Feel terribly down after meeting with NCT mums :(

(87 Posts)
BotBotticelli Thu 23-May-13 08:37:15

Please can someone reassure me that I am not doing a terrible job as a mum??

I met up with the women from my NCT class yesterday, with all their babies too, and - as usual - I came away from the meet up feeling like an alien: stressed, anxious, upset and like I am some sort of freak cos I am not breezing through this experience of fist-time-motherhood like some kind of pro.

Honestly, they all act as though having their babies has had no affect on their lives whatsover. They talk about taking their babies with them to get their nails/hair done, are planning group outings to Lakeside and other shopping places, they talk about normal things like what they saw on telly last night, etc etc, whereas all I can think/talk about is my son, who seems like a complex puzzle which I a struggling (and failing) to solve every day.

DS1 is almost 6 months old and I am being treated for PND and anxiety, so in my more rational moments I know that my experience of motherhood is bound to be different from theirs, but it just seems so unfair at the moment. Almost half of my year's mat leave is already gone and I don't feel like I have enjoyed a single minute of it sad

Also, I think DS1 is harder work than the other babies....I know this might sound like I am making excuses for finding it so hard (DH certainly seems to think I am), but DS is just such a handful....all the other babies in the group just sit placidly on the floor, shaking a toy, or just drift off to sleep on their mums' laps....DS cannot sit unaided at all yet, and so spends his day rolling around on the floor, screaming his head off every time he rolls onto his tummy so I have to roll him back. Literally we spend who days like this. And he has never just drifted off to sleep, i have to rock him like mad when we're out and about, and he even fights it in the buggy. I could never in a million years take him to a nail salon!! he would be backbending, screaming, grumping within 5 minutes of gettign there, won't just sit in his buggy etc etc.

I just can't shake the fear this morning that I am doing something wrong to make him like this sad I try so hard to keep in entertained and stimulated, I try never to let him see/feel that I feel down, I also try just leaving him to work it out/roll over himself - ie I don't just rush to him everytime he screeches - but he just seems to need so much more help/engagement than the others.

Please can someone reassure me that this is not cos I am doing something wrong? Is it possible that some babies are just harder work than others??

Gah, sorry for long rant, head is all over the place this morning sad

glitch Thu 23-May-13 08:43:19

When I used to go to my NCT meet ups it was me with the screaming, difficult baby. It is hard to see others with theirs snoozing quietly whilst you bounce and feed your continuously.
It isn't you.
How old are the babies?

PicardyThird Thu 23-May-13 08:44:56

Yes, some babies are harder work than others. neither of mine drifted off to sleep either - they needed bf to sleep for, ooh, ages and ages. And I certainly wouldn't have taken them to get my hair cut!

Also remember that the particular environment of NCT groups and similar means that people do want to put across the impression that they're coping, together, that everything is just hunky-dory. You may not know what's going on behind closed doors. You have been extremely brave to seek help. Some of the others may well have gone home feeling just like you, but these things can be so hard to talk about.

None of us is a 'pro' at the beginning, however together others seem. Please be kind to yourself first and foremost and don't compare yourself with others. Talk to some mums you are particularly close to and trust. You sound like a wonderful, thoughtful, dedicated mother.

RubyOnRails Thu 23-May-13 08:45:18

He's probably picking up on your anxiety to some extent, I'm sure my son did. Emotionally it's an enormous challenge...I've often felt the same as you, but my friends just tell me that Im Probably the only one being honest.

glitch Thu 23-May-13 08:46:07

Sorry, just seen their age.
Definitely not down to your mothering, just some babies.are more, um, spiritedsmile

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 23-May-13 08:46:37

Of course all babies are different. Just like all children are and adults. Don't worry they are having tear your hair out moments too. Listen to them properly. I'm guessing you are in a fug and not necessarily hearing them, just looking at ur perception of them. Your time is different because of your other issues too. Rope in family friends and support. The first can be a shock, took me a year to feel at one with it. Dd1 is still an enigma, just fun now. Dd2 is rather fun so ur views do change.

MrsWolowitz Thu 23-May-13 08:49:12

You're not doing anything wrong.

All those apparently chilled out mothers are either on their second or more babies or are lying or are bragging.

At one NCT group was a woman who was always banging on about how well her DS slept, how he could do everything so much quicker than the other babies etc. Her husbabd came to one group when she was ill and it turns out that her DS was a little nightmare at sleeping and couldn't do all the things she said he could.

Some people just feel an inexplicable need to boast about crap even if its not true.

I'm sure you're doing just fine. It's really hard work and we're hear for when you need a rant!


Wishfulmakeupping Thu 23-May-13 08:49:20

I can relate to those feelings of inadequacy my dd is 4 months now and all I see or hear is my FB and Nct latest trips/days out/date nights- it makes me feel awful

ubik Thu 23-May-13 08:51:45

1. Take a deep breath and realise that what you are getting at the NCT morning is the edited highlights of motherhood, they are not going to admit the times they have sat crying while the baby screamed in cot.

2. Do you really want to spend your time getting nails done and wandering around Lakeside? What did you like doing before baby arrived?

3. Have you tried any other baby groups/activities? NCT always seemed very tense and competitive to me - I found really good friends at local baby/toddler groups, the sort if friends who you could phone and say, "I am having a bad day," and they would say " Come round."

4.Do you have time to yourself? Exercise? Read a book? Learn taxidermy?

