Maternal Instincts Aren’t A Given

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I’d like to start off by assuring you that my baby is alive and well. She’s a healthy, happy, and mischievous bundle of joy at 14 months old. Why the disclaimer? Because I was a slow starter! Those so-called maternal instincts didn’t appear, poof, by magic as soon as I had Valentina in my arms. Truth be told, I was scared of the newborn!

efore my maternal instincts started kicking in, there were feelings of frustration, exhaustion and terror. “I’m responsible for a new human being, can I do this? What have I gotten myself into? What if I screw up?” Questions that plagued me during those first few months, and that still creep in, as I’m sure they’ll keep doing for as long as I live.Before my maternal instincts started kicking in, there were feelings of frustration, exhaustion and terror. “I’m responsible for a new human being, can I do this? What have I gotten myself into? What if I screw up?” Questions that plagued me during those first few months, and that still creep in, as I’m sure they’ll keep doing for as long as I live.

After making peace with the fact that my kid didn’t come with a Return Policy, and that no matter how long you postpone having a baby, you’ll never be ready, it was time to take the bull by the horns and become Super Mom. Except, there’s no such thing. That would imply that you’ll never be tired, cranky, irritable, depressed, that you need help from no one, and that your baby won’t eat a piece of paper towel (true story, please don’t judge me…). We’re moms, but we’re human.

At first, I relied on my husband for everything. He’d been through the whole first-time parent thing. He has kids from his previous marriage, so he coached me on how to hold her, feed her, burp her, and bathe her. I felt like a complete moron. “How is it possible that I second guess myself on the smallest things?” was a question that circled around in my mind. “This diaper looks wrong. Oh, it’s backwards”. Making matters worse was when my baby-daddy could stop the crying, our daughter’s not mine, when I couldn’t. Am I not the momma?!

But, as it tends to happen, you live and learn. Every new experience prepared me for the next, and I’m learning to be a mom, poop by poop, day by day.

Don’t buy into the whole you-are-the-momma-you-will-just-know-what-to-do bit. You probably won’t. And that’s okay. There’s no manual, ladies. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and/or help.

Maternal instincts aren’t a given, you develop them during that wonderful journey called motherhood. Isn’t that greeeat?!

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Worked as a Journalist for seven years for the news radio station, Radio Isla 1320 AM, in Puerto Rico. Was Web Producer for a year for the television station, Wapa TV, specifically for "Noticentro Fin de Semana" (the weekend news program). Now blogging and working as Social Media Editor for Puerto Rico's House of Representatives. Mommy, wife, daughter and sister just trying to figure things out and go with the flow. Bring it on!

11 COMMENTS

  1. I felt like this too – I loved my first with all my heart but I was terrified and a bad dose of Post-natal depression didn’t help – But we made it through and she is 21, so I must have done something right. My best advice for new moms is, ask for help, don’t be afraid every Mom has been through something whether it is trouble with breastfeeding, nappy rash , not sleeping – loved you post Karleen I hope new Mom’s read it 🙂

    • Thank you so much! And excuse my late reply! I still sometimes wonder if I’m doing it right, but my baby is happy and healthy, so I guess I am 😀

  2. I hear you and my daughter has over the last two years experienced the same as you. She is a career lady and is now back working full time. My daughter absolutely adores her son but she had rarely held a baby before he was born. Like you most people said how naturally it all happens – which isn’t the case. She started doubting herself and lost self-confidence. Being a new mum is stressful and full of sometimes unwanted advice from others. I’m sure your post will resonate with many other new mums out there. Thank you for being so honest.

  3. When I had my first set of twins I was exhausted, lonely and sleep deprived. For me, connecting with other moms made a huge difference in reducing the feelings of self doubt and isolation. Good post!

  4. Great post and this has to be said and said again…. Its not all instinct though a lot is for some. I think we sometiems forgery that babies used to be raised by parents and grandparents and other family members. Things have change a lot for many of us.

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