The build up to having a baby is both exciting and scary. You’re dreaming of the moment that you hold your baby in your arms and you know from stories heard at your NCT group or other mums that it all changes’ and ‘make the most of your freedom while it lasts’. You nervously laugh along but it’s a niggle that stays with you and one that you look back on and fully understand the reasoning behind the nervous laugh, they’re right! Your world has changed in so many beautiful ways but that niggle of ‘you’ll never get to have a poo in silence again’ haunts you and it eats away at you. ‘Say goodbye to sleep’ they scoffed while your back was almost breaking with the weight of what felt like a 100 year old baby bump hanging off your stomach and all you could think about at the time was ‘GET THIS BABY OUTTA ME!’ I mean, I wasn’t getting sleep as it was, so how much worse could it be?! Already your head is filling up with unwanted horror birth stories from the neighbours along with all the ‘make the most of it’ stories from friends, even random strangers have a crack at mortifying you with the worst bits of motherhood and all the bits that you can kiss goodbye to. It’s no wonder that Post Natal Depression PND takes hold of so many of us as the imaginary becomes a reality, you start to crumble like a flimsy Rich Tea biscuit drowning in a soup of tea bobbing along the surface struggling not to drown.
I always take on board people’s points of view and I have even found myself saying the exact same thing to expectant new mothers so, a hypocrite I am, but as I walk away those memories of first year struggles flood over me and I’m instantly filled with guilt. Why didn’t I talk about all the positives of motherhood? Why did I shower her with all the things that she’ll miss? There are so many amazing pointers to having a baby! As a society we tend to push the positives aside letting the negatives take hold thus, telling our stories of hard times to the poor woman who is about to embark on a fabulous journey rather than exciting her with the stories of first smiles, the beauty of a newborn and how amazing breastfeeding can be once you’ve pushed through and got into a rhythm.
The pressure of being a happy mother is high, those with children already (me included) maybe need to think about the way in which experiences are retold. It’s fine for a mother who already has kids, wow, we could rant all day about the rough with the smooth, it’s in our past and we’re able to laugh about it now, but to a new mother? I’m going to make sure I give her nothing but love and positivity to look forward to. Letting her know it won’t be easy is fine, wording it in a way that makes her sound like her life is over, is not so fine. There’s so much pressure and anxiety with pregnancy as it is, we don’t need any more fog to cloud our thoughts, right?