Motherhood is a strange place, (yes place), that truly cannot fully be described to someone who hasn’t experienced it. You cross over, not only in to this incredibly life-altering new role, but also in to an alternate Universe. In this Universe there are all sorts of opinions and ideas and expectations orbiting around you. This isn’t like a gradual immersion in to a new lifestyle, either; oh no. The moment that baby is birthed, there is a shift and you are now a permanent resident in this new world.
A protective, mama-bear-esque instinct accompanies this new territory, and your baby cub is instantly the most beautiful, incredible and precious creature you have ever laid your eyes on. So naturally, you want the world to receive this tiny being with the same adoration. I think this is especially true for first-time moms.
After I had Ayden, I remember people asking me almost immediately, ‘Is she a good baby?’ My knee-jerk response was, ‘yes, she’s soo good’, subconsciously validating myself via my newborn. I then started to notice more and more, other moms praising the ‘goodness’ of their babies, but not talking so much about common hardships that accompany the arrival of a newborn.
I struggled with postpartum anxiety, and found myself often comparing me (and even my baby) to others, especially via social media. I started to experience the woes of a baby that liked to party throughout the night, and who almost instantly fell asleep while nursing, thus rendering me a human pacifier. Sleep deprivation had me in its death-grip, and slowly but surely, I started questioning the ‘good-ness’ of my baby, and in turn myself. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s what my truth looked like.
6 weeks post-baby, I finally had enough of my noisy head, and called my OB, who without hesitation offered a remedy for my PPA (postpartum anxiety), and almost instantly, sanity returned to me. This is when I had an ‘a-ha’ moment that would shift my perspective in a much-needed way.
All babies are inherently good. The idea that a baby could not be ‘good’, (regardless of how much or little they sleep, cry, nurse, barf, fuss, fart, spit up, etc), is absurd. The question itself, ‘is she a good baby?’, is kind of ridiculous if you stop and really think about it. Does anyone really ever answer, ‘no! She’s a terrible, bad baby!’ So why then do we continue to ask and answer this question?
I am not even sure I have an answer to this question other than humans really like to categorize things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. And I am not in the business of making people wrong for being human. All I am saying is that language is a powerful thing, and whether you are on the asking or receiving end of this question, it’s something to consider. You don’t have to take in and digest things that don’t fit for you. You do not have to categorize your baby, unless you want to. This is something I think I might have appreciate hearing when I was a new, first-time mom, so here I am passing it on.
This post felt important for me to write for the new mom out there, who maybe feels less-than, because her baby isn’t living up to the unrealistic, (often posed/staged) baby photos that flood our social media feeds. This is for the mom who when asked, ‘is he/she a good baby?’, thinks about her sleepless nights and fussy baby, and begins to question the very good-ness of her baby and herself. I want you to know, deep down in the pit of your soul,
your baby is a GOOD baby.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this; your comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated!