The other day was tough and it was one of those days where I just felt like the worst mother in the world.
We went to our first session at our local playgroup with a bunch of other mums and their sweet babies from our antenatal group. We all get along really well and having this support system is truly amazing. Nothing else beats it, but that’s a whole other blog post of appreciation for another day.
I’ve been very slowly building up my confidence with going out with our baby. It’s quite a scary thing to do if you’ve never had a baby before. I set little challenges for myself and with each one my confidence grows slightly. Going to the supermarket, visiting a friend, going to a cafe – they all become such big things when you are still kind of half terrified of not being a good enough parent and have no clue what you’re doing most of the time.
We got in the car and she slept the whole way, right up until we stepped through the door. Suddenly she started crying and then very quickly progressed to screeching quite loudly. Slowly we have come to notice that she is quite a vocal/loud baby. Anyway, by this stage I was holding her and walking with her and trying to comfort her but she wasn’t really having a bar of it. This went on for most of the session. She would get really unsettled and upset and then quieten down for maybe 20 minutes, and then the cycle would repeat. I kept stepping outside with her because she was so loud and I just felt so useless.
Everyone else there seemed so … capable. And I know everyone has their challenges and that this doubt is all part of being a new parent but it’s so hard not to compare your journey to those around you. Eventually I decided to try and feed her even though I could tell she wasn’t really hungry but I thought it might settle her. I handed her over to one of the facilitators for a few minutes so that I could prepare a bottle and she really quickly settled with them and fell asleep. Although I am so thankful for their help, that part of the situation made me feel even more useless and bad at being a parent. That I was so bad at comforting my own child but that someone else could do it with no trouble. I looked around and watched all the other mums with their babies and they all looked so content. Relaxed. Knowing what they are doing. Some of the babies fussed a little bit but nothing major, nothing loud, nothing that I felt even compared.
I know that I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and that every parent has their own challenges, but in the moment it’s hard. You look around with comparison at the forefront and it is truly so weakening. It steals all of the things that you do right and all of the little wins away from you, leaving you with just a whole heap of doubt instead.
So that was our Wednesday. At first I was ready to never ever go back to playgroup, but now I know that we have to. Simply because it was hard and because we did it anyway.
Writing about this was hard too, but I want to share what’s real on here. It’s kind of freeing in a way. And if you have read this far through my rambles – thank-you for sticking around.
Our little mantra of lately has been “today was tough but we are tougher.” And you know what? It can be true for you too.
Lots of love,