Monday, July 8, 2013

Doing It Right

Dear Me,

You are the kind of person who will make yourself your own worst enemy. There is nothing negative anyone can say to you that you haven't already told yourself 15 times. You beat yourself up and have very little self-confidence. You try to trust your instincts, but there's a little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you're not as smart as people around you, so many times, you doubt yourself. I'm reminding you of this in hopes that you will shove your pride away and acknowledge that I am right and will listen to me for a second.

You are doing it right.

That's not something you let yourself hear very often, and you never give yourself that kind of encouragement. But right now, that's exactly what you need to hear. Over and over again. You're doing it right. You're doing it right. You're doing it right. Today I'm talking about Reid -- it has been a difficult weekend for you, and you are really doubting your parenting abilities. He cries whenever you put him down. He cries when someone else holds him. He acts like he is always starving. He acts very different than Cohen did at this age. Trust your instincts: you're doing it right.

Out of concern, people say you are spoiling him by holding him whenever he cries. They warn you that you're setting yourself up to have a clingy baby; that he'll be difficult because he only wants you. Remind yourself that newborns can't be spoiled. He cries because he has needs, and he is depending on you to take care of those needs. And sometimes babies just need to be held. Hold your baby. You're doing it right.

Some people, when they see how hungry Reid has been acting lately, will wonder aloud if maybe he's getting enough milk, even though you are feeding him around the clock. They probably have the best intentions, but you take that to mean that your body isn't doing its job and is failing to nourish your baby. When those thoughts arise, shut them up immediately. Your baby and your body are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Reid is telling your body that he is starting to need more milk than what you've previously produced. He eats constantly to make your body produce more milk. Don't doubt yourself, don't doubt your body, and don't doubt your baby. He is gaining weight fabulously and makes many wet and dirty diapers a day. He's getting enough to eat. You're doing it right.

It's easy to compare your children, to note that Cohen was a much easier baby than Reid, but don't do it. Don't listen to anyone who might make you feel like Reid is not as "good" of a baby as Cohen was simply because he is needier. All babies are different, even those that share DNA. Some babies are needier than others, and that's OK. Hold your baby; love your baby; appreciate your baby. He'll only be a baby for such a short amount of time, and pretty soon, he'll break your heart because he won't need you at all.

And remember, you felt this same anxiety as a first-time mom. You doubted yourself. You  wondered if you were failing on a daily basis. But look at your first baby: look at how smart and well-adjusted and happy and perfect he is. Keep your head up, momma, you're doing it right.

(I mean, look. Your 2 year old is singing praise songs in church. How much more proof do you need that you're doing it right?!)

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