that automatically tells you you’re doing it wrong. Was I blowing everything out of proportion, or would I miss something obvious because I was telling myself not to worry so much?
The one thing that helped, and that I had to tell myself over and over again, was that we were learning together. My baby was not, in fact, judging me, and I was doing it right because I was doing it out of love. Do I still question my “maternal instinct”? All. the. time. I’m learning to accept that this may just be part of being a mom. Every age, every stage goes so fast that you’re constantly having to readjust. And so we move forward, learning together.