Since becoming pregnant with Poppy I had so much advice given, but the most important guide for me was to follow my instincts. I would think, ‘But how will I know?’ However, as soon as I gave birth to this tiny little baby, the one thing I remember the most was that all my senses came alive. I never knew how strong they were until I had given birth. I could smell and taste so much more strongly. I could hear so much more and was so aware of my surroundings. I looked more into the distance than always at what was right in front of me …. I wanted to touch and hold my baby all the time. Then I realised I had an instinct to keep her close to me. She needed her Mummy. I couldn’t even leave her in a room on her own – it didn’t feel right. Some of my friends had been pregnant at the same time as me and later we would all compare our babies. We would ask each other, ‘is this right? or ‘is that right? One thing was that, at 6 weeks old, their babies were all in their own beds in their own rooms …. ‘They’ve got to learn sooner or later’ these Mums would say. I began to realise my journey as a mother didn’t relate to theirs, and I struggled to continue the friendships. My instinct told me my baby needed to be near me. And I needed to smell her, touch her, feel her, see her; I needed to know she was safe. Most importantly, I thought she needed to smell her Mummy, and feel me too. She was so brand new to the world – she had not even been on the planet a year. I felt we had so much to learn about one another. I would often get asked: ‘Don’t you worry you’re making a rod for your own back?’ by other Mums. As time went by, I began to realise I wasn’t like this. I didn’t feel I was a mainstream Mum. Then I came across something on social media about parenting styles and I realised I was following a ‘gentle parenting’ style or ‘attachment’ approach to parenting and there was a whole network and community of parents just like me who believe their children deserve just as much as respect as adults. Then I learned a whole new language of how to talk to children. I learned how to inspire. Children are like blank canvases. They are what you put into them…. One day, I’d like to educate new Mums and maybe be some sort of inspiration to them …. but most importantly I’d like to help them understand their babies’ emotional needs.
Written by Poppy’s mum (July, 2019)