Before my son was born I read a lot more about birth than parenting. Considering that information only covered about 12 hours from my first contraction, I had a lot of catch up to do once he arrived.
And wow, the learning curve felt steep. When he was around 10 months old I finally read this article about features of a high needs baby. My son met 11 of the 12 criteria.
I just thought all babies were like that because he was the only one I had.
Other moms' mentioned their high-needs babies and I thought about how terrible that sounded - my son wouldn't sleep longer than 37 minutes, had to be constantly held, and went from 0-to-hysterical in 3 seconds flat. And they had it worse?
(Looking back I have no idea how I survived those first two years with my sanity relatively intact, though that's up for debate.)
Entering my third trimester of pregnancy with my second child I vacillate between peace and panic. On one hand, at least I have some idea of what to expect.
On the other hand, I have some idea of what to expect -- plus a 3-year-old. Hold me.
With my first I felt intense pressure to "do it right." I wanted to read all the books and articles and expert opinions.
Then I learned that anyone who tells you there is one way to do anything is selling you their book.
Do I give weight in to experienced professionals say and what studies can show us? Yes. But the most important thing is doing what works for me and my family. I am the expert at my children.
So I'll stock up on strategies for smooth transitions for siblings, but this time I will have fewer expectations of myself. Because I don't know much about THIS baby yet.
In a class with Pam England (author of Birthing From Within) she explained her philosophy of "B+ Parenting."
She said that none of us can ever be a perfect parent. When we think we can, we set ourselves up for failure. Instead, she says, aim to be a B+ parent. Better than average, but without the pressure of never screwing anything up.
That's what parenting is about. It's picking our battles and trying not to screw up too bad while loving the crap out of these little imperfect humans. We're learning along with them.
You're doing the best you can with what you have available at the moment. That's enough.
If you're feeling stuck and don't even know where to start, you're not alone. If you need a hand to make the leap, I'd love to offer mine.