The approach to motherhood that many mothers are all too familiar with.
I read loads of books about becoming a first time mum. I read about how to take care of a newborn, about baby sleep routines, about other women’s experiences and the methods and techniques that they used with their children.
I wanted to feel prepared and informed. I wanted to feel confident that I knew exactly what to do when my baby arrived and I wanted to feel in control.
I likened motherhood to a university assignment or a work project. I needed a plan, I needed information and I needed to learn as much as I could about how to be a mother.
I looked to other mothers and baby experts for processes and guidelines that I could follow and implement.
Surely if I prepared myself and gathered enough information to make informed decisions, then being a mother and looking after a baby would be a breeze?
I soon realised after the birth of my baby that this approach was not working for me at all. I was struggling big time!
I felt like a failure. I felt frustrated, anxious and stressed. Despite all of my efforts I could not get the routines I had read about in the books to work.
My baby didn’t want to go to sleep at the scheduled nap times. She cried and cried in her cot as I became more and more anxious. She wasn’t hungry at the dedicated meal times and feeding her became a dreaded task. Why couldn’t I make the routines work? What was wrong with me?
These books were best sellers. How could they work for so many mothers before me and not work for me? I was trying so hard and being so diligent. My conclusion was that I was just no good at being a mother. I was letting my baby down. She was looking to me for guidance and care and I was failing her.