For a new baby, one is supposed to:
- feed her every three hours or so
- give her several minutes of "tummy time" each day
- read to her whenever possible
- have as much "skin-to-skin" time as possible (I use a sling)
- feed breast milk, which requires both actual feeding time and pumping
- sleep when the baby sleeps
- give her an hour or so of naked time (to help prevent diaper rash)
It seems there is not time in the day for everything you're supposed to do to help with baby's development. Each night, I look at her sleeping in the crib and think, "I didn't do enough tummy time today" or "There were several minutes today when you were awake and I wasn't reading to you". Each thought is followed inevitably by "I'm a terrible mother."
I am aware of the ridiculousness of this feeling, yet there it is. I'm sure I'm not the first to feel it either. I've got this driving need to do everything right. There's so much pressure--from baby books, from the pediatrician, from the lactation consultant, from my experience of my parents' childrearing--to succeed, not just manage. And, honestly, I am having a hard time managing at times. If I'm really honest, all that pressure is from my own big brain--I haven't figured out how to filter all the information and I'm trying to do everything. I've got to let go.
I love my new daughter, don't get me wrong, but there are moments when I wonder when and if it will be worth it. She herself is the grace of the moment, the free gift from God, and yet the trouble associated with taking care of an infant seems insurmountable.
I do what I can. We all do what we can. When we can do more, we do. When we can only do less, we do that.
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.