Motherhood means something different to each woman. When I became a mother, the depth of my love for my son astonished me. I had no idea I could love someone that deeply; to this day, I treasure and marvel at that love.
Perhaps it was this deep love that also helped trigger something else: incredible self-doubt and insecurity in my new role of mother. I desperately wanted to do the best I could for my son, so in the early days I constantly second-guessed myself. Was he stimulated enough? Was he getting enough sleep? Was he eating enough? Should I have pushed harder for cloth diapers? Did it hurt him that I went back to work when he was 4 months? Was I poisoning him by giving him rice cereal at 5 months? Did I delay him by not starting sign language until 12 months? These questions and more sped through my head every time I made a decision about how to care for my son. Some things I do regret (starting rice cereal at 5 months as recommended by the pediatrician, rather than waiting until after 6 months), while others I’ve never looked back on (breastfeeding past one year is something I’d always hoped to do).
Feeding into my insecurities was this sudden feeling of being judged. Anytime I read something that differed from what I was doing, I felt bad. Whether people were being self-righteous and judgmental or I was just taking things too personally, the result was the same: I felt more unsure about my competence as a mother.
Two years into it, I’m definitely no expert in mothering. The learning curve in this job is breathtaking! However, I’ve come to realize that all my son needs is ME. It doesn’t matter how he’s fed, what diapers he wears, what toys he has, how much I wore him…all that matters is I love him and I know in my heart of hearts that I have done the best I could for him. This is the message I want to bring to all moms. You are good enough for your child, no matter what anyone says, what you read, what you see. You are “mom enough” for your child. You are a good mama.