Sporting a babe on your hip can feel like an open invitation for sage advice from weathered mothers. I’ve come to learn that mostly it is just one woman trying to connect with another woman, but in those tender and anxious first weeks and months of motherhood, any of that advice can feel like critique. Voices compete to be heard: Grandma’s always telling you to put a hat on that babe; the pediatrician recommends a certain method of sleeping. And how about those books stacked three deep on the nightstand each contradicting another!
Through this cacophony it can be oh-so-hard to hear the most important voice of all: your very own. This was the truest, best wisdom I heard when I was a new mama, and the only that I will ever pass on as encouragement. Still, as my Little Ones grow, and change, and our issues move beyond nursing, through struggles in listening, to sibling rivalry and conflict resolution, I deeply abide the voice inside, my own mama instinct.
I have put those experts aside. Sure, there are plenty out there more experienced, perhaps more educated in this business of parenting. But not more experienced in parenting my little one, in my little family. I have found freedom to get quiet, to be still and listen, to know that tug in my belly. I am blessed that I have people in my life who affirm this. When I call the doctor’s office, worried about a Little One with a fever, and the nurse on the other end of the line says, “you’ll know when it serious — trust your gut and call us back if you need to.” When a particular strategy for sleeping arrangements is falling to pieces, and a family member reminds me to go back to the basics. I know that feeling I get, that tug of it in my mama gut. And I know not to ignore it.
It’s this gut feeling I have the pushes us, me and the Little Ones, in certain directions. It’s a tough day, lots of tears, and I know that we need some fresh air and sunshine. Bundle up, it’s out we go. It’s my mama gut that shows me that life has been too demanding and we’ve lost our center. We may need to keep things a bit more simple for now, cut out some activities, maybe stay home and play for a day or two to mellow out. I pay attention when deep down I know I need to ask for help. It’s my mama gut that wrenches, telling me that this is all part of the growing up, both theirs and mine. It has both tears and laughter along the way. Sometimes I get it wrong. It’s forgiveness, and love, and kisses, always.
Ancient wisdom, tucked deep in the secret folds of my heart, mine simply for being a mother. My intuition is mine alone. Yours will look different, sound different, feel different. But we are all fierce in our love for our little ones, and we feel that fire in our bellies.
Linking up with Sarah Styles Bessey at Emerging Mummy today as she hosts a Carnival displaying our many Practices of Parenting. Check it out, and share what you consider to be yours.