Are you formal, informal or personal?! Who knows?!

Well you will, soon!

So when I found out I was pregnant with my first rugrat, I distinctly remember having a conversation with a work colleague who was trying to convince me that babies don’t sleep through the night almost immediately and that they will, in fact, create havoc within my organised life. Call it naivety, call it sheer stupidity or just call it denial but I was *adamant* that this baby would fit around my life! (Don’t think that I can’t hear you laughing!).

Fast forward to when the rugrat was a few weeks old. I had done my research, I had read so many books and websites showing how to breastfeed. I was following *all* the rules so why wasn’t it going perfectly? Why wasn’t my baby putting weight on? I was convinced that I was doing something, everything, wrong and that all health professionals that were coming through my door thought I wasn’t trying hard enough.

Fast forward a few weeks and you would have found me at several baby clinics hounding other mothers about how they were getting on with breastfeeding/latching/weight gain. Whilst my positioning had adjusted slightly to a more comfortable one for me, I was still quite aware that it wasn’t the ‘normal’ position so was quite uncomfortable feeding in front of anyone that may have remarked upon it.

Fast forward a few months and I was comfortably feeding, albeit in an unconventional (and I’m sure any IBCLC that observed us would shudder) position. But it worked for us. When we went to baby clinics I could see the health visitor double take when she looked at us feeding right before weigh in (the stress of have they or haven’t they put on weight never really goes eh!). I always smiled sweetly back (generally with a little chubby finger in my nose/mouth/eye/ear).

That is my *journey* through the stages of motherhood!

What I have described is what’s called the maternal role attainment theory (Petiprin, A (2016)) which has four distinct stages.

The first is the anticipatory stage. This is when you’re pregnant and having unrealistic ideas/images/fantasies of how motherhood will or should be.

The second is the formal stage. This is when you’ve newly delivered and you’re all about following the rules with only one right way to do things. You’re also very sensitive to how your mothering is being viewed. You rely heavily on others advice when making decisions and are guided by your social network (mother, sister, friends etc).

The third is the informal stage. This is when you’re relaxing into motherhood and have come to the realisation that there is more than one way to skin a cat as it were! You cherry pick advice given to you and the intimidation that you once felt around ‘experts’ is loosening its hold.

The final stage is the personal. You have got this mothering lark down! (most of the time). You have come to the realisation that the best mother you can be is you and you are comfortable with that. You make decisions based on your family and mothering style. You nod politely (or not) when someone offers up advice. You may even be seen as the fountain of knowledge for your friends who are starting out on their motherhood *journey*. You could even be thinking of having another baby!! *nervously laughing*

This blog has a very amusing way of discussing the alternative motherhood stages!

This blog talks about 7 stages which is mentioned quite alot if you google motherhood stages.




Petiprin, A (2016) ‘Maternal Role Attainment theory’. [online] Available from

(Accessed 28th November 2016)


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