It’s day 23. Baby and I are slowly finding our groove and I’m cherishing every second. He’s growing, changing so fast! Everyone warned me how quickly time would fly, but I didn’t take it seriously. I should have! The changes, so subtle each time I look back that I’d rather not look away; seconds are there to be missed.
When pregnant, I made the decision to follow my instincts with baby, to practise baby-led parenting; let him show me the way. I don’t want to feed to schedule, don’t want to leave him to cry. Since the birth of mankind, babies have been born and survived; as a race we’ve (seemingly) thrived. There were no textbooks. You relied on instinct. Over time this evolved, cultures were born and with them, varying styles of parenting. These styles gradually became expectations placed upon the parents, and a right and wrong way of parenting was born. As a new Mum – the British Mum of a Turkish babe – bringing him up in a culture not my own brings challenges, raises contentions, but also gives me a unique opportunity to do it my way.
We no longer live in a world shut off from the rest. What happens in China is as relevant to my Turkish abode as the price of vegetables in the bazaar; the gap has closed. Whatever stance we take on whatever issue we’re discussing, it’s possible to always find support and opposition. Scan back a month or two to Tiger Mom – her honest account of life as a disciplinarian mother tore the parenting (and academic) world in two. Or three. Or four. But that’s the point. That’s the beauty of this world that’s closed the gap. We can explore each others cultures and practises from the freedom of our homes, and adopt or reject the habits that we see. I truly have no idea what ‘type’ of Mum I’ll be, and I certainly don’t follow a parenting guide, but there are certain topics I’m certain on. Certain practises I believe are best for my baby. And as I live with a foot in the West with a home firmly in the East, it’s inevitable that these practises will ruffle feathers on one side or the other. Whatever we choose for our son now, however we ‘close the gap’ between East and West that flows through our home, I’d like to think we’ll be given the respect to make our choices unquestioned.
My life now is baby-led and this makes me free to be the Mum he needs me to be. I’m not following a book, not out to please or confront, to challenge or conform. As I’ve typed this MK’s slept on my chest, his ring-sling carrier nestling him in. He’ll wake soon; smiling. This works for us because it works for him and it seems to me that in a world with everything at your fingertips, with resources to support or oppose whatever path you take, there has never been a better time to go with your gut. Or baby’s, or both.