Being new to something is always overwhelming. So imagine my nerves as I prepared to take my first infant massage class.
Yes I was excited – there would be two sets of twins! – but I also knew I needed to keep my nerves in check. After all, the parents in the room were facing the overwhelming yet beautiful experience of welcoming a new baby into their lives. As I remembered my own experience of becoming a mum, I felt that my nerves seemed almost trivial in comparison.
I was focused on giving these parents the best experience I could. My mantra was: “Baby is teacher, parent is expert and I am just a facilitator.” It felt like the best piece of advice my training had given me.
Among the number of seemingly relaxed mums in the group, there was one couple with twin boys who were clearly feeling a little overwhelmed by their new family dynamics.
From the outset I reminded the parents that babies lead our class and that crying is completely okay. Despite this, the overwhelmed mum spent most of her time in the adjoining room trying to settle one of her sons and trying not to succumb to crying herself. Her husband remained in class, studiously taking in everything he could to show her later. They made a beautiful team.
We all sat chatting for some time at the end of that first class. A second-time mum was very confident in her attachment parenting style and had clearly found where she needed to be. Her words were invaluable to the other mums and I comfortably sat back into my role as a facilitator.
That day there was support and energy in the room as the parents fell into deep conversation without any fear of judgement.
They talked about:
Trusting in instinct
Letting go of the need to control every situation
Rolling with the flow of each day
Why outside parenting instruction isn’t always right for you
Week two came and our overwhelmed mum from the week before sat through the whole class. There was much less crying from her bub and much less anxiety coming from her. Something had clicked.
As the weeks rolled by, we all observed a different mother walking into the room. She was a mother who had turned a corner – relaxed and emitting a confidence that was broken in that first week. Her smile was radiant, her gratitude genuine.
“Sharon was brilliant in helping us to understand our babies as new parents. She has offered advice and support in a non-intrusive manner. We will use the techniques she has taught us with our boys regularly.”
In this first five-week experience, I witnessed a lot of small successes among the families, but the transformation of this one particular mum had me inspired. I came away from each class positively energised. I knew with conviction that I had found that ‘thing’ I had been waiting for. This was not just a job to me – it was a passion and it called to me.
Some months later, I ran into the family member that had referred this family to me. She was so very grateful for the love that was shown to them during this difficult time. I was told that the mum still practised massage on her boys, although a little less often now that they were about to celebrate their first birthday and had more ‘important’ missions to conquer. To this day, she still marvels at how much the course helped this new mum transition into motherhood.
“We learnt to be more flexible. Babies need love and understanding – they can’t be pinned down to a routine. We learnt how to read our babies’ body language and how to be more relaxed when frustrated.”
She took in everything from the program and shared her newfound wisdom with other parents she met. I could not have asked for better feedback as I struggled with the more tedious side of running my business.
Her story gave me the confidence boost I needed to remind me that I have something of great value to share, and I was not going to let the trickier side of things hold me back. To this day I often think of that mum and her strength as a parent. It gives me the strength I need to grow my infant massage practice and share this gift with as many families as I can.