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  • Writer's picturesnigdha nahar

An Ode to Open Motherhood

The transition from being a woman to a #pregnantwoman and then to a #mother means a multitude of emotions at every stage.  The initial shock, despair, delight and confusion can turn anyone’s head, whether or not you are a first time mother.  This gives way to a period of tumult, adjustment and planning for everyone involved.  I am trying my best not to be biased here especially as it is a Mothers Day post and I have tried for years to be neutral between any parent or primary care-giver, whatever their gender.  So just for today, indulge me: let me focus on (a) that human being with the womb whose body’s hormone levels change, belly swells and even the organs move around in preparation for giving life to another human and (b) any other human being who does the mental and physical work of being a mother, even if they didn’t birth the child through their own body. 

Everyone has a different life situation when they are pregnant or when they bring the baby into the world.  Everyone is worried about different things and there is no universal feeling of motherhood- wait did you say #Love? Yes but there is no universal feeling of Love either is there? There are all types of mothers and all types of motivations to birth and care for a baby.  I can only tell you a short story regarding my own journey which has the bonus of being Dreemer’s origin story too:

I don’t know about you but I have undesirable habit of comparing myself to others. But when I compare it is not to one person, it is to an amalgamation of different persons and I take all their achievements and their best qualities and compare them against my own.  No surprise: I always fall short.  Dr. Gabor Mate would have known rightly that this quality is due to some #childhoodtrauma but it is not something my parents inflicted on me consciously.  As far as childhoods go, I had a great one.  Parenting is never easy and I recognise that my parents didn’t have the resources and knowledge which I have to my disposal. Therefore I don’t have an excuse to be unconscious in my own parenting or even as a person or a sleep coach.  I started on my #consciousparenting rather unconsciously and selfishly when I was pregnant.  I was worried about my own sleep as my friends and family members had all told me that I could forget about sleeping well for the next year or two as the baby wouldn’t let me.  I delved into research including speaking with new mom friends and they all had their wonderful war-stories and resources to share and slowly realised that there could be quite a few avenues to getting all of us better sleep.

By consulting online videos (#takingcarababies), facebook groups, hiring a child sleep consultant and just being open to my baby’s own cues, he was sleeping well by the time he was 5 months old and didn’t go through any so-called “regressions”.  But was I really conscious and open to his needs at all times? Had he needed me to co-sleep with him for a long period of time? Was he sometimes rude to me as a toddler as he wasn’t as securely attached to me due to his early independent sleep? These worries and doubts struck me while I was studying for my sleep certification and sometimes guilt washed over me as I learnt about alternatives.   The conscious parenting philosophy (eg that of Dr. Shefali) of first regulating my own emotions before I had a chance of regulating my child’s emotions saved me – in fact I learnt how to trust in the moment and my instincts from my child though I am still not an expert like he is.  I learnt to move on from crying fits to laughter fits within a minute.  And I learnt that what I think about every aspect of life including sleep, whether as a mother or a sleep coach, will be ever-evolving.  As long as I am open to learning from my child and his needs at any time, it is the best I can do and it is the only chance I have of breaking my child’s inter-generational traumas.  Happy Mothers Day to all!          

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