It is hard when you have a demanding baby - I thought DD3 would be a breeze but she was the most demanding of the three, cried all the time, very clingy, would not let anyone but me and DP hold her.

Chin up, things wil get better flowers

Are you me? None of my two were easy babies - I was more relaxed with my second and she certainly didn't do the whole drifting off peacefully thing.

You need to find mums with similar experiences. Or admit that you're struggling sometimes and I bet the others might too. I found that people were very generous with the truth. Eg one of the mums in my group talked about how she read a story to her baby while she drifted off to sleep in her cot. Next time I saw her she let slip about having to rock her to sleep for ages.

Maybe meet up with one or two mums at a time as you're more likely to get an honest picture. People don't like admitting their difficulties because they think it's a reflection on them (in the same way that people with easy babies do!)

mnistooaddictive Thu 23-May-13 08:53:53

Some of them are lying as they think that otherwuse people will judge them as a bad mum. It is then notyou! I an NCT volunteer and meet hundreds of new mums. It is hell with a newborn! Do your local branch run a baby group? Go along and find some less fake friends!

my dd is always on her best behaviour at baby groups, she either sleeps or sits happily. I'm sure people think I have it easy.

then we go home and she reverts to a screaming monster grin

Wishihadabs Thu 23-May-13 09:00:19

Oh god Ds was like this till about 1. Never ever ever sat and played. I remember very well the feeling of its not fair, other Mums could sit and have coffee, not me. Similarly he hated shops (actually still does age 9). IT IS NOT YOU. I actually think having a spirited baby makes you a much more competent parent. Good luck

Wishihadabs Thu 23-May-13 09:01:35

Also meant to say took me till Ds was 18m to realise if I wasn't enjoying it we could just leave. Try it very liberating. smile

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Thu 23-May-13 09:04:12

It sounds like you are doing a brilliant job. Have you read 'What Mothers Do'? That really helped me realise how much you are achieving even when it doesn't feel significant at the time.

I think some babies are DEFINITELY trickier than others. I don't really think it's anything we've done wrong. Speaking to friends who have more than 1 DC, you might have one easy baby and feel very smug about your perfect parenting and then get blind sighted by a screamer. Even a friend with twins has one 'easy' and one more challenging twin.

My DD is now 8 months. Baby groups which would have been impossible 2 or 3 months ago are now fun. Hope it will be the same for you. I think karma owes us easy teenagers!

mummytime Thu 23-May-13 09:08:51

One golden rule to learn and remember parents lie !
Really. They fake it all the time, and in the process stress out other parents. Just wait until you hear all the Porkies about Tristrian reading Harry Potter at 5.

Next babies are different, my first was so tricky that I didn't even realise the second was a handful until someone mentioned it at Toddlers. I only even had the second because I was so stubborn that I wasn't going to have an only child (having been an only child).

Third if meet ups with the NCT group don't help, then don't go! Go and find another group where you can be honest and get support. Try toddler groups, are there any PND groups near you? Try exercise classes, go to soft play, try baby signing, baby music and so on. Until you get a group that works for you. Cut the dead wood that doesn't help out of your life.

It's only now my DS is 7 years old that I've realised that he was not an easy baby. I thought it was just me - that I wasn't coping, that I wasn't doing the right things. It doesn't help that some people are only too happy to tell you that you should be doing things differently ('you're spoiling him by picking him up too much' ' if you left him to settle himself he wouldn't cry so much' etc.). But your day will come - my Mum said a very wise thing, that all kids have a phase where you have to really put the work in with them - she said with me it was when I was a toddler, with DSis1 it was when she was a teenager, and with DSis2 it was after her second divorce when she was 35 grin. Now my DS is a breeze, and some of my friends are at their wits end. It is HARD when you have a baby who doesn't sleep, cries all the time, doesn't feed properly, it's just so bloody hard. And when people tell you 'oh it's probably reflux/that you're too stressed with him/that you haven't read the right books' and you try everything and read everything and NOTHING WORKS! I feel your pain, I truly do. But oh, when it gets easier (and it will get easier), you appreciate it so much. These days I curl up on the sofa chatting and laughing with DS and it's just... lovely. Relaxed. It might seem a long way off to you right now, but it goes by in a flash and then you'll look back and realise how strong you were and how hard you worked to get through that tiny baby phase.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Thu 23-May-13 09:14:49
scratchandsniff Thu 23-May-13 09:16:52

Your baby sounds pretty normal to me and so do your feelings and thoughts. I bet they also find it a struggle at times, but some just aren't vocal about it or pretend all is perfect. Just do what works for you.

DS1 was just like your baby. He turned into the easiest toddler and is now almost 16 and an absolute gem, bright as a button.

DS2 was the most placid smiling contented bundle of joy. Turned 2 and was horrific. Had me in tears daily. I took him for a few sessions of cranial osteopathy and he was a changed boy. Not saying you should do that just telling you how it was.

I mixed with these sort of parents but not for long as I didn't really fit in. Plus I was too tired with ds1 to want to socialise.

I hope you manage to feel better soon. It's really hard when babies are like our ds1s but it does get easier.

