The Emotional Journey Of Being A New Mum

I don’t know what it is but I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not the fun butterflies, the nervous ones. I feel somehow overwhelmed. Being a new mum has been a very emotional journey so far. I wrote about being “the perfect mum” a little while ago and really, I am not trying to be  perfect. But I want to be the best I can be for my daughter.  I feel that I didn’t give the best start to my daughter for these two particular reasons and it saddens me a lot.

  • Sixtine was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to quickly care for her, which didn’t allow us to have one on one time. She wasn’t put on my chest, still covered in blood and whatever it is called. They gave her to me all clean and wrapped in a blanket. Although I know it was what was best for her, it makes me sad that we didn’t experience that moment.
  • I didn’t breastfeed as long as I wish would have. It simply didn’t work for us. I was in extreme pain and had to pump for a couple days while my breasts would “recover”. In that short amount of time, the baby didn’t want to take the breasts again when it was offered to her. I felt somehow relieved because it was a very painful situation. I still remember crying a little before she was due to eat as I knew how excruciating the experience would be. I feel really bad about the fact that my baby didn’t get breast milk as long as she deserved. It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that she was now formula-fed and I am still not completely over it today. Some people’s comments have made it worse.

As for parenting style, I feel somewhat lost between what is generally done, generally told to do, and what I want to do. Between breastfeeding vs formula feeding, spoon-feeding vs baby-led weaning, cloth diapering vs disposables attachment parenting vs Montessori (although they share some values, they have differences ie. babywearing), pacifier, thumb sucking vs none, green baby vs regular products and so on, I find it hard to find my place. I take bits and pieces of whatever I feel comfortable doing but I sometime feel guilty for doing something because I read/hear it is not a good thing to do or no one I know does it this way. When really, I don’t see where’s the harm in doing it.

Let’s try to sum this up: I formula-feed my baby with love, she uses a pacifier but only at bed time and naps, I want to start baby-led weaning but I don’t see where is the harm in baby cereal, she has been sleeping in her own room since she was two months of age, but I enjoy a little morning sleep-in nap with my baby, we cloth diaper but I don’t mind using disposables on the go, we mainly use green products for her but I am a big L’oreal make-up fan…so what does that make me?

There is something strikely different between French parenting and English-speaking countries parenting. I can feel the difference, and I think this is where I am confused. I was raised in a French environment, stern but fair. Whatever this lady talked about in her Bringing Up Bebe is probably true to life, although I have yet to read it but the excerpts I read were pretty convincing. I am not saying that raising baby the French way is best but this is the only way I know. I am well-aware of the differences ( I was a nanny in London, UK, and I have been living in Canada for about 18 months), I find that English-speaking parents are more focused on their children, everything seems to revolve around them, whereas French parents aren’t as children-focused and the list is long but in the end, we just raise our kids with a main ingredient: love.

If you are a second, third-time (or more) mum, you probably must be thinking that I am going to have to learn to not care about what people think, and that I will get more confident with time. It is probably true – I just know that right this second, I am a very emotional first-timer trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble for I don’t have the butterflies anymore…



  1. Well, I am not a mommy yet – two weeks until he arrives but I think about al lof these things. I want to find a balance between something reflecting the American and French parenting styles.

    I think that you should not be too hard on yourself about the decisions you have made and the circumstances that have arisen as you have raised your daughter. You obviously have her best intentions in mind and sometimes circumstances require that you deviate from what is deemed as “right” or the “best methods”. Was is right is what is right for you and your daughter. Sometimes breastfeeding just does not work out for one or both of you and that is ok. Many, many women are unable to breastfeed and their children turn out just fine. Listen to your heart, listen to your baby and don’t worry too much about what other people say is right.

  2. I was born in a similar situation, I arrived premature with my cord wrapped around my neck and had to be wisked away after delivery, my poor mum who was just 18 at the time was terrified that not being able to have that skin on skin moment would mean we wouldn’t bond. She was also, partly due to her young age, too scared to breastfeed. She still feels guilty about this now, even though 25 years later I am perfectly healthy and very close to her. So try not to beat yourself up about not breastfeeding as your other posts show your little girl is developing just as strongly as others who were breastfed more.

    I don’t have children yet so I’m not really in a position to comment on ways to raise them, but I think its obvious that your baby is happy, healthy and well loved and thats what matters!

    • Thank you for sharing your own experience as a baby/grown up. I am glad to see that it didn’t affect your relationship with your baby. When I stopped breastfeeding, I had tears anytime I would hear or see anything related to it. I thought: my baby must be thinking “why do my friends get special milk and I don’t?” and it made me really sad. I am less sensitive about it now but I have my moments…

  3. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job! You underestimate yourself, remember we can’t be perfect mothers all the time and we can’t get it right all the time, only you know what’s best for your baby as you are the expert on your baby! Have faith and confidence that you ate doing it right because it spins like to me you are!

