Things My Sister Said…

| February 13, 2011 | 1 Comment

I’ve heard the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”, but never fully understood its truth. The physical support given by family and friends is important, but not nearly as crucial as the emotional support I have received during these past two months. Our baby girl is just two months old, and sometimes throughout the day I find myself repeating the “words of wisdom” given to me by the women in my life. Starting with the things my sister has said, I learned to listen, perhaps for the first time, to the advice from the women I love. I’m thankful for their input and use their knowledge each day.

During my long and difficult labor, as things progressed in a way we had not at all planned, I was feeling defeated, exhausted, as if I had failed. Why was my body not moving the way nature had intended? Why was my “natural birth plan” failing? We were in the hospital in labor for almost two days before Vivian arrived. My body was fighting against everything it was supposed to be doing. My sister was one of the people who was there to support and encourage me. She kept telling me to “keep my eyes on the prize.” Initially it seemed like just words, but as labor moved further along and less as we had planned, it became my driving force. I would hear Vivian’s heartbeat on the monitor and repeat over and over “keep your eye on the prize.” This comforted me in a way nothing else could and stayed with me through many moments even after her birth.

A couple weeks after arriving home with a new baby, it seems as if everyone expects you to be ready to “greet the world” with your new bundle of joy. I certainly thought I would have felt that way; ready to take her out, have guests over, and show her off. Instead, I felt literally paralyzed. I was petrified of germs, didn’t want to see people holding her for too long, not wanting strangers to look at her. I was so terrified that someone would sneeze on her, drop her, etc. Some conversations with people in my life made me feel like I was crazy or suffering from postpartum. Ugh…was something wrong with me? Why was I not ready for this? Again, my sister reassured me with one simple thought. She told me it was okay to feel the way that I did, and it was because I loved Vivian so much. She said to me, “One day someone will look at her when you are out, and instead of feeling fearful you will feel proud. That’s when you know you are ready.” I was anxiously awaiting that day and wondering if it would ever arrive. The day I would feel proud of our baby being acknowledged instead of crossing my fingers that no one would want to touch her in a store. Just recently, that moment came. Vivian and I were out one afternoon and an older couple approached us. The closer they got the more my heart started beating and I was thinking, “please don’t touch her!” The woman reached up and gently touched her back, and said “what a BEAUTIFUL daughter you have…and look at all that hair!” I giggled with excitement and felt so proud. The feeling of joy came from out of the blue. Once again, my sister was right and her words gave me strength and validated my feelings. I knew I had reached that “next level” of motherhood.

I never was someone who took advice. Instantly after becoming a mother, I found myself clinging to the advice of anyone willing to share. My mother, mother-in-law, aunts, friends, etc. have been essential to building my confidence. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful support system and am so happy Vivian has these loving people in her life. My “village” is helping to raise our daughter and my sister has given me advice on everything from cutting her nails for the first time, to foods that I may want to avoid while nursing, to the best way to work from home. I am so lucky to have someone care for our well-being as much as my sister, and I hope every mom has a person like this in their life. I have also found a number of local resources helpful. Should you need advice on anything related to nursing your child, I have found wonderful guidance from La Leche League of Maryland. They have meetings at various places throughout Anne Arundel County and the dates and locations can be found at their website .

Tags: , , ,

Category: NEWS

About the Author ()