Who would have thought that “being a good girl” could be a problem!
I empathised with one of the Mums who attended the Babiesknow Support Group when she vividly described her dilemma having been brought up to be good, a euphemism for “doing as she was told”.
How was she meant to be a “good” mother when so many conflicting voices told her with missionary zeal that they had parenting sorted and she should follow their advice? Should she follow a strict routine, should she let her baby cry, should she pick him up when he cried, should she let him fall asleep at the breast, which seemed natural but most books said not or give up and cry?
She felt constantly uneasy in her role as Mum. I recognized that place.
How can we banish the “should” and follow our hearts when it comes to parenting? Especially if we have stopped listening to our own inner guidance system in favour of external exonerations of how to be good! I was deeply buried in the conditioning of my life but a spark of my own knowing emerged when I became pregnant.
I look back and wonder why I had not realised that my baby would communicate his needs to me and that I would with some patience and practise understand what he wanted, most of the time!
Freud described a baby as a “Tabula Rosa”, a blank slate, a view that has permeated western society. It could not be further from the truth. Consciousness is primary and babies are as able as you and I to know what is going on and communicate. Words account for 7% of our exchanges, the rest we pick up through our senses. I remember sweating if I could not almost instantly respond to my baby’s distressed cry, it felt good to pick him up and he responded. My Mummy sense felt I’d done the right thing, my “good girl’ sense thought I had failed when he woke in the night or found it hard to settle. I was lucky to come into contact with Peter Walker, a founding member of Babiesknow, who encouraged my “Mummy Sense”.
Our mantra at Babiesknow is to love, hold, feed, see and hear your baby, and the parents too!