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Thu 23-May-13 09:23:46

I know hugs are unmumsnetty, but have one anyway (()) Some babies just are harder than others. I thought I was a terrible mother until I had my second child, when I realised that actually my first has been difficult and I was normal! I also relaxed second time around and did what I needed to make my life easier - cosleeping and napping, baby in the sling most of the rest of the time, bf completely on demand rather than worrying about whether the baby 'should' be hungry again, and basically not caring what people thought (including not worrying what they thought if my baby cried when I was out - I want to comfort a crying baby anyway but I stopped worrying about people looking at me/judging me).

I'm glad you're getting help with the pnd. I hope it helps.

I had a friend who made out all was perfect. She ended up admitting she had the most severe form of PND. At least you're getting help.

Please rest as much as possible and make sure you eat energy foods, take a good multi vit. I've got those fizzy things from Aldi, energy boosting. They do work. Ask for help too.

DDCOS you sound so like me. That was my experience with ds2. I don't think I fed poor ds1 often enough sad Mind you he's a strapping big lad now and ate well when weaned. I bf both for a year.

domesticslattern Thu 23-May-13 09:31:06

If you always feel bad after meet ups, just stop going. Just try to meet up with people who make you feel better- old friends, people with older kids, one or two people who you get on with, sso you are not isolated. It's not the law that you have to keep seeing your NCT group if you don't enjoy it! I skipped them with DC2 and it was a very liberating feeling!

badger2005 Thu 23-May-13 09:33:22

Hello BotBotticelli

I am absolutely certain that some children are harder work than others! My first child did things like drift off to sleep on my lap... I didn't realise how lucky I was! I absolutely did not do anything clever to make this happen - in fact I made a lot of mistakes, but with him being such an easy baby, my mistakes didn't mess things up. Some parents look like they are finding the whole thing easy - and I reckon that is largely because they have easy babies.

My second child was just completely different. She only fell asleep when I was feeding her, and then you would have to sit motionless with her for at least half an hour before you could transfer her into her cot - and even then she might well wake up. Sometimes I would try to figure out what I was doing differently/wrong, but really it was just blindingly obvious that what I had here was a different child!

I know what you mean about finding your child a 'puzzle' that you are trying to solve. I was like this too. I find it really really does get easier because as they get older they can communicate with you. You still have to work out what they mean (because they don't have the words they need, or they do things like adults do where they talk about one thing to tell you about something else), but at least you are getting some useful data to work with! In any case, most of the puzzles and challenges that my children create seem to pass with time before I ever actually manage to solve them.

Also the NCT group may be a self selected sample i.e. it may be made up of the mums with placid babies who can get out of the house easily.

While you may be the only mum who is struggling who has managed to get out to the NCT meeting.

So instead of comparing yourself to them, compare yourself to those at home, still in their PJ's, with toast in their hair who haven't managed to shower or brush their teeth yet, who will put on yesterday's leggings at about 2pm when they realise they have to walk to the shop with a little terror who fights the straps in the buggy as they are out of milk and will collapse if they can't get a cup of tea...
(not me at all a few years ago, no no no wink )

moodymary Thu 23-May-13 09:44:10

OP, there are parts of your post that I could have written myself!

DD was very hard work until she was 18 months, she didn't sleep in the daytime at all unless in her pram or the car, I had to rock her to sleep for hours, she cried a lot and just generally made it pretty impossible to get on with nice, 'normal' day to day activities!! NCT meet ups were a nightmare for me and I used to dread them. Of course, as others have said, they are not compulsory and you may find it less stressful in the short term not to meet up so often, but I am so glad I stayed in touch with my group as almost 6 years on, we still see each other and I have made some lovely friends.

In contrast, DS was an absolute dream! He slept properly, rarely cried and was just must easier.

This is nothing that you are doing, and yes, some babies are just harder work than others!

I know it feels so hard at the moment but trust me, it gets much much easier.

kalidasa Thu 23-May-13 10:02:44

OP my best friend is a paediatrician and she says that in her extensive professional opinion women in this situation almost always lie (about sleeping, eating, how they are feeling, everything in fact). If you are not actively lying - even if you're not saying quite how you feel either - you are in the small minority. I found this very comforting.

Anyway, your post really struck a chord with me. My baby son is also nearly six months (on the 28th) and I am also being treated for PND. I haven't enjoyed any of it yet, I was without question a lot happier a couple of years ago than now. I went back to work about six weeks ago because I was just so miserable and desperate (had been off sick all pregnancy too so some unusual circumstances). I do care for him but I don't feel any overwhelming love for him at all, and I don't have any problems handing him over. I find a couple of hours with him morning/evening manageable (though still hard and demoralising) but I really dread the weekends. It is really hard to be honest about this stuff but I don't think it helps anyone to put too brave a face on it.

If by any chance you're in NW London let me know and we can meet in solidarity for a less-upbeat coffee!!

LatinForTelly Thu 23-May-13 10:25:10

That 'What Mothers Do' book that AndIFeedEmGunpowder linked to is brilliant. It shows you how profound the change is in having a first baby, and how much you do without even thinking about it.

My first baby wasn't difficult (wasn't dead easy either!), and used to be one of the babies who fell asleep at the NCT meet-ups. But, she was a 'velcro' baby and was totally happy if I was holding her and not trying to do anything else at all. It would also overtire her being out a lot so she used to scream blue murder when we got back from the meet-ups!

My second was a very unhappy little soul, bad reflux etc etc, and then I found out what it was like to be at the meet-up, the barbecue, in the shops and have a baby who was screaming permanently.

