Six months. As I mark this important time in Miss B’s life, I feel compelled to share my story about my journey as a mom with four children who have reached various milestones – all in different ways.
Any mother will tell you there can be an anxiety about how your baby is growing and developing. Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? Are they meeting their goals on the infant percentile chart? Isn’t she supposed to be rolling by now? Why isn’t he crawling?
Moms have so much on their plate – from caring for their babies, families, husbands and on top of that, there is an internal voice that questions so much – about how good of a job we are doing.
I’m here to tell you – there is no perfect way to raise your child.
With my firstborn, Aaron, I was 24 and had all the time in the world. I would be down on my hands and knees beside him – just to see the world from my son’s perspective. At the time, I was on maternity leave from a corporate job and wanted to make every second count. I signed up for book readings, salsa baby, swimming lessons, music classes, you name it.
I was conscious of every milestone. Without other children to care for, or worry about, I focused solely on him and often stressed myself out thinking about checking all the boxes of his development.
I often wondered – was my baby a little bit behind? At three months, I would lay on the floor with him and try to teach him how to roll. At six months, I would crawl around our living room floor – teaching him how to put one knee in front of the other. There was an intense anxiety inside me about him reaching his milestones – even though he reached them all within the expected time frame.
Being part of mommy groups can be a wonderful thing – but it can also be a source of internal strife. Conversations with other moms would always start with “What’s new?” and turn into a roundtable discussion about the latest developmental milestones that their babies had reached. I could tell some moms were uncomfortable because I knew at times I was. There was so much comparison – and I felt I had to be at the forefront of it all.
By the time I had my second and third children, I was running my photography business on a full-time basis – and didn’t have a maternity leave. That changed things significantly. I was balancing motherhood with the demands of scheduling client sessions, and I didn’t really have the time to worry.
With my daughter Eliana, I didn’t participate as much in baby mom groups. She was an incredibly easy going baby – she took her time learning to stand and was walking at 16 months. I didn’t have anyone to compare other than her own brother – so I was naturally more relaxed.
With my third child, Ethan, I had to tap into my own intuition a little more. At first, I was so laid back that I didn’t realize he was behind on achieving his milestones. At his one year appointment, his pediatrician recommended physiotherapy support to strengthen his legs – as he hadn’t yet mastered standing. After this intervention, he finally took his first steps at 20 months.
The one thing I’ve learned through all of this is not to compare your baby to other babies – not even their siblings. Had Ethan been my first baby I would be so anxious, but luckily, with the guidance of his doctor and my own circle of support we got through it.
Back to Miss B. She’s been “talking” since she was two months old and is one of the most communicative babies I’ve ever been around. She’s very vocal and loves sustaining eye contact. She seems to understand so much already, which is absolutely incredible. From a physical standpoint, at almost six months she has yet to roll over, but loves to stand, which is much earlier than all of my kids. She loves to sit with support and has great neck control.
By not stressing about these milestones – essentially speeding up time and focusing on what she doesn’t do – I’m able to enjoy and focus on what Miss B does do. And, as a photographer I have so much fun capturing all of these moments.
Each child is so different. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a mother. At the end of the day, your baby will meet their milestones – on their own time. It doesn’t mean they won’t meet that specific milestone in a week. And then… they will be practicing over and over, and over and over. As a mom you know your child best – and if you do have a concern don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor – that’s what they’re there for.