I can trust my maternal instinct
Baby Extra empowered me
Anna had imagined motherhood very differently. After Rex was born, he cried a lot every day. She was focussed day and night on trying to calm him down and got exhausted. She barely took the time to take care of herself. "What can I do to help him. That was the only question I was working on", says Anna. "I tried to calm and to comfort him by holding and hugging him. I got desperate and thought I was not a good mother, what I was ashamed of. Baby Extra helped me to calm down and reconnect with my son. Now I can really enjoy my baby."
Anna is from Spain and moved to the Netherlands a few years ago for her work. There she met her partner Arnold. In 2021 they became the proud parents of their son Rex.
Extreme crying behavior
After being hospitalized because of extreme crying behavior of Rex, Anna was referred to Baby Extra. Anna was afraid that the caregiver of Baby Extra would say that she was not a good mother. But nothing could be further from the truth. Marlies Timpers from Baby Extra watched Rex with her. Marlies indicated that comforting and holding Rex and her soft voice to reassure him, mean a lot to Rex. Marlies: " We often see that small signals from parents, support a baby who cries. Anna was inclined to keep looking for a solution for the inconvenience which caused a lot of anxiety in Rex. By realizing that Rex experienced her presence as support even in moments of inexplicable crying, Anna herself became calmer. These contactmoment also deepen the attachment relationship between parent and child. This is how Marlies brought peace, because she emphasized what went well and confirmed Anna in her mother role.
Well-known themes that parents struggle with
Anna’s family lives in Spain and Arnold's family in Gelderland. They couldn't come to a maternity visit because of the Corona restrictions. Anna missed the support of her family after the birth of Rex. She did have a lot of digital contact with them but nevertheless felt very alone. She specially missed the support of her mother. "I wanted to ask her about everything. How would she deal with this? What would she do? How did my mother take care of me back then?" She discussed this with Marlies from Baby Extra. "When a mother can't comfort her baby, it's hard to trust yourself as a parent', says Marlies. "Many parents struggle with the same themes after having a baby. For example: How do I take care of my baby and who will help me with that.? How doe I geen a good relationship with my baby if i don't always recognize or understand his signals?" Missing her family and social network made it extra difficult for Anna.
Daniel Stern describes in The motherhood constellation that a (expectant) mother is mentally going through a new phase. She becomes aware of theme such as: How do I keep my baby alive? Will my baby love me and will I love her/him? How will it really be my baby? Will I be able to understand my baby? Do I feel enough support for me and my baby? Will I be able to adapt to my new role? In the relationship between the mother and her baby, the relationship of the mother with her mother is actualized.
In addition to partners, now also parents
Both parents concerns about Rex caused tension in their relationship. Marlies: "They ware looking for a new balance in their relationship. Having a child means that you are also parents together in addition to partners. Your own upbringing and experiences influence how you fill in your parent role. When these are very different, it can cause tension" Arnold's vision was shaped by his own upbringing, where rest and regularity was important. While with Anna it was much more important what she felt. That led to discussions between them about, for example, leaving Rex when he cried or getting out of bed and comforting. Anna: "All the women in my family are strong women, that is expected of you. I'm strong too, but I started to doubt myself. Marlies invited me to look at what Rex needed and be less strict with myself. I now know that ik can follow my intuition."
Film recordings as an eyeopener
Marlies made a follow-up-appointment and in the meantime kept in touch via WhatsApp. When Marlies wanted to make a video recording of the contact between her and Rex, Anna thought: "Now you are gonna show me what to do differently. I felt so bad and was afraid for a confrontation." Marlies explained that especially the baby is filmed, what he does. Marlies recalls the video: "Rex showed a lot, how he contacted you when you talked to him and how he constantly wanted to follow your face." Anna tells; " I didn't see that he was already a person, who contacted me and communicated with me in his own way. Because of all the stress I couldn't see that then." Marlies adds: "Taking care of him went well but really seeing Rex's contact signals, that was indeed still difficult at that time." Anna can now smile and enjoy again: "It's really nice to see that video again. I was hesitant to be filmed. But is was precisely by viewing and discussing the images together that I saw how Rex made contact with me and I actually picked up my mother role automatically. Baby Extra has put me back in my power, so I can now enjoy motherhood."
For privacy reasons we use fictitious names in this text