A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with a new mother in a simple visitors capacity. I dedicated myself to being as much of a support as I could be in such a small amount of time. When preparing for this visit, I thought about my own experience and all the components that followed giving birth. When we introduce a new soul to this world, the world becomes obsessed with this being. Who can resist the sweet plump lips and tiny toes of a newborn? But in doing so, we often forget to indulge in the mother. This wonderful birth giver has blessed us with the purest being while coming closer to death than she probably ever will in her lifetime. So although the urge to pour all my love into her baby could have consumed me, I chose to indulge in her presence, thoughts, and overall experience.
We spoke about the challenges and benefits of breastfeeding, how overwhelming constant visitors can be, and newborn sleep patterns. Although she was visibly tired, calmness seemed to pour over her spirit. No doubt, she was settling confidently into her new role as a mother. One topic that usually comes up when speaking to new parents is the concept of “spoiling” their baby. Unsuprisingly, we touched on this as well.
Oh, what fears we have! I remember being told time and time again by older family members that holding my infant son “too much” would lead to him growing into a spoiled child. Surely we can count this advice as truth since our older family members have raised perfectly sane and respectful humans based on the simple fact that they did not hold their children too often… Sarcasm aside, I would just like to point out how truly stupid this idea is.
Let us think about this from an infant’s perspective. You’ve spent nine whole months inside your mother's womb. Snug and cosey, you’ve had all the warmth and nutrition you’ve needed. You learned the rhythms of your mother’s movements, her smell, and even her heartbeat. As you’ve developed, these staples became familiar keys that aid in you feeling safe and loved. Now that you’ve made your entrance into this enormous world, wouldn’t you find that same comfort and love in being held?
As new parents, the urge to hold your child can be very strong. I even held my son while in class, when taking online tests, and while cleaning and cooking. And to be fair, I acknowledge how difficult this is. Sometimes parents can feel overwhelmed. Other times you could feel burned out or even depressed by the reality that you are never alone. Such things developed over time and can be solved by finding the right formula for you and your baby. Some even say their biggest helper is the use of a baby wrap.
So back to the idea that holding your baby too much will spoil them. A wonderful woman, mother, and friend of mine explained to me that sometimes we confuse spoiling and loving, (for reasons I could write a whole other post about) but you can never spoil a newborn child. And in a world full of rage and hate, we should probably focus on giving as much love as we can to our babies, ourselves and others. So, to my new parents and soon to be parents, you are doing fantastic! And to those visiting new parents and their bundles of joy, remember to take some time to be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or even a diaper changer. Love on your friends as much as you love on their babies so that they feel supported in this major life event called parenthood.
Sending you love on your specific Journey.