My Motherhood Mantra

Sarah Strapp

Posted By: Sarah Strapp

I am eager, anxious, nervous, and exciting to get this baby to my breast.

"It's only a phase, and there IS a reality outside of this."

These are wise words that a good friend told me she used as a mantra for herself multiple times a day when her son was first born. Being a new mom has thrown me. I'm used to feeling confident, sure of myself. Being a mom has you questioning yourself at every turn. Babies are so innocent, so helpless and yet have so many needs. When a baby is first born they have to eat every two hours, at least. For some babies it can take quite some time until the time between feeds stretches out.

We are having quite a time working out Sam's naps and night sleeping. He seems to be struggling to stay asleep. He's able to fall asleep with relative ease, but staying asleep is still an issue. So, whenever he wakes up, even if he isn't hungry, I'm tempted to just feed him to console him back to sleep. The thing is though, I'm nervous I will teach Sam a habit of waking up more often than he needs to in order to be with mom.

At three months old, there are a lot more questions than answers. It's only now starting to sink in that there is no "right" answer, no "solution," no definitive method. If there were, there would not be a whole section on parenting in the bookstore; there would just be one book! But, alas, there is no book. I was talking about this very issue with a friend of mine who said, "I find it disturbing to realize that everybody everywhere is kind of winging it, from new moms to the president of the United States."

How do you know what he's asking for? How do you know if he's waking up for food or for reassurance that mom and dad are still there, or maybe it's just a wet diaper? I guess the longer Sam and I spend together the better we get to know each other. I'm starting to recognize his cues so I can see when he's getting ready to go to sleep. (I could be better at picking it up more often, but I'm up to once a day when I get it right.) You can get lost in this world of constant questioning and self-doubt. It is so much easier to feel unsure of yourself than it is to feel confident. I don't know about you, but I am definitely guilty of obsessing over everything.

This is where my friend's mantra comes into play. "It's only a phase, and there IS a reality outside of this." With the help of friends and mantras like this, the reality of motherhood is starting to sink in. Mothers have been questioning themselves for all of time. We just need to support each other. Yes, the beginning is tough, but the moments when he grins, when he rests his head on your chest, when he is sleeping soundly, make the tough times worth it. The valleys are pretty low, but you can see the whole world from the tops of the peaks.

2:28pm on Thursday December 23


Lilliana Gonzalez
1:30pm on Thursday February 24

My sentiments exactly! Thanks for sharing.

10:16pm on Thursday December 23

I appreciate you writing about this.

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