Even though my third was laid-back, I never did get to be the mum who pushed a calm baby round a shopping centre for the day - how do they do that?!!

Long waffle, but please don't feel bad. You are not doing anything wrong at all. You sound like a lovely mum. Babies are all different. Also, circumstances are all different. You don't know how much help these mums get from family, partners etc etc. And yes, they're probably stretching the truth a lot bit.

One thing I got from our NCT meetings was that everyone had some sort of problem somewhere. Not one of us breezed through the whole thing.

Be gentle on yourself, OP, it gets easier. And get hold of that book!

princessnumber2 Thu 23-May-13 10:38:22

You sound like a lovely mum. My first baby was very hard work. I could barely make it out if the house some days and didn't really feel like I got anything done. Years on I realise that my first was very hard work and I was actually doing a great job. Some people have much easier babies (their second might be different!) and for some people the shock of becoming a parent is harder than others.

I agree that you don't know the full story with these other mums and also babies change all the time. They might be finding this stage easy but could end up with nightmare toddlers (or teens!). It's a long road and don't let others knock their confidence. The fact that you're finding it hard work probably means you're a devoted mum who's doing a great job.

Bugger the nail bars. I never managed to get my hair cut with my babies as they were just hyper.

Don't give up on getting out and about but do stuff that works for you and makes you feel good.

Good luck.

IAteTheCake Thu 23-May-13 10:40:11

You description sounds exactly like how I felt! My dd is spirited too. The other thing I think now looking back, is that maybe I expected too much from the NCT group - we all still meet now 2 years later, but some of us are very different so were never going to be best friends. We just happen to have had babies at the same time. I found I got on with people a bit better on a one to one basis. You are not doing anything wrong, it is easy to compare things in such an intense situation with others in a similar situation. You just need to tell yourself that babies develop at different rates etc. My dd still doesn't sleep properly, but is advanced in other areas. None of my NCT group really understood the sleep deprivation. I had PTSD after a traumatic birth as well, which I don't think anyone else in the group could really understand either. Everyone has different experiences with this life changing event of a tiny person taking over our lives, you need to give yourself a break and just be kind to yourself. Take it a day at a time, do activities you want to with the group, seek out other mummy friendships and take it at your own pace. You are doing brilliantly, just keep doing it your way with what works for you and your family. The best piece of advice someone told me was these developmental phases are just that, phases and there could be better or worse around the corner. Not just for you. But for the mothers who seem to be handling things perfectly too ;-)

Scruffey Thu 23-May-13 10:45:50

My ds was hard work as a baby as well. I think nct groups can sometimes be like this - people presenting the positives, boasting etc and not mentioning worries/problems. Don't compare yourself to them and remember the baby stage is only a stage and personally I find other stages much better - my dc are 7 and 5 and I love this stage - they are generally reasonable and interesting and can do fun things, have interesting conversations etc.

Exhaustipated Thu 23-May-13 10:48:02

I am so glad others are recommending 'What Mothers Do'. It is brilliant and I thought of it straightaway when I read your post.

I think you sound like you're doing a great job. I've had PND so I know that it can make you feel bad about yourself and your parenting, but please know that this isn't reality.

One of the hardest things I've had to learn whilst recovering from PND is not to compare myself to others, especially in terms of mothering. It's easier said than done, but it really makes a HUGE difference when you can start to gradually put it into practise.

kalidasa Thu 23-May-13 10:50:11

Oh yes I agree that it can be more rewarding to meet up with e.g. NCT mothers individually. IME people are usually more honest and relaxed in that context and it's all a bit less performative.

OwlLady Thu 23-May-13 10:53:45

My children are all older now and in hindsight I would have done a lot different so I would say to you:

Do you get anything positive out of going to the group? anything at all? do you find it useful?

If the answer is no, stop going

Secondly, lots of Mums find Motherhood hard, it's not your fault. I could have never have taken any of my babies/children to a nail bar either, even now (and two of them are teens) It's just a family dynamic. What baby or child would enjoy that environment anyway? Life isn't about having your nails done it's about finding things that suit you and it will all work out in the end.

I hope your PND improves soon x

MrsBodger Thu 23-May-13 10:54:28

Poor you! My first was like that - never slept during the day, almost never happy - I was at my wits' end.

Had to tell my husband to buy food I could eat straight from the fridge with one hand. She got a bit better when she could sit up cos I think she was less bored then and had a bit more autonomy.

Second baby came along and it was a revelation; she ate, she slept, she ate, she slept, just like the babies in the books.

And I don't think it was because I had got so much better at it, cos I know lots of parents who have had it easy with No 1 and then problems with a later child. All babies are different - you are not doing anything wrong.

saffronwblue Thu 23-May-13 10:54:36

I remember going home from mother's group crying because they all talked about how their babies slept for so long it was boring. DS (it seemed) did not sleep at all and I was averaging about 45 minutes a night. Later another mother told me that she had gone home crying after she had seen me BFing with what she thought was nonchalant ease. Everybody suffers in some way.
I had PND and was heartened when someone said to me that PND is an intelligent woman's response to our non-child friendly society and the isolation of new motherhood.

Note that DS is now 14 and I can't get him out of bed in the mornings!It will get better.

piprabbit Thu 23-May-13 10:56:45

I think your NCT group are, umm, being economical with the truth.

