Before we had kids, I always "knew" I'd be super overprotective and a helicopter mom. I "knew" I'd read all the pregnancy books and follow all the "do not eat" lists and research the shit out of things online before making any move of decision. I read What to Expect Before You're Expecting like it was the Bible. Then I got pregnant.
For the first couple months (with Connor, still reeling from the miscarriage), I was obsessed with What to Expect When You're Expecting. I studied it, highlighted seemingly noteworthy sections, put little flags on the pages I wanted to show Hubby or come back to later. It didn't help that I was in bed rest for a hemorrhage for 8 weeks and had nothing to distract myself with. I was the crazy pregnant lady I always knew I would be. Until I started feeling him move and went back to work. Suddenly, I was me again, just bigger and with a stomach that over on its own. I limited my sugar and soda intake, still, and no coffee, but otherwise, I stopped obsessing. That lasted throughout the remainder of my pregnancy.
Enter baby. I don't know what it was, or is, but I just have faith that if something is wrong, I'll know and fix it, otherwise he's fine. Breast feeding in the hospital, I wasn't shy or self conscious (like I expected) I just shoved a boob in his mouth until he attached and got his fill. I'm pretty sure at least half of our friends saw my boobs those first couple days. I was just more interested in feeding my son than catering to anyone else's delicate sensibilities.
Pretty much since day one, I have let him lead the way. I let him do a lot more than my mother is comfortable with (I know because she tells me often) but somewhere along the line I adopted the "let him try and figure things out" attitude. He falls on his face daily, and he's always bruised, bumped or scratched, but he's clever. He's a problem solver who figures shit out for himself and comforts himself most of the time.
Don't misunderstand, I'm always nearby and watching in case he gets really hurt, but I would rather let him figure out the world around him than shelter him and limit his experiences.
I'm not passing judgment on any other parenting styles, so if you're offended by this, you read it wrong. I'm just expressing my surprise at the mom I've turned out to be, so far. I love this version of myself.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community