Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Attempting to be calm and confident

From what she has read, Princess Morag believes that the two most common emotions of mothers are apparently guilt and anxiety. Having had to give up on breastfeeding, Princess Morag tried very hard not to feel guilty as she had done her best, but knowing that breastmilk is better for baby did cause her concern. Being new to the role also calls into question her mothering ability; after all, a wee bit of babysitting experience does not totally prepare you for the awesome responsibility of caring for a baby and preparing him for facing the world on his own one day. So should guilt and anxiety just be accepted as the usual territory of new mothers and tolerated? Princess Morag thinks not. You see, she believes in a God who does not want us to feel guilty and anxious, who wants to set us free to live happy, glorious lives*.
*(Romans 6:22)

Of course, it is easier said than done to become this calm, confident mother especially when it seems that her little charge sets major challenges to this state of mind. For example: When feeding, Master Ryan will cough and splutter and then go ominously quiet for a moment causing both mother and father to worry that he is not OK. When Sir Rianus is in charge of the bottle and Princess Morag is in the other room, she experiences even greater anxiety as she cannot see the face of her babe and only hears the panic in her husband's voice. However, both parents are now getting used to this tendency of their son's and are not as stressed by it anymore. Breathing related anxiety also occurs when Master Ryan is sleeping, as generally he is quite snuffly but when in a deep sleep, his breathing is not audible at all, and he looks so at peace that an angel might have taken him, or, as Princess Morag sometimes thinks, he might have been replaced by an angel!
Crying: Now this (thankfully) has not so far been too much of an issue for the new family, but when Master Ryan does decide to turn into the "crying monster", and suddenly bears absolutely no resemblance to the beatific son described above, and all his physical needs have been is difficult to be patient and feel loving. This is an example of when loving becomes an action rather than an emotion and Princess Morag has to look out with herself for the strength to keep going in this situation, sometimes looking to Master Ryan's father for support or to their Heavenly Father!
Nappy Changing: Princess Morag has had to learn to be vigilant when changing nappies. As you may know, little boys sometimes take the opportunity of 'watering' the area when they are in a semi-naked state. Couple this with the tendency to spit-up the milk just consumed and factor in a messy malodorous excretion and you have a minefield scenario!!!!! Princess Morag has learned that one must simply see the humour in the situation and has put serious thought into the hierarchy of priorities when dealing with simultaneous bodily fluids in order to reduce the incidence of 'accidents' and therefore the amount of laundry required to be washed!

Having run courses on confidence building in the last two years in her workplace, you would think Princess Morag would be super confident. You would think..., but she has had to learn along the way how to apply the principles to her own life, and as she tells her patients, it doesn't happen over night. She knows that she must guard her thoughts and not let negativity take over. Unfortunately normal perspective on things disappears when you are sleep deprived. So sometimes she has been overwhelmed and felt inadequate, and guilty. But then she has been able to see things as they are in the bigger picture and hey - nobody is a perfect parent - and studies show that she just has to be the 'good enough' mother! Master Ryan seems to be healthy and content and by the look of his ever expanding chubby cheeks putting on weight nicely, so what is there to worry about?

Since the journey of motherhood began, Princess Morag has been living in the moment; she is forced to concentrate on the present needs of her child and making any sort of plans for the current day or week is challenging which doesn't leave much room for contemplating the longer term future. This is a new way of living for Princess Morag as she used to have the tendency to dwell on the future, perhaps too much. Given that she finds it so difficult to coordinate household and baby tasks, she is certainly not 'super-organised mum' and does compare herself unfavourably to others in this respect.

It seems Princess Morag is questioning once more her ability to remain confident in the face of the weaknesses she perceives in herself and there is always worry about the welfare of her child at the back of her mind, that whisper that says: "what if the worst happens??"
So what must she do? She must take heart, and be strong in her mind and spirit and heed the words of the psalmist:-
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
(Psalm 26:3-4)