The old proverb goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” But in reality, sometimes all it takes is the advice of a trusted doctor or the wisdom of a fellow mother to get through the challenges of welcoming a first baby.
Asked what she wished she would have known as a new mother, Dr. Catherine Holt, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Frisco, knows her answer immediately.
“Give yourself some grace—actually, give yourself a lot of grace! When you have your first child, the expectations from everyone (or what seems like everyone) is that mothering comes naturally. That there is no learning curve. Mothering is hard, and just like almost everything in the world, it has to be learned.”
As you are learning, you won’t do everything perfectly, and that’s ok. “You have to give yourself some grace as you are learning one of the most important roles of your life,” Dr. Holt continues. It’s easy to question yourself and wonder if you are doing enough.
“I have realized that my expectations of myself are so much more than my children’s expectations of me,” says Dr. Holt. “They only want my love–and that is the easiest thing I have ever done.”
Dr. Malathi Ellis, OB/GYN on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Centennial, looks back on her own experience and urges new mothers to take care of themselves.
“I wish I had taken the time to eat well, exercise, sleep more and generally focus on self-care,” Dr. Ellis says. “These things were sacrificed at the price for what I thought was being the perfect mother, which doesn’t exist. Being the best mother you can be involves taking care of yourself also.
Dr. Ellis also remembers being worried about spending time away from her babies. “However,” she says, “I think being a working mom has made my children appreciate all that women can accomplish, and has also made them more self-reliant since I am not there to do every little thing for them.”
Dr. Carol Brown-Elliott, Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – McKinney, faced the same fear as she prepared to return to work.
“I was concerned about how I would manage taking care of my baby and working as a busy physician,” Dr. Brown-Elliot recalls. “I was concerned about how and when I would be able to be a wife, grocery-shop, cook, do laundry, wash my hair, etc. A supportive husband who was so in love with our baby and very hands on with all aspects of his care made the transition smooth.”
Ultimately, even after consulting the best and most supportive of resources, the only person who can decide the best course of parenting is the parent.
“Family, friends, and even health care professionals all have opinions about how to best care for a baby,” Dr. Brown-Elliot says. “I realized that, since I carried my baby around inside of me, he knew me and I knew him. I learned to trust and to follow my instincts to make sure he was safe, comfortable and happy.”
Baylor Scott & White offers three labor and delivery centers in Collin County: McKinney, Centennial and Frisco. For more information on these centers and their services, please visit BSWHealth.com.YourMoment.