No maternal instinct: Am I a bad mum?
The perfect mother: does the "perfect mother" exist?
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The perfect mother: does the "perfect mother" exist?

Too much advice
Are you too protective, or too distant? Too strict or too soft? What's your opinion on bed-sharing, breastfeeding, dummies..? It seems like there's always something to criticize mothers for! You can't please everyone, but you can find what's right for you.

Being the perfect mum
Young mums often feel guilty for not being the mother they're expected to be, but a lot of this simply comes down to lack of experience and unrealistic expectations. It is possible to try too hard: many first-time mums push themselves past their limits, and end up completely drained.

"Our hormone levels surge drastically after the birth, plus the physical marathon straight into broken sleep will leave mums feeling more tired than ever," Reith explains. "As well as exhaustion, we can feel weepy, irritable, overwhelmed, and really lack confidence."

This can even lead to negative feelings toward your newborn - but don't panic; it's a natural reaction. The important thing is to talk about your feelings before they get too much.

The ideal mother doesn't exist
The idea of the "perfect mother" is a fantasy, and imagining that such a thing exists can just make you feel worse. "The hardest thing for parents to do is accept their own limits," says Françoise Molénat, a child psychiatrist.

In fact, a baby will shape itself through its parents' "failings" - that's how it learns to gain independence. All mums make mistakes, and that's not a bad thing!

Victoria Turk
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