Sunday, 3 April 2011
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.