This was excerpted from the book, An Easier Childbirth: A Mother's Guide for Birthing Normally, by Gayle Peterson.
Finding your own way as a mother means that you must take your needs as well as your baby's into account. Lyn DelliQuadri, M.S.W., and Kati Breckenridge, Ph.D., in their book The New Mother Care recommend that women develop an attitude of self-care in the early stages of mothering. It is difficult, if not impossible, to attend to the needs of your child if you do not take care of your own. Good mothering is not perfect mothering. Achieving a balance of the needs of all family members is the key to good-enough mothering, a concept developed by D.W. Winnicott- a British psychoanalyst and pediatrician who studied the influence of mothering on child development. DelliQuadri and Breckenridge sum up Winnicott's philosophy:
The concept of good-enough mothering is a practical replacement for the idealized standards of the mother myths and the contradictory theories of the experimental psychologists, because it tells us that the activities of mothering can be performed in many different ways and still provide basic, "good enough" care.
Both the nurturing and the wounds you received as a child have prepared you for the challenges of raising your child in your own way. During pregnancy and after, you will be discovering and defining your own approach to mothering. There is no magic formula. The most you can achieve is a balance between your needs and the needs of your child and other family members. Rest assured that your child does not expect you to be perfect. Your child shares in your growth and fulfillment. As you consider what is best for your child, keep yourself in mind. Your child will benefit from your happiness in life.