"My approach to motherhood and why I got it so wrong."

The approach to motherhood that many mothers are all too familiar with.

When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child I was overjoyed and scared. My first instinct was to deal with my fear by trying to learn as much as I could about how to take care of a baby.

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.

My reading list.

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?

"I realised that my baby didn’t fit into a box. She didn’t come with a set of guidelines and procedures that needed to be strictly adhered to."

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.


I didn’t enjoy being a mother. I woke up most days totally paralysed with fear. I was in a constant state of anxiety and hyperventilation.

It was when my first baby was around 6 months that I realised why my approach to motherhood was not working for me. This realisation or revelation as I like to call it was so liberating, like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I was trying t0 ‘learn' how to be a mother by directly applying someone else’s routines, methods and experiences to my baby and my situation.

I realised that my baby didn’t fit into a box. She didn’t come with a set of guidelines and procedures that needed to be strictly adhered to.

"Motherhood is an instinct that cannot be taught or learned."

I was over thinking how to care for my baby. I realised that I already knew how to be a mother. Motherhood is an instinct that cannot be taught or learned. All I had to do was trust my mothers-instinct and listen to my child and do what I felt was right for US.

Today, I pride myself on being a more relaxed mother. I am able to trust my mothers instinct. I am a mother to my children.

I listen to my children. I feel comfortable to indulge in nursing, comforting, cuddling and holding my children without feeling that it will result in negative consequences.

I am no longer plagued by feelings of failure and inadequacy. I allow myself to do things my way and most importantly, I know what it means to ENJOY being a mother.

This post was originally published  on  Mammabelle's Bump Day Blog and is republished with full permission. If you need help styling your BUMP, you can download 'Your Personal Maternity Style Guide' created by MammaBelle here:

Did you take a similar approach to motherhood? 

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