    X x x

  4. As a parent, all you can do is your best. Do this with love and that’s all anyone (including your baby) will ever ask of you. You’re doing great x

  5. I’m no expert, but after eight months of being a mum I’ve learnt that whatever works best for you and the baby is the thing to do. in Malta everyone tells me not to let food decrease her milk intake and here in England the HV just told me to increase her food and decrease her milk! I feel torn in half at times but I try not to let it put me down. I do panic at times because I hear different views of things and I’m not sure what is the right thing to do. So I go with my instincts and do my best. And after eight months, we’re both doing good. Don’t worry – maternal instincts are on your side x

  6. Reading this reminds me of how confused I was for the first year or so. “Am I doing the right thing?” was constantly whizzing around my head. And I don’t even have cross-cultural issues!
    Sorry, but I don’t think that this will go away any time soon. You will become more comfortable with your choices and more confident as you go along. You may reverse some choices, strengthen others and face critics whichever way you turn. This seems to be the normal course of things.
    But, like your earlier post, it will get better. I promise.
    Oh, and Mother-Guilt, most of us have something we wish had happened differently. Talking about it is encouraged here in NZ. And it can help to get out all those disappointments and unrealized expectations. I know first hand on that. 🙂

  7. Speaking from a person who sees you and Sixtine, the most important thing is what you are already doing – giving her all the love in the world, and you are doing better than most! There is also no right or wrong – it is completely what works for you. Anyone who has a differing opinion – its just that – different from yours. Ignore negative people and their comments, have faith that you are doing a great job and Sixtine is a VERY happy baby, that is very evident! You are amazing and are doing a fabulous job.

  8. Just by putting yourself ‘out there’ and sharing your experiences with other new parents and parents to be, you are providing others with comfort knowing that this is no easy task! My two pregnancies were similar but the births and the choices made after each were quite different. You obviously want to give your daughter, Sixtine the very best and she will surely love you unconditionally no matter what choices were made. Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can be foiled by circumstance, and yet, things still turn out all right in the end…and may even be a blessing!

    Both my pregnancies and births and the beautiful children that resulted were so different…the choices I made for each were also different and based on experience but also on necessity and circumstance. There are so many variations to parenting and looking back, you honestly cannot go wrong to follow what you feel in your heart is right at that moment. You may view things a little differently later, but the choices you make now are made now. Own them and people will slowly realize who they are dealing with! Even if they disagree, most people can respect you for having the courage to parent in the style that suits you and your family best. The worst part I found was feeling vulnerable and unsure in front of others and then second-guessing myself and wondering if I was in fact doing something terribly wrong. Even now, five years later, those little feelings sometimes creep back up although I am not quite as anxious as before, and am more willing to take a chance on my instincts. You are a brave and wonderful mother. The four months after birth are so intense. You’ve definitely weathered one of the most powerful life experiences and it will make you become the woman you never dreamed you could be! All the best!!

    • Sharing with others (especially with people who don’t know me) has been very helpful.
      I think it is one of the main reason why I decided to start a blog. I needed to express myself, and didn’t want to be judge by people I knew. Not that the people I love would judge me but I feel more comfortable doing it “somewhat” anonymously. It is been doing me a lot of good. And all of you other mothers around the world are making the challenge easier. So thank you for sharing with me and encouraging me !

  9. I am not a mom yet, and not even close to being one. But, as a loving godmom I will still leave a comment.

    I think the best way to raise a child is your instinct. It tells you how to pick bits and pieces from what you see or hear and what you want. This mix is the best because it is YOURS.

    I was in charge of being with my godson for 5 days (24/7) when he was only 9 months old. The parents had to go abroad for work, so I had to deal with it all by myself. I do know it is nothing compared to being a mom. But I did feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes. He was very cute but I wasn’t used to waking up at night and so early in the morning. He was staying in my flat which I had to babyproof before his arrival, and I felt like I should throw out and lock up every single thing. But it worked out in the end, he was a bundle of joy and smile ! Only one day, he decided not to eat. As an unexperienced mom-not-yet-to-be, I was literally panicking. So after the second meal he refused, I ran to the doctor’s. The doctor smiled at me and said : the baby is happy, acting like always (smiling, playing, etc.) everything is fine, maybe he is just not hungry and he won’t starve himself. He then looked at the baby and said “well little boy, it is ok if you’re not that hungry, you’ll eat at the next meal. Try not to freak out your poor godmom”. Baby Samuel laughed his head off hearing that, and he did eat normally after. It is just a funny story that I love to tell. There is no hidden message. But this helped me try to imagine how it is like to be a parent (even if the experience was very short).

    And one last thing. Event though I haven’t had the honour of meeting Sixtine yet, I see one thing. She looks peaceful on every single picture. I know she must have moment’s when she is a bit upset, but I can see on her face that she is a happy, healthy baby (and how cute!!! I can’t have enough of her pictures, she is gorgeous).

    I do have the honour of knowing her mom. I know that she is a thoughtful woman, who does everything to be on top all the time. And yes, sometimes it is hard to be a mom, and even though you love her more than anything, you will always worry about everything she does, will do, has to do or should have done. And that you feel tired, that some days you would like to think only about yourself for 5 minutes…. That doesn’t make you a bad person. Being a mom doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to be : tired, in a bad mood, etc.

    To me, you are the mom I hope I can become someday. Loving, caring, thoughtful and absolutely fond of her baby.

    Love from Paris, I can’t wait to meet Jason and Sixtine and to see you again!

  10. You are a wonderful mother and Sixtine is so lucky to have you. The most important thing is love and there is lots of that. I suffered from anxiety during my pregnancy and am still suffering from it now. The butterflies are flying around like crazy as I type this! It’s normal for us first time mums to second guess EVERYTHING. But at the end of the day, all we can do it fall on our mummy instinct and lean on our fellow mum friends! ; )

  11. My only regrets are things I did or didn’t do because of what other said was the right thing to do. As a new mum, I respected the advice of friends with children and babies already. Mainstream people. After a while I learned to just follow my mother’s instinct and not ever do what didn’t feel right to me, and basically do the opposite of the mainstream crowd! Follow your mother’s instinct and you’ll both be happy!

  12. Your testimony is really overwhelming, baby. I can guess how you feel but really I’m certain Sissi is glad to have a mother like you.


  1. […] @sixtineatlt – The Emotional Journey of Being a New Mum […]

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