Sunday, 3 April 2011

Thanks Mum

It's my second Mothering Sunday since Alice was born, and I've been treated like a queen by my husband. You could argue that our mothering is something that should be celebrated year round, and it is for us, but I think it's nice to have a day when we can really focus on what we're grateful for.

I got thinking about my own mum and what a huge impact she's had on my journey as a mother. One of the many things I am grateful for is that she breastfed me until I was 18 months old until the day I said 'No gack', and that was that. I don't have any clear memories of her feeding me, but she often told me fond memories of how I fed, and I was brought up knowing that breastfeeding was not only normal and natural, but that it felt great too. Having her example before me as I started out as a mother, I never even considered formula as an option, and never doubted my ability to feed my baby. I'm sure that confidence is often half the battle when it comes to breastfeeding, and having a positive role model on the end of the phone boosted that confidence no end.

She had me at a time when she'd moved away from family, to a small town with few friends around her. She didn't read books on child rearing or take much advice from others (I am grateful for it!) but she mothered according to her instincts. She tells me now that she often felt as if she was doing it wrong. She fed me on demand and to get me to sleep. I was a fussy baby who frequently cried, and she would hold me rather than leave me to cry it out. Now I am raising Alice in much the same way, she says that she has come to realised that the way she did things weren't so bad after all!

I'm also grateful for the respectful way she raised me. There was no 'Because I said so" in our relationship. I was treated with the same consideration as an adult, and felt I would always be listened to. That feeling is something I hope Alice also experiences. My feelings, however odd, were validated rather than ridiculed. When I had a phase of nightmares, my parents' bed was always open to me, and always felt like a safe haven. When I struggled at school, my mum always took my side and recognised that sick days weren't always about physical illness, but mental welfare too. She was (and is) a fixer of things, and she'd take an interest in any problem I brought to her. She eased my path through my childhood, and is still doing it now I'm an adult.

We speak every day, usually more than once, and see each other every fortnight. She's my closest friend, and a wonderful grandmother to Alice. If I can be proud of any part of my mothering, it's because I was mothered so well myself. Thanks mum.


  1. That's lovely - well done your mum.
    It's lovely when you can look back and realise how well loved you were as a child and that is why you are capable of giving such love, i know i realise only in the last few years just how much love I received as a child.

    Fwiw though -I didn't consider ff an option until she hadn't regained her birthweight after 6 weeks and I wasn't producing enough - then it was either that or she was going to die..... and believe me I tried everything to get myself over producing... I figure my unconditional love showed itself by getting over my hang ups about only wanting to bf and allowing my daughter to grow, thrive and become the healthy, happy little girl she is today.

  2. I do hope my post didn't come across in a way that suggested I think that breastfeeding is going to be a breeze if you only expect it to be. I certainly don't! My point was just that sometimes doubt and fear gets in the way of what could have been a perfectly fine breastfeeding relationship, and I was glad to have avoided that pitfall. Of course there are times when there are deeper problems than self confidence and formula is a Godsend in those cases. I hope I didn't offend.

    I agree that it's only as we get older that we seem to really appreciate the love we had. For me, it's definitely been connected with seeing motherhood from the other side!

  3. Oh god no, if anything me being oversensitive to press reports recently. There is kind of an assumption that if you didn't bf it is because you are a lazy good for nothing mother who doesn't care about your child - and if you ff then you are poisoning your child.
    But i didn't get that from your post. We were discussing it today as some of us have had seconds, or are preg again and comparing experiences really - and the people who had a bf expert in their midwife team all fared much better. I am very lucky that we now have one in our team so am hoping that this will help in the early days- but also that i am more matter of fact about it and stronger against my unhelpful mil who kept telling me that bf was antisocial ( aka she didn't get a go at feeding) and couldn't understand why i was in floods of tears on the phone when she got me at a bad moment on the day i had to accept it- or why i had to hang up on her quickly because her insensitive comments made it even worse.

    Anyway- sorry have totally blurbed all over your post -and it is absolutley your journal so regardles of if people are offended or not, it is your right. sorry if i came accross as jumping down your throat.

    I don't think i really appreciated everything my mum did for me until i became a mother and i know that we are very much closer since i became a mother. Little things that happened for her like me being in scbu for 7 weeks, and that she lost her mum soon after i was born - i only truly understood just how that must have been when i was on the other side of a horrific labour and emcsec - and it just made me grateful that my child was well and mum was there to help as she had neither of those experiences.

    Sounds like your mum is salt of the earth and gave you so much. Having watched the Neil Morrisey programmes about carehome kids, I just feel so lucky to have been brought up as i was. Life wa not perfect but i was given unconditional love - and that i think is the ultimate need.

  4. Phew! Glad I hadn't put my foot in my mouth! It sounds like you've really been through it. Thank goodness for mums who stand by us!