Today’s post comes from a very special friend of mine, someone I grew up with and have watched grow into an amazing mother of three gorgeous young ladies. Particularly as a first-time mum, the advice can come thick and fast, but it is nice to hear that there are those out there ready to support you make your own choices and carve your own path.
A Word On Taking & Giving Advice in Pregnancy: Julia – 34, mother of three daughters
It’s no secret that motherhood will change you. The body will stretch and grow in directions, that previously, you never dreamed possible. Your taste may change. Parts of you start to swell and shift and sway. Yet, it is the unseen world within that is rarely listened too, or spoken of. So much time of pregnancy is experienced in the head; an evergrowing mental checklist of what should, or shouldn’t be done. The monumental life decisions made on behalf of a life beginning; cloth or disposable nappies? Bottle or breast? Natural versus c-section? The moments that make life meaningful, are the ones when you get out of your head and into your heart. The parts of pregnancy that are significant are when you are aware that now two hearts beat within you.
On the eve before my first child was born, I sat in our living room and proceeded to tell my Mother-in-law all my plans. Once the baby was born I would write a book. Take up knitting. Bake something edible. I conjured up a vision of myself as a Mother and vowed I would will her into being. With retrospective insight, my Mother-in-law gave me the best advice I have ever received. With her head tilted knowingly to one side she listened, smiling, and occasionally nodded. And said absolutely nothing. Maybe she knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t listen anyway. Or that I wouldn’t believe her. Perhaps, at the time, I thought I knew better. Advice, even with the best intentions, creates expectations that can deprive you of your experience as a mother.
When my eldest was born she had a small strawberry birth mark visible on the left side of her forehead. Concerned, the nurse advised me that it would disappear. Doctors said it could be removed cosmetically. I turned to google and gorged on information till distraction then promptly forgot. Eight years later it is still there. Early on I told my daughter that the mark was where I kissed her when she was born. Now, as I brush her hair for school, she makes sure everyone can see it.
Advice always has a time, place and intention but it should never override your intuition as a mother or the spirit of your child. An avid reader, I recall my devastation of a work colleague saying I will never have time to read again once my baby was born. My delight when I discovered that a breastfeeding baby makes the perfect book holder. Be wary of those quick at giving advices. Remember advice reveals more about their experience than yours. Me included.