During your pregnancy, you were probably bombarded with unsolicited advice. But now that you have your baby, you have real concerns, doubts, and questions and you don’t know where to turn. You may be blessed with guidance from family and close friends you trust and feel comfortable with. Or you may hesitate to follow their advice because it seems outdated or just doesn’t feel right to you. You may hesitate to get advice from those close to you because you want to do it your way or are afraid asking about one thing will lead to them taking over and telling you how to do everything. Or you may not have family or close friends to turn to for advice. You may turn to your pediatrician, but discover those rushed appointments don’t lend themselves to exploring all your concerns in depth.
Notice whom among your family and friends is a good parent. Spend time with that person. Join a local mothers group, notice who you feel comfortable with there, and make a point to spend time with those particular people. Moms Club International, La Leche League, and Meetup Groups are available in most towns. Your local parenting magazine publishes a list of local parenting groups. Surround yourself with good influences.
Stay away from bad influences.
Consider those who have a negative effect on you. You may, for example, notice you feel bad about yourself around them. They may be critical, unsupportive, or judgmental. Avoid spending time with these people. If you can’t avoid them, limit the amount contact both in frequency and duration.
Pay attention to your child. Be mindful of how they respond to you. Of anyone, your baby will teach you best of what they need from you.
Read books and magazines about parenting, but be critical of what you read. Remember that during the first year of life a child develops a strong bond and attachment with parents that shape their future relationships. Their developmental task is trust vs. mistrust. If they have good enough parents and other caregivers who are consistently—but not perfectly—responsive to their needs they learn they are loveable can trust others and . This responsiveness is a gift from you to your child, which sticks with them and serves as a solid, stable foundation to future development. Books can be helpful but don’t follow advice blindly or rely too much on them. Listen to your instinct.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We can’t do it alone. We need all the help and support we can get. Consider counseling, especially if upsetting feelings are prominent and persistent. You don’t have to experience marital conflict, anxiety, worry, depression, or emotional pain. A counselor is an experienced and objective third party who can listen and offer guidance, helping you find your way.
© Copyright 2010 by Susan Martinez, MA, LMFT, therapist in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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