Thoughts on motherhood: Baby first? Mother first?

Today my son turns 8 months old. Being a new mother, it is so hectic every day that the only time I have for myself in a day usually would be after 8 pm or so, when my baby goes to sleep.

I am sure I am not alone here.

 [Photo: Me and Christopher (age 4 months) at the harp]
In fact, it is really hard to keep one’s sanity throughout the day, especially if your baby has a cold, is teething, or simply fussy that day. His screaming or yelling can make you panic throughout the day.

When I first had Christopher, I used to center a lot around his needs and emotions, which is, now looking back, I think, quite normal. A newborn’s needs during the first three months are especially very demanding as he strives for survival in the new world outside his mother's womb.  His mother or caretaker's undivided attention is almost essential to his healthy being. I often have the feeling that “ If I do not respond immediately to my crying baby, or spend enough time with him, I am a bad mother.” The guilt can go really deep. So the question really is: does baby come first? Or, rather, mama come first?

Lately, I am learning to put my feet down in putting my needs first, and then discovering the true beauty behind my new regime. Instead of running immediately to care for my crying child, I would take a little time before I respond to his cries. I would wait and see if Christopher would coo himself off on his own. Instead of  starving myself in order to feed him a nicely prepared gourmet dinner (which is actually homemade baby food anyways), I will treat myself a nice warm cup of tea or a little sweet snack before I proceed to the feeding. And now, before I begin a day’s work, I will make sure I have a hearty, full breakfast. I realize that by doing so, I feel better, and in turn, I have more positive energy to attend to my child’s needs.

I am very proud to say I am getting back to a regular routine of practice on the harp these days. My bond with the harp is an important ME time, and I will try my very best to safeguard that. That does not mean I do not love my baby. By sticking to my harp, I found great calm and inner peace which is a great resource for me to love my son even more.



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