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On Becoming a Mother

As an expectant mother I have begun to think about the type of parent I want to be and the type of parent I will become. I reflect on the way I was raised; sifting through the techniques my own parents used, keeping the things I liked and rejecting the one’s I don’t want to repeat. I also look for inspiration around me, in my family and friends. I find myself saying, “I’ll never do that” or “What a great idea, I need to remember that one”.  As a psychologist who specializes in infant mental health, I have great resources and knowledge to reflect on as well. I gravitate towards the books and research that are more reflective; ones that provide a way of understanding you’re infant, their development, and their needs. I try and stay away from prescriptive advice, telling me what I should and should not do which does not fit my belief that every infant is different and one size does not fit all. So what type of mother do I want be? I want to be reflective, attuned, responsive, patient, and thoughtful. I hope to empathize when my baby is distressed and hold those negative emotions for them. I want to teach my child how to tolerate stress and disappointment. I want to validate their experience and provide them with support. I want to play with my child every opportunity I have and foster their creativity. However, the reality of what will happen when my baby is born and when I actually have to put my ideals in practice remains an unknown. I am not disillusioned and I know that my ideals will at times fall short. I can have many hopes for the parent I will be, but the balance comes in the acceptance that I will not be the perfect parent. If I can hold this in mind and seek support when needed, I can tap into my capacities and be a wonderful mother.

Dr. Erica Samson-Pepose