I have never met any group of new mums who haven't found it tough. But if you get just one person (especially if they have an alpha personality) doing the whole "I'm fine" thing then it knocks everyone else's confidence and everyone sits around agreeing that yes, they too are fine before they go home and sob (yes, all of them - not just you).

Try seeing them in smaller groups, mix with different people in different environments and you will start to hear different stories.

Good luck, keep plodding along and you will gradually start to feel more in control, confident and happy.

CoteDAzur Thu 23-May-13 10:59:55

I had one of each - a screaming angry baby and a calm content one. I didn't do anything different with them.

Now one is an agitated highly-strung child and the other is a smiling happy one.

It's not you.

FireEngineDoll Thu 23-May-13 11:00:24

I had this with my nct group. It was so stressful getting to every meet up and the plans they made, made it even more complicated! Trips to the races, legoland, into London on the train. It was all too much for me and my ds who was not happy just to sit quietly in his pushchair in a coffee shop. I found my whole experience with the nct very stressful and once I had my second I realized perhaps I should have spent more of that year of maternity leave at home in my pyjamas feeding myself and ds toast.

Incidentally didn't bother with nct second time round and just went to local baby groups. SO much better, wider mix of people and there is not the competitive parenting there is with the nct.

LikeTheStuffYouHangUp Thu 23-May-13 11:08:16

Hi I haven't read the whole thread but I read the op and needed to tell you this.

I had 2 under 2. They are now 1 and 2. Recently a friend came and told me how much of a failure she felt compared to me, she sai I had breazed through having 1, and having 2 was no challenge at all for me. She asked why she didn't find motherhood as easy as I did. She told me my life was unchanged and wanted to lnow my secret. I was so shocked and taken aback, but I offered her my 'secret'.

I was struggling, I felt like a failure every second of every day. I was struggling with depression and anxiety amongst other mh problems. I wanted to run away and often felt like packing it all in. I was lonely and forced myself out of the house and to put a smile on my face. I hated every minute of being out of the house as the anxiety was so great.

I can bet you anything your nct friends thought you were doing just fine and breazing a long too.

Parenting is HARD there is no manual and every child is different. You are doing the best job you can. Don't doubt yourself, my therapist says it takes a lot to screw up a child beyond repair wink

adagio Thu 23-May-13 11:13:41

FWIW I think I have a fairly easy baby (5 months)- I mean by that she doesn't cry much and seems quite happy.

However, she feeds at most every three hours (day and night), sleeps by BF or walking in buggy and has an aversion to being put down (she generally wakes up as soon as I even think of it) - moses basket sometimes works, cot so far has happened once, for 15 minutes..

But to me she doesn't seem to cry that much and if you go to bed at midnight and get up at 6 then she only wakes up once, technically speaking…!!

I guess I am trying to say that people have their own perceptions and expectations, you are anxious and looking for the issues whereas I was expecting more noise than I am actually getting so in my little bubble its all great, although on paper my DD sounds like an unputdownable nightmare….

She can roll front to back though smile (but not the other way, she has to be 'reset')

I also agree with other posters about try some other groups, I have found some lovely cheap ones in church halls (not particularly religious myself) and they seem to have a much wider mix of people both in terms of age of mums, experience and amount of money (my DD is almost exclusively in hand me downs, not mini boden!)

Hyperhelpmum Thu 23-May-13 11:18:33

Poor you OP. Just to reassure you that DS1 was one of the 'good' babies at NCT type meet ups and slept through at 6 weeks, did everything first. I didn't brag but I think some mums felt i had it easy-fast forward two years, he was the toddler group bully, a total nightmare, really hard work! Swings and roundabouts, swings and roundabouts! It is all so intense when they are babies but DS is now 5 and toddler nightmare phase if a memory. Keep going, you are doing fantastically well I'm sure and it will pass!

Babies are different. My DC1 was very hard work -- I'd go to postnatal group and wonder why he wasn't like the other bbabies. Then DC2 was a laid-back angel baby who was always either asleep or smiling/gurgling. DC3 was in between the two so it's not just that I was more relaxed with DC2 than DC1.

Fast forward to today and former angel baby DC2 is the stroppiest and moodiest of the bunch, so don't give up hope!

wickeddevil Thu 23-May-13 11:19:18

OP I am sorry that you are feeling like this. I think on the bottom is spot on. As others have explained babies are very different, some are easy to take out, and some are not. Inevitably those that are easy to take out get taken out more....
You made it to NCT. Imagine what those who didn't are struggling with.
The best piece of advice I heeded as a new Mum is not to ruin your relationship with your child over something they will grow out of. This applies to sleeplessness, tantrums, food fads, hitting and other joys of parenting. A child who won't settle and sleep is incredibly frustrating and it would be easy to focus on nothing else. But believe me they grow out of it. Give it a few years and you will be wondering just how to get your teenager out of bed.
What I am trying to say is that while you are having a tough time at the moment, it will change.
Avoid the NCT. Sending you un mumsnetty hugs.

LikeTheStuffYouHangUp Thu 23-May-13 11:20:27

Oh and more than once a week, the girls and I just stay in pj's. the only reason I'm dressed is because I had a dr appointment this morning. The dc are still in pj's!

