I am grateful for a serendipitous meeting this morning. As a new mom, even going for a short walk can seem like an insurmountable task. I’m always glad when I do it, and especially so this morning.
Our morning wasn’t going so well. I wrapped my crying, unhappy baby to my chest and we walked to the coffee shop. He loves being in our Moby wrap and he fell asleep literally the second I stepped outside. The simple things in life are seriously life affirming – the cold, fresh air scented with wood smoke was just what momma needed.
Our son is a big boy. He is bigger than his 4 month old cousin! I exclusively breastfeed. There are no bottles, there is no formula, only breastmilk right from the source. Even though I know we are doing everything right, and take comfort in the reassurance of our midwife, there is still doubt.
You are warned about the doubt and uncertainty experienced as new parents, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate. Are we feeding him too much? Is something wrong? Should we be doing this differently? Upon reflection, the doubt seems to be compounded by being alone most days, without the support, encouragement or praise of other mothers. The only other person who weighs in on how we are parenting is my equally clueless husband (bless his sweet heart). This is not anyone’s fault, just the nature of the life of new parents? Tell me if I’m wrong.
As I come to enter the shop, two women are leaving. They are so happy to see a little babe! I just LOVE people’s reactions to my baby. Why don’t we react to each other this beautiful way? Joyful, open hearted, full of loving praise. I pulled off his hat and one of the women said he was perfect. Specifically, she said his head was shaped perfectly (she must be some kind of baby head shape expert). The two sweet women asked how old he was. Feeling a little insecure about his size I answered that he was not even two months old. Wide eyed, one woman looked him up and down and said, “good for you”!
They were so kind, I opened up immediately about how it’s tough being a new parent. It’s difficult to know if you’re doing it right. He is so much bigger than other two month olds and it’s easy to become insecure. One woman looked me right in the eyes and said the most perfect thing to me. She told me there is not much a new mother can do wrong.
When he cries hug him.
When he cries kiss him.
When he cries feed him.
You are doing everything right.
As if that weren’t enough, they let me know that being a mother suits me because I look radiant and alive. I made a joke, crediting the cold morning air for my looking alive. With wet eyes and a grateful heart I walked into the coffee shop and ordered my delicious Americano.
It was divine alignment – perfect timing. I could have put off my walk by five minutes and not had this affirming and encouraging encounter. Even though I don’t always feel like I’m in a community, obviously I am. A community of women who are truly kind, who see a new mom and know that she needs praise and kindness in bucket loads.