Bring baby home
My partner and I are first time moms. We came home with our new born baby after a long labor and delivery experience. Little did we know that in the next couple of weeks our home would be full of family members waiting to meet young Pharaoh for the first time.
My partner and I were excited to be home with Pharaoh, but, we admit that we were not ready for our families’ parenting advice and opinions. We heard:
- You’re holding him wrong.
- You’re being too rough with him.
- Just give your baby formula. He will be okay.
- Don’t carry him too much. You will spoil him.
- He needs to cry or you’ll spoil him.
The uncertainty of new parenting
The amount of unsolicited advice while we were interacting with and learning about our child was difficult. It made us feel as if we were not doing a good job as well as making us question whether we were equipped to be “good parents”. We felt unsure about our ability to fulfill Pharaoh’s physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Pharaoh had only been on earth for 2 weeks and we thought we had heard every advice, rule, and tip on the “How to Raise Your Baby Rule Book”.
After much thought and long sleepless nights we began to realize that our families forgot how vulnerable two people can be after you have a baby. Labor and delivery is a wonderful but hard experience. For this reason, a baby and their parents’ first couple of months are very sensitive because they are recovering from the intense birth and learning to be new parents to a new soul. If both parents don’t take time to recover from labor and delivery, they can suffer from postpartum depression.
PPD can last anywhere from the first day up until the first year of their child’s life (2017, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that I wanted to avoid. It is important for families to be there to help and support couples as many of them are parents themselves. It is their job to help the new parents physically and mentally.
Learning my baby
Pharaoh was 2 months old, we learned as many of his cues as we could. His cues ranged in sounds of babbles, grunts, and cries. His cues brought out our mother’s intuition (2007, Ana Jahn). My reaction was and still is to run to Pharaoh and tend to his every need. This intuitive feeling almost feels like I need to do this for myself as much as I need to do it for him. For some reason, deep down inside my gut, it feels wrong not to respond to his every cue. Parents that listen to their intuition about child rearing, report feeling like a competent parent (2004, Stefanie Jill Green).
In my mind, I felt unsure if I was doing the right thing by ignoring some of his cues. I began ignoring them because I subconsciously had internalized our families’ opinions on parenting and unknowingly started practicing something I didn’t feel or believe in. This made me unsure of Pharaoh’s needs because I was convinced that he might be spoiled. In my opinion, as a result of not being attentive to every coo and cry, I believe Pharaoh was unhappy and not at ease. Ultimately, my intuition led me to respond to his cues. My intuition was telling me to pick him up, console him, and talk and play with him. Once I listened to my intuition, Pharaoh was happy and calm. When he was happy, we felt happy! With Pharaoh being 3 months old now, I know that my intuition is what is best for my son.