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 11:22:44

My first was a horror, vomited everywhere for the first few months (but fine with it) so the house was covered in muslins, I spent my time drenched in milk, he wouldn't sleep without being manically rocked and would wake after 45 minutes and at night would be awake for hours at a time. By 4 months I was an absolute wreck and completely exhausted. Getting out of the house took at least an hour of getting ready. He couldn't be left on his playmat for more than a few minutes.

My second is now 4 months and is comparatively a piece of cake. She has just gone to sleep by herself in her Moses basket, after spending a good half hour on her playmat entertaining herself while I tidied the house. I'm now planning on having a shower.

I was seriously dreading the baby period again. I put off having a second child because it was so awful. I can't believe how easy it is when you have an easy baby.

It's not your fault. You are struggling in a horrible situation that would have the calm NCT group tearing their hair out and falling to pieces.

It does pass. DS is nearly 4 and is brilliant. But you have my utter sympathy because I know exactly what you're going through. Be kind to yourself and accept help (and sleep) wherever you can get it.

RobinBedRest Thu 23-May-13 11:23:36

I have a copy of What Mothers Do which I will happily pass on if you PM me your address.

My first was like this and lets face it the lack of sleep and stress dealing with a more challenging baby can really affect your mental health.

On the other hand I think all kids go through difficult phases so maybe your friends will get a shock when their little angels get more mobile.

Don't go to the meet ups if you feel like this everytime, your HV may be able to give you details of PD support groups where you can meet Mum's who are having a more similar experience to you!

DewDr0p Thu 23-May-13 11:28:15

I think maybe it helps to think of these groups as being a bit like facebook - my experience wasn't that people were lying as such but only offering edited highlights! I guess people want others to think they are coping and don't want to be seen as moany.

I remember saying something very similar to your OP to my GP when I was diagnosed with PND and he laughed and said "that's what my wife used to say which was funny because often the same women were crying in my surgery"

And take heart, noone has it easy the whole time through parenthood - some toddlers and/or second babies can be very very difficult and nothing wipes away a smug smile quite so quickly grin

Ds1 was very very hard work for the first six months and then suddenly it all changed with weaning and sitting and he became delightful. Hang on in there OP. And maybe find some more honest mums to hang out with!

DewDr0p Thu 23-May-13 11:32:08

On a practical note, can your ds sit propped up yet? You might want to consider one of those inflatable baby nest things, you can wedge them in with cushions for extra support to start with and then put lots of toys in for them to explore. It was a godsend with 2 of mine when they were at that age, really helped to keep them entertained.

buswanker Thu 23-May-13 11:58:14

If you were to jump up at NCT class and shout I HAVE PND I FEEL LIKE AN ALIEN, I WONT GO TO A NAIL SALON FOR MANY YEARS, MY BABY IS NOT PERFECT AND IS NOT EASY TO SETTLE I bet lots of them will breakdown and confess they feel exactly the same way.

And if they don't they must be a bunch of fake, lying arseholes and go to a mother and toddler group instead to meet a better cross section of people instead. There is a thread in classics about toddlers groups. Read that for a giggle and so you know what to expect! I will try and find a link to it.

buswanker Thu 23-May-13 12:00:48
wellieboots Thu 23-May-13 12:05:29

I feel your pain. I have pnd, anxiety and a sometimes pretty unsettled baby with bad reflux. I often avoid baby groups and catch ups because I don't know when she'll have a meltdown! I also get fed up of hearing about people who can go to baby bounce classes and gymbaroo and god knows what else, and have babies who will sit quiet on their lap while they have lunch out. you are a brilliant mummy and all you can do is look after her and comfort her to the best of what you can, which you're already doing. do you have much practical support? please try and open up to a couple of people, you might be surprised at how much it helps.

rowrowrowtheboat Thu 23-May-13 12:37:31

Babies are different. In my NCT I couldn't join in some conversations as I just wasn't experiencing some of the stuff they were talking about. i still see these friends, but also have a great group of friends I met at a baby cafe. You can have more than one group of friends, so try a few groups where the mums maybe are a little more open with their trials. Don't leave your nct group, just find other mums who will enjoy doing stuff that suits their and your babies more, and where you feel relaxed.

BotBotticelli Thu 23-May-13 13:52:17

Thank you so much for your kind words and reassurance ladies - feel very overwhelmed by how kind you all are, and am heartened by your stories of feeling similar and things getting better with time.

It's funny some of you should use the word 'spirited'...i have actually posted elsewhere on MN about DS being a fecking handful spirited baby and although I shouldn;t compare him to the other NCT babes, he certainly seems like a sparky little monkey in comparison. Fingers crossed he will end up being a dreamy toddler...

I will deffo look out a copy of that What Mothers Do book, and have found out today that there is a baby and toddler group at a church hall round the corner from my house which I am going to try next week in the hope of meeting a wider range of people.

I think part of the problem with my NCT group might be that apart from all having vaginas, and having recently birthed a baby, i don't really have anything in common with those ladies (I have never had my nails done in my life and am not really a 'wandering around Lakeside' kinda girl)...maybe I need to meet people who I actually get on with on a personal level, as well as the fact they're new mummies, and then I might feel more comfortable being honest with them about how I am feeling.

Thank you again for your support xxx

Bumpsadaisie Thu 23-May-13 14:02:32

" Is it possible that some babies are just harder work than others??"

Yes my dear, of course it is! When you and all your friends/acquaintances have more children there is a much bigger pool of types of baby compare to. You soon realise that all babies are very different!

