Do You Ever Worry That Your Own Mom Won't Think You're Up To The Task?
I get the feeling that my mother doesn't think I will make a very good mom. She keeps making little digs at me. I know I shouldn't care, but I do. How can I get past this?
Dr Hanson answers:
It's always annoying when people cast doubts on whether we can do something, but especially when it's as important as caring for a precious child. And if you're already a little nervous about The Big Event -- plus everything that comes after that! -- "little digs" are even more upsetting.
First, just to be sure, I suggest you doublecheck whether your mom is actually digging at you. Maybe some of the time it's a dig, and maybe other times she's just concerned about you or trying to tell you that caring for a baby is more challenging than many new moms expect. Sometimes people express caring or suggestions in ways that sound critical, but if you listen below the surface of what they are saying, you will hear the love and the confidence in you.
Perhaps you could find a way to have a talk with your mother and ask her how she really feels about your being a new mom. Notice the ways she indeed has faith in you and let the feeling of that sink into your heart. Let her know what sounds like a "dig" to you, since maybe she didn't realize how she was coming across. Try to tell her that you need reassurance, not doubts and put-downs, and if need be, give concrete examples of how she could talk with you in a way that would feel a lot more supportive. And if she just won't get the message, you may -- unfortunately -- have to put a little distance between yourself and her.
Other people can help you feel calm and secure about becoming a mother. Reach out for support from your partner, friends, relatives, your doctor and other moms with young kids.
Make a mental checklist of the practical things involved in your new role as a mom -- including things that will nurture you so you can stay at your best for your baby -- like the child's room setup, a couple weeks of quick meals in the freezer, people coming by to help, and understandings with your partner about his role. Line all this up and then reassure yourself by looking at your checklist and seeing everything that's checked off.
Last, remember that literally billions of women have raised their children successfully, and you are probably better prepared than most of them! There's a deep, innate wisdom inside you and inside every mother who knows how to take care of a baby. Trust that wisdom, trust yourself, and you and your baby will be more than fine.