Four months after the birth of my first daughter, Charlee, I was diagnosed with postpartum…
Ok, mama, the biggest area of anxiety for a majority of my friends and patients is…drumroll please…milestones in development. There is SO much information on the interwebs that can be a great resource if and only if you know how to sort through the garbage to find the gems. If not, it quickly becomes overwhelming and leads to more guilt. And you don’t need any more guilt!
You don’t have time for that ish.
Dr. Google has a million sources of one size fits information when what you really need is connection with local support systems and a community of practitioners who support you and your baby. None of this motherhood gig is one size fits all, right? Right.
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed.
It’s ok to feel like you alone are the only one feeling disconnected in your partnership.
It’s ok to compare what you may already know (from previous kids or books) and what you don’t know (every baby is different).
It’s ok to ask for help and then ask again and keep asking until you get the support and care you and your baby need.
It’s ok to change your mind. To decide you don’t want help and then get help!
Which is why I’m inviting you to release your anxiety about eating, potty training, sleeping, moving, talking, any milestones that may be threatening to rain on your parade. And instead of getting drenched, let’s go with the flow.
Because right now, in the newborn phase especially when you’re maaaybe getting three hour stretches of sleep, you don’t have time or energy to be weighed down by the expectations and anxieties of getting anything done on anyone else’s timeline. This applies to meals, laundry, rolling over, and making out with your partner. Read more about that last one here.
Remember that the challenges of your own recovery make it hard to decipher your sweet little baby’s cues. After all, you just met IRL! The old saying holds true; Babies don’t come with manuals. They rely on you to translate their cries and meet those needs. It is a huge responsibility!!!
Which is why I want to encourage you to ask for help. Because you need time and space to honor your own recovery from birth, getting fractured sleep, while desperately trying to eat and hydrate adequately, and riding the hormotional waves of new parenthood. All of these factors impact our ability to think, see, and act clearly and with intention.
As a physical therapist I am highly informed when it comes to childhood milestones and motor development and that does not make me immune to the same concerns and anxieties of all moms. I’m human! One of the reasons I love our pediatrician is because at our last appointment she said to me: ”If you’re concerned then I’m concerned. If you’re not then I’m not.”
And as a physical therapist I’d like to add: “When the time comes that your concerns need my expertise, I’m here.” This is something I tell my patients and I know I benefit from hearing from my providers.
It would be great if the buck stopped here, but of course it doesn’t! This is parenthood! Of course we are aware of everything our child is or isn’t doing and how it measures up to the kids around us!!! I want to help simplify this for us so we don’t get swept up in the tidal wave of comparison.
I like to think about milestones in terms of “flow state.”
In this context, I describe flow start as being comfortable with your family’s lifestyle, your child’s personality, and their preferences in order to help you see more accurately if/when you need to reach out about and/or get support or intervention from a professional.
Which is hard AF with infants because you’re like “What personality?! They eat, sleep, poop, and pee!!!” Yes. AND as you spend more and more and more time with them, you build trust in yourself and your baby to be in tune with the trends rhythms of their hunger, attitude, and bowel movements.
A huge factor in reaching that flow state is trust.
Trust that you and your baby are working on each milestone the best way you know how.
Trust that you can be working alongside your baby, therapist, and/or specialist – not across from or against them.
Trust that your baby won’t need help forever.
Trust that you’re both learning as you go.
Trust that neither you nor your baby is broken.
And the best part of viewing milestones from a flow state? It’s fluid!
As you flow and trust and trust and flow, you’ll see that some days your baby makes huge leaps forward. Other days are for snuggles and naps and maybe revisiting previous activities. Other days the rest of your family needs attention. It’s fluid! It flows!
And you can trust that you have a blueprint, a team, support, and trust that your baby will continue to meet their milestones in their timeline with happiness and health.
A reminder before we go: While I’m a physical therapist, I’m not your physical therapist and you know your body and your child’s health better than anyone else. The information contained in this article is strictly for educational and entertainment purposes. The information is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment which can only be provided by a physician and/or approved healthcare professional. We advise you to consult with your physician before implementing any of the advice disclosed, including but not limited to, taking any medications or herbal supplements and engaging in diets and exercise regimes. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect that you or your child has a medical problem. You assume and accept complete responsibility for the use and/or non-use of the information shared or contained in this account and release us from any liability or loss that you or your children (if relevant) may incur from the use and/or non-use of the information contained herein.