One of my good friends had a dd1 who was so easy, she was content, she fed well, slept well and generally was a piece of cake. Then her dd2 came along, who was rather like your DS sounds to be, and, well lets say she got rather a shock!

In case it helps her DD1 turned 3 and turned from angel into nightmare toddler, defiant, aggressive and generally difficult. When her DD2, who hated being a baby, reached about 15 months, she turned into a dream child!

Your son won't always be like this. Promise! And given that its been hard for you you won't find the kamikaze mobile baby stage and the food hurling stage or the terrible toddler stage too much of a shock, its been crappy for you already and you are used to it!

Those NCT mums with textbook babies, on the other hand, are in for a nasty surprise soon when their easy babies start hurling themselves downstairs, saying no to everything, and squeezing nanas into the curtains!

Good luck love smile

Bumpsadaisie Thu 23-May-13 14:12:59

PS my DS was the kind of baby your friends seem to have. He was very different to my DD.

Even when hours old he happily lay in his cot and looked around him. He would sit up in his buggy for hours while I sat in cafes, smiling at people and generally being quite content. He fed well and only for 10 mins a time. He only woke once or twice a night and went straight back to sleep after a quick feed. He was dead easy! (Good job as his sister was at the toddler stage then!)

My DD wasn't particularly difficult but she was certainly harder work than her brother. She wouldn't lie in her basket at all for the first two months without crying, so she slept on me and i carried her everywhere in a sling and the shopping went in the pram. Even when she was happy to sleep in her cot she needed a lot of reassurance when you put her down, I had to sit there for 30 mins till she dropped off. Even now at age four she struggles to settle herself (she has to listen to an audiobook).

My DS (18 mths) on the other hand is quite happy to lie in his cot, cuddle down and drift off to sleep!

3Caramel Thu 23-May-13 14:17:52

I'm so sorry you're going through a really tough time, especially with the PND. But please let me reassure you that you're experience sounds far more normal than that of your other NCT mums.

Being a parent, especially a Mum, to young children is incrediably hard! My DS is now 21 months old, and with hindsight, I don't think I really started enjoying materntiy leave until he was about 8 months i.e. until they are sleeping a lot better, can entertain themselves a bit, sit up, are fully weaned, off the boob etc. And all that depends on each baby - there's no hard or fast full.

Some babies are definitely harder work than others, but I'm sure it all evens out. One of my NCT babies was a nightmare for the first 7m, but is now the calmest, sweetest, easiest little toddler smile

Have you tried talking to the other NCT mums about how you feel? You'd probably be surprised that most of them aren't managing as well as they make out, and if they say otherwise, they're probably fibbing! If they make you feel bad, why not try some other local Mum & baby groups & meet some more like-minded mums. The last thing you need is to be around people who make you feel bad about yourself.

Try not to be so hard on yourself, as being a Mum is hard enough! But (apologies for me saying this, as it annoys me when others say it to me) - it will get easier smile I'm sure you're doing a great job as a Mum and try to focus on how far you've come since that tiny little new born arrived.

Good luck!

rowrowrowtheboat Thu 23-May-13 14:22:44

^^ Bot,

Yep, try to find mums you feel you will get on with. Go to the church hall one a few times, I went by myself for a few weeks before I was brave enough to talk to strangers, but four years later, the ladies I met are my closest friends. We never have our nails done or go shopping togeher. Good luck finding people who will enjoy the same things you do.

While you're investing in books, I recommend The Fussy Baby Book. While DS seemed to me to be unlike any other baby we met in real life he was exactly like the babies in there, so it filled me with renewed confidence that it wasn't me or something I was doing wrong.

And www.amazon.co.uk/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060739665 Raising Your Spirited Child is good once your baby gets a bit older; it really helped me think about things from DS's point of view and be aware of potential triggers and situations he found difficult.

NightLark Thu 23-May-13 14:34:04

First time I saw a baby drift off to sleep without intervention DS was over 2. I was literally pointing and babbling about it like a loon. (It wasn't DS by the way, it was a new baby of a friend of a friend.) I'd never seen anything like it.

I spent DS's entire infancy with him glued to me like a limpet, day and night. I knew every inch of every softplay, and hadn't had a full nights sleep for years. He's a gorgeous 7-year-old now, with friends, hobbies and a curious, funny, shy but inner-confident nature.

I too have wanted to run screaming, have had huge self-doubt ('what have I done? Why is my baby sooooo needy?') and have also had 2 more children who, while hard work, don't touch DS's intensity.

Sometimes that's how it goes.

The 'what mothers do' book cheered me up enormously, as did Sears 'the baby book'.

nancerama Thu 23-May-13 14:39:08

I was you, OP. I had one of those babies that would not be put down and wouldn't let me sit down either. I spent 5 months dancing with him in my arms. It was a relief that he was an early crawler. I ended up volunteering for NCT and was involved in setting up a group for parents with very active/noisy/mobile babies. It's packed every week and it's lovely to see all the little people going mad together while the mums get their first hot cup of tea in years.

Hang in there. It DOES get easier, and it really doesn't last forever. You are not alone.

Munxx Thu 23-May-13 14:52:47

Yup high needs baby here too!

What a lovely supportive thread, mn at its best.

