I’m seven weeks away from my due date. Seven weeks away from having a second child. (Well, 6 1/2 if we’re counting, which I am.)
During my last pregnancy I did what many about-to-be-new moms do and bought parenting books. Actually, I bought mostly pregnancy books and then realized that was really just the first – and certainly not the hardest – part of my journey. So I skimmed the baby books and fantasized about nursing and milestones and cuddling a sleeping baby.
And then Connor was born. And I started reading those baby books in much more detail.
Why is he not sleeping?
Is it normal to nurse this often and this long?
I think he’s bored. I bet Dr. Sears has ideas for how to entertain him…
It was exhausting (and not just because he wasn’t sleeping).
I was also involved at the time in forums that were full of new moms. There I could peruse thread after thread of questions and advice and compare their situations to mine and analyze every little thing to the minutest detail.
It didn’t help.
I didn’t realize it at the time, because those books and forums seemed like a lifeline to a first-time mom at home on mat leave for a year. And some of the advice was helpful. But for someone like me with a tendency to over think things and not trust my instincts, the perspectives of others were actually a barrier to figuring out how to be a mom.
This is what I now know:
- Every baby is different and you need to figure out how to soothe/feed/whatever your baby without worrying too much about what others are doing.
- Whatever you’re experiencing is probably normal, so just take a deep breath.
- Baby books are full of advice about what is typical. Most babies aren’t typical. Normal, yes. Typical, no. If you expect your baby to be like the books you’re going to drive yourself crazy.
- Some babies just don’t sleep. Accept it and you’ll be much less frustrated. But for the love of God, figure out how to get some sleep yourself. (Confession: I’m still working on this one.)
- Being a mom is hard, and some parts of having a baby are REALLY hard.
- It’s OK to ask for help.
So when the time comes again seven weeks from now (or six – I’d be okay with six) this is the advice I plan to follow. My own. And for the most part I’m planning to leave the parenting books on the shelf where they belong.