Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned about being a mom:
I’m a mom of two wonderful children, a boy 11 years old, and a girl 6 years old. Since becoming a mom there have been a lot of things I’ve learned through them and through working on hundreds of babies with CranioSacral Therapy.
1) Having a baby is traumatic
Whether it is traumatic for mom, the baby or both mom and baby, the whole experience was more than anyone ever warned me about. There are SO many things that can go wrong, it’s an absolute miracle when that baby arrives both bodies are intact. So often, moms are in fight or flight after the experience that they don’t even know how terrible they are feeling until days/weeks later when they are sleep deprived and trying to heal at home while caring for a baby. And vice versa, sometimes labor goes “fast” for mom and things seem easy peasy, but they get baby home and baby is telling them something else. This can take the form of “colic”, feeding difficulties and whole-body tension in babe. My biggest recommendation is finding little ways to take care of yourself & baby by having some bodywork done; massage, CranioSacral Therapy (for baby, too), Lymphatic Drainage, even seeing acupuncture or chiropractic can help ease some of the physical trauma birth can leave behind.
Lastly, lean on other mom’s going through similar situations & don’t be afraid to reach out to great mental health therapists that are trained to help you through times like this. Having a baby can be the most magical, important day of your life, but it can ALSO bring about some unexpected things.
2) Breastfeeding is hard
When you first get an introduction to motherhood it seems as though you only encounter women who absolutely LOVE being pregnant, LOVE being moms & LOVE breastfeeding. It turns out that a year of breastfeeding equates to a conservative estimate of 1,800 hours of a mother’s time. On top of that, babies are learning how to suck, swallow and breath in a rhythmic time, which doesn’t come easily to all babies. Moms are also trying to learn positioning, tips & tricks-trying to keep up with the supply/demand of the baby, all while they are also healing from the trauma that is birth. You can add an additional worry and anxiety if your baby has trouble feeding in which a mother feels helpless, where there is always an avenue of guilt involved, even though most times these babies have structural issues such as a tongue tie or tension that are keeping them from being successful. I even had only one breast that produced milk-I looked a little crazy for a year but let me tell you I learned a lot from the experience. Mostly I learned that there is an incredible group of professionals and practitioners in the F-M area that help with oral motor dysfunction and can help you to be successful with breastfeeding. And even THEN, sometimes it is too much for mom and baby to bear, and it is TOTALLY OK if you don’t breastfeed your baby. For some moms it is pumping and bottle feeding, some it’s half and half, some is formula & bottle—whatever is right for you is right for you.
Just know that if you are searching for help, I have a list of connections for you which include speech pathologists, dentists, doctors, lactation specialists & chiropractors who will all help you be successful in finding what works best for you and your baby.
3) 1 in 2 babies develop a flat head
Flat heads in babies don’t just come from keeping them in containers or not allowing them floor time (although these things really help) sometimes flat heads develop from in utero positions, genetics, oral motor dysfunctions like tongue/lip ties, tightness in the neck (torticollis) & many other factors like birth trauma, forceps & vacuum deliveries. My son was born with severe overlaps in cranial bones from our traumatic birth, and a crazy looking skull, but his little body was so wise and was able to move & get strong enough to have a perfectly shaped head.
4) A newborn baby lifting his head up at birth isn’t necessarily a good thing
Are they strong, yes! Are they tight? Also, yes. If a baby is presenting with fists clenched, a little extended and very rigid, it may be time to see a CranioSacral Therapist for an evaluation.
5) Babies shouldn’t hate tummy time
If your baby cries uncontrollably every time they are on their tummy, something should be evaluated. Whether they are having issues with reflux and it is pressure filled, or they are so tight in their neck & back that it is uncomfortable for them, this is another sign to get them in for an evaluation.
6) I didn’t know I would pee my pants.
That’s right, I was/am a runner, I worked out all the time and I had this magical idea that because I was so strong and tight I would be able to run throughout my pregnancy and bounce back to running magically after 6 weeks of rest. Boy was I wrong. At 18 weeks of pregnancy I ran five steps and peed all the way down my leg, ran back to my house in tears and hated trying to find a new identity in my exercise regimen. After birth, it was even worse. I gave myself 6-8 months before I succumbed to becoming a patient at the very clinic I work at to get my pelvic floor functioning again. It took me two years to find success in getting back to running again. And now-you know, it’s not quite the same, I definitely don’t run as fast as I used to, but I have a deep appreciation every time I can lace up and step outside knowing that it is a gift to be able to move my body, after ALL of that, in the way that brings me joy.
7) Not all birth is traumatic-I know, #1 said birth is traumatic
But what I’m saying is not ALL birth is traumatic. I know of quite a few women who were just MADE to give birth, they are strong, centered and it IS a magical experience for them. In fact, after all the work I did on myself in healing physically, emotionally and spiritually after the birth of my son-a miscarriage in between- five years later I had my daughter, and it was that magical experience. It went the way I expected it to, I pushed her out in two slow pushes and my recovery really was 6 weeks and not two years.
Birth can also be a healing, powerful, empowering experience. In whatever way your experience was or is for you, know that it is all worth it. I know people say it all the time, but motherhood is something I never knew I wanted or needed so badly, and I am grateful every day for the experience of being able to be a mom to my two kids. And I am even more grateful to work in a place with young professionals who specialize in helping women heal through these areas of trauma and helping them have the experiences they are hoping for. Whether you are facing infertility, birth trauma or difficulties feeding your baby, we have someone here at Apex to help. And trust me, it works.