You’ve probably heard it said “every baby is different” and of course that’s true. In fact, every mother is different too. We might think one thing worked with one child, but then try it with another and it’s a total flop. We all parent differently. We all read different things, follow different trends and believe in different ideas. However, there is one thing we have in common; we are all mums. Once a mother, always a mother. That precious bond that is created at birth (and often during pregnancy too) cannot be given or taken by anyone. The little life that is entrusted to us is predominantly guided by our internal instinct to love and nurture. Yet, despite knowing all this, some of us mothers fall into the cave of comparison. We worry that our baby isn’t rolling yet, only has one tooth, can’t talk at all, and later, can’t do 1+1 or just won’t listen to a word we say. Comparison is the enemy of motherhood and one we must try to do without.
With two premie babies, I have very easily fallen into the comparison category. Both of my little ones took a while to learn to feed, both were late rolling and sitting. Awena isn’t crawling yet, but Poppi was late doing that and didn’t walk until 18 months. Even with Awena’s corrected age, she is still late to reach her milestones. But, I ask myself, does that matter? Are they happy? Yes. Do I love them? Unconditionally. Comparison robs us of the little wonders and focuses us too strongly on that which we perceive to be important.
Motherhood (and preparing for motherhood) can be isolating enough as it is sometimes (especially after a year like we’ve just had) and allowing the seed of comparison to run rife in our thoughts only isolates us further. Who or what are we comparing ourselves to? How many babies do we know that are absolute textbook? Where does comparison actually get us? I’m not saying that it isn’t good and healthy to chat about how our babies are doing, but let’s accept in our hearts that every baby is different and that is ok!
When Awena arrived early she was incredibly fortunate not to need oxygen. She had to be tube-fed and started off life in an incubator. Cuddles were limited, especially when under the phototherapy lights. There were other babies on the ward who needed oxygen and other additional care and babies who moved up to the nursery or started feeding independently before Awena. I am very grateful in these early days that I learnt that everything must be done in Awena’s timing. And this was the case for each individual. The doctors and nurses knew what they needed and treated accordingly. There was absolutely nothing comparison could help. And really, the same applies today. Each little life needs time to grow and develop without the interference of an impatient adult trying to move things along. Children learn best when they learn for themselves. We can scaffold and support but we can’t do it for them all their lives.
On many yoga videos, they say “you are exactly where you need to be” and that is what I will end with now. Our babies (and ourselves) are exactly where we need to be.