South Africa’s very own baby whisperer and founder of the Baby Sense company, Meg Faure, talks to MYHRU about her brand new book and why we should embrace “imperfect parenting”.
Q: You must have saved many lives (and marriages! 🙂 ) with your books on Baby Sense. What compelled you to write these wonderful guides?
I do hope that the books have made parenting and life with little ones easier. My husband was the one who encouraged me to write Baby Sense. In the early days of our son James’ life, I interpreted a lot of his signals for Philip. It made parenting our firstborn so much easier that one day Philip told me that I had to write down what I knew as a therapist to make life easier for other moms. And that’s when I approached Ann Richardson to write Baby Sense with me.
Q: How did motherhood change you as a person?
It changed me completely. I had never been more anxious and less certain about anything in my life. Even with baby number 3 I felt out of my depth at times. Motherhood is a great leveler. I have so much empathy with new moms. Being a mom also makes you flexible. You can’t be rigid with a baby. It also made gave me meaning outside of myself. Each day I think about my kids – not an hour goes by when I am not considering what they need from me that day. You can’t be selfish when you are a mom…
Q: According to your observations, how has upbringing changed over the last 3 generations?
I think we understand so much more about the brilliance and potential within the human brain. We also have access to knowledge about how fragile the zero-to-three period is. This knowledge is a mixed blessing – a gift but it also creates anxiety. On the one hand, knowing about the importance of play and relationships means that we can parent more consciously. But it also means that we have more pressure to not mess our children up and so we second-guess ourselves more. Previous generations didn’t try to do it all perfectly. The truth is that ‘Perfect Parenting’ is not good for us as parents or for our little ones.
Q: As a woman, what does the concept of beauty mean to you?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by women who I think are truly beautiful. My children’s grandmothers are beautiful in their latter years – they bear the marks of loving lives well lived and much loved – their hands and bodies reflect loving mothers who have cared for families over years – that is beautiful. My teenage daughter carries herself with confidence and it makes her beautiful. When a woman is confident and happy in her skin, she is beautiful.
Q: A lot of new mums lose confidence in themselves after birth. What can you say to them to help them remember they are beautiful?
Getting used to a new body is never easy – saggy breasts, loose skin and stretch marks are the marks of motherhood. I guess I would say to look at yourself daily in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. I say this to my daughters too. I think undermining our own beauty can be endemic in women.
Q: The media seem to pressure women to bounce back from pregnancy and be “bikini ready” as soon as possible. What is your take on that?
I think the media has a lot to account for – perfection whether as a mother, career woman or in your looks is never attainable. Consistently trying to attain perfection results in insecurity, which is what actually undermines beauty. Love your body and make sure it is healthy. That is the priority.
Q: Nowadays, more and more babies and children develop conditions, such as colic, allergies, and often have low immunity. Can nutritious diet prevent it to some degree?
Nutrition is vitally important. A woman needs a healthy diet in pregnancy and breastfeeding to support her baby’s growth and health. The diet our babies are weaned onto is also critical. Actually, I have just released my new book Weaning Sense. The strapline of the book is: Real Food made with Love – this is the crux of good nutrition – food must look like it does in nature. Processed baby cereals and jarred baby food is far from what nature intended. The book will help moms prepare nutritious food easily.
Q: Sometimes we forget that fathers feel just as excited and anxious as us. What advice can you give the gents?
I cannot stress enough how vital their role is. A real man is tender and loving to his wife. He contains her emotions when it’s all too much. He shows his son how to treat a woman. He loves his daughter in a way creates confidence. The only thing I say to dad is to know that their role as father is critical.
Q: What would you like to say to anyone venturing into motherhood for the first time?
Be kind to yourself. You are not perfect. In parenting your child, you are supposed to fail sometimes and when you do, say sorry and repair the disruption. Your child will learn so much more about life in that moment. And you will be a happier parent.