If you're a mom, chances are pretty good that you have been in situations where the competency of your motherhood has been challenged by friends, in-laws, parents, other family members or complete strangers. If you're anything like most people, you probably went with the flow to avoid any confrontation. When it comes to your baby's happiness, health, and well-being, however, is going with the flow such a good idea?
You know your baby. You grew them, birthed them, and have been there by their side since day 1. You've learned their cues, their cries, their faces and gestures, and even what some sounds they say mean. You're biologically linked (in most cases) and your baby is basically an independent part of your body. You're equipped with maternal instincts to know in your heart what your baby needs. You tend to them and you know them better than anyone else in the world. So, when something or someone threatens your baby, whether it be their health or their happiness, what do you do?
A lot of times, we as mothers are compared to mother bears because mother bears are notorious for protecting their young no matter the cost. We say that we would give our last breaths for these little creatures, yet when something as fruitless as conflict with another person over what is best for our baby arises, we often times struggle mentally on what to do (give in or fight back).
Here is a hypothetical example of what we mean. Many of you may have experienced this exact situation, but let's say you just had your baby. You're in the hospital and some family friends want to come to see you and your newborn. Their two children have been violently ill with influenza, yet the parents say they feel fine and will get a sitter for the kids (even though they've been caring for these children and living in the same germ infested house). Do you let them visit your baby or ask them to wait until the sickness is gone completely, risking upsetting them? (You can read about how to help protect your newborn from germs here).
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When it comes to your baby, you can't back down on your gut instincts. If something is telling you that a person or a situation is not safe for your baby or will impact their happiness substantially, it is your responsibility as their mother to protect them. They're too little to stand up for themselves. That's why they need you. They need you to be strong and say "no, that isn't okay to say/do to my baby" or "no, I'm sorry but this is what I know is best for my baby". Most importantly, you should never feel guilty for doing what you feel is best for your child. If you are pressured into a situation involving your baby that is leaving you feeling unsure and uneasy about their safety and/or happiness, those are your instincts telling you that something is wrong and your baby needs you to fix it. No matter the cost, Mama Bear.