Before I had children I thought I would have more influence over my children. I believed that 'good' parenting (whatever that means!) was the answer. I would paint my blank canvas of a baby into a beautiful work of art.
Imagine my shock when my first baby did not respond to my 'good' parenting. I was doing everything 'right' and still she always cried and never slept. I read every book and spent endless hours consulting guru google.
When I was at my wit's end and took my daughter to the GP. We had to wait for ages and my daughter was screaming in the waiting room. I breastfed her and by the time we got to see the doctor she was milk drunk. The doctor saw her during a rare and brief moment of peace.
I described my baby (always crying, never sleeping) and the doctor said (exact words!):
"You just haven't developed good settling skills."
Those words haunted me for years. I reached out for help and was told it was indeed my fault. This trusted professional just reinforced the idea that I was doing something wrong, that I was to blame. Like most modern mothers, I doubted my decisions and mistrusted my instincts. Books, studies, reports and information only fed my anxiety and undermined my confidence.
It turns out my daughter had reflux, but she lost 300 grams in a week before the doctors took my concerns seriously.
It took me until my second baby was born to realise that babies are indeed all different.
My son slept like a baby. Not perfectly, but I could help him learn to sleep using the exact same techniques that never worked with my daughter. He cried, but not that shrill, ear-piercing shriek that my daughter had. I finally relaxed in the knowledge that my parenting skills were not to blame.
If words like 'demanding' or 'high needs' or 'sensitive' describe your child I want you to know what I didn't. Your baby is born with a unique personality and temperament.
You are a good mother.
Your baby is a good baby.
But it may take you two a little longer to get to know each other, and figure out what works for you.
Because your baby does not do things by the book.
I'd love to help you connect with your intuition and your baby and find peace a joy in the transition motherhood.