Being the brand new mom (or parent) of an infant is a lot about feeling powerless. (Heck, so is being pregnant for that matter.) You have so few REAL responsibilities to this new being – essentially all you need to do is make sure they are healthy, and develop in a healthy way. Easy – huh? Soooo…
Healthy = eats appropriately, sleeps appropriately, kept clean (bath and changing), not hurt/cold/hot, not sick
Develop in a healthy way= feels nurtured, gets appropriate stimulation, bonds with parents, meets developmental goals reasonably
Ok – of all that, you find that you can’t:
- MAKE the newborn eat
- MAKE the newborn sleep
- MAKE the newborn meet goals
- MAKE the newborn stay healthy
- KEEP the newborn a steady temperature (some part is always too hot or too cold.)
- KEEP the newborn FROM CRYING (your only measure for “feels nurtured” “gets appropriate stimulation” or “bonds with parents”)
The first month home, especially the first few weeks, my child had nursing issues, and sleeping issues. I could not really determine what made her cry. I felt like a BAD MOMMY most of the time. I was sure I sucked at this!
But in NO TIME AT ALL I began to look forward to changing her. For all that it was gross looking (breastmilk poos are *always* wet and runny and an unbelievable color), and I was sure I could be doing it better, BY GOSH, I COULD CHANGE HER BUTT. I might be failing in all the other areas, but I could *keep her clean.* Baths were worrisome because there was so much risk for injury, plus she cried at random points during baths, but I looked forward to those a good bit too.
So to those of you worried about the “diaper”/poopy part of parenting I say, “HA! Diapering is the ULTIMATE NEW PARENT POWER TRIP.” For 5 brief shiny minutes, roughly 10 times a day, I KNEW I was doing the parent thing right.
Unless, of course, the newborn stops pooping. Or peeing. Then I’m a bad parent again.
Until the EXPLOSION occurs. Then I am too busy frantically scrubbing to fret about what kind of parent I am.