HappyJoyful Thu 23-May-13 14:53:11

all having vaginas, and having recently birthed a baby, i don't really have anything in common with those ladies

OP, this was my lightbulb moment and helped me feel a darn sight better - I suddenly realised one day that if I wasn't enjoying the meet ups then why go (as other's have commented) I think I felt programmed for a while to do so, and it was supportive / helpful in the early months, but by 6 months and about to return to work (whilst all of them were still swanning around) I was ready as was my also equally spirited wouldn't sit still dd to go off and explore further and to and do the things I enjoyed doing. I found sanity and wisdom and much more enjoyment with friends that already had kids and with close friends who didn't even. It was breath of fresh air and a relief to suddenly feel like this weight was lifted off my shoulders!

Go forth and enjoy and relax and relinquish yourself of the nct 'obligation' I really wish you well and hopefully you'll feel empowered and liberated to just say not to a meet up (doesn't mean you don't keep in touch) just sort of plan your own thing for a while.

It does get easier

milkymocha Thu 23-May-13 15:06:10

You mentioned Lakeside OP, where are you located ? I live close to there smile

BotBotticelli Fri 24-May-13 08:31:53

You're right Munxx, this really is mumsnet at it's best - what a wonderful amazing supportive bunch of ladies you all are. I wish you were all in my NCT group!!!

I am just the other side of the river MilkyMocha, near Bexley in SE London...which is another reason why the planned trip to wander around Lakeside is equally a no-go for me....don;t really fancy getting stuck in rush hour traffic over the Dartford Bridge with my carseat-hating DS screaming in the back seat!

Kalidasa, as above, I am in SE London zone 5, so probably pretty much as far from you in NW London as you can get....although I suppose better than being in Glasgow or something! PM me if you fancy arranging some sort of meet in central London,...although have only taken DS into central London on the train once so far.

Iwillorderthefood Fri 24-May-13 08:47:26

I had the spirited baby in my NCT group too. Topped with failing to bf, but feeding EBM. I was always sorting bottles out, and having to rush home to express and sterilise bottles. Had very small window to do anything as had to keep on top of milk supply. The others all just chatted and looked at me with pity as I struggled with a baby who would not be put down, or left even for a second.

However, once she started to wean, there was a reversal, everyone else were complaining about how hard it all was, and due to all the hassle I had with feeding in the first place, this bit was a breeze.

Oh I also knocked the baby massage teachers "money plant" over and broke the pot, whilst the others were all serenely breast feeding as well. Could not do anything right, although she slept ok. My second one, was amazing in the day, but terrible at night.

I hope things start to get better for you soon. Hopefully bit by bit things will start to ease up for you.

I'm sure there'll be MNers near to you? I've been to a London meet up mind you, came from the north. There's some right characters down there wink

nancerama Fri 24-May-13 09:57:23

Is there a Baby Sensory class near you? It was the only thing that held my monkey's attention. I have very find memories. Give them a call and try a taster session.

Baby Sensory website. That looks great.

MrsBodger Fri 24-May-13 10:11:38

Just remembered, when dd1 was nearly 6 months old and I was about to go back to work, went to visit a friend whose first baby was v close in age. She was looking harrassed: "I don't know what's wrong with him this morning. Usually he's very happy to just sit there, but today he won't settle for more than 20 minutes!"

I had to say mine had never settled for 20 minutes . . .

nancerama Fri 24-May-13 10:27:04

Iwillorderthefood - DH thought taking DS would calm him and give them some bonding time. DH arrived home an hour later exhausted and embarrassed from chasing a naked angry crawler all over the room.

They didn't go back.

LikeTheStuffYouHangUp Fri 24-May-13 10:28:35

20 minutes! Just think what you could achieve in 20 minutes! I wish. My babies wouldn't settle at all without bein held.

CatherineofMumbles Fri 24-May-13 10:32:15

Agree with the poster about it being a self-selecting group, many stay away because they can't stand the smugness! My DS was like yours, and I had a very unsupportive DH - the other mums DHs were of course all perfect. I realised it was making me feel worse going, so I stopped, but I did meet one friend there who was more like me ( and the sort of person I would have been friends with even if we didn't have the baby connection). At least now there is MN, I wish it had been around then grin ( And my Ds is now a lovely boy of 15 who has been a delight (not just us - everyone tell sis this....grin) since about the age of six months when he finally stopped screaming grin)

MERLYPUSS Fri 24-May-13 12:17:53

God. I can so sympathise. I was older by 10 years than any of the other NCT mums in my class. They all had John lewis/Kath kidson prams and changing bags and were immaculately dressed and so were their singleton babies (that slept through from day one according to them).
I turned up in my puke stained primark special, after 2 hrs sleep with my mahoosive twin buggy and on cue one of the boys would do a poomageddon which required a full change. I usually ran out of wipe/clothes/nappies/patience and went home after a 'relaxing' coffee feeling like a complete waste of space.
I hooked up with a girl from NHS anti natal classes who had her head screwed on. The world suddenly seemed normal after that when I realised that they had probably worked hard to look quoiffed and manicured and doing that was just one of the many jobs that took up time that could be spent with my boys (and cleaning up poo grin )

How are you doing Bot?

BotBotticelli Sat 25-May-13 20:11:39

Hey Juniper, had a pretty low day today sad

The good news is I think the CBT I have been having seems to be helping a lot with my anxiety, but it's like now that's gone away, a horrible low mood beneath it has been revealed. I couldn't stop crying this morning and just felt really disgusted with myself cos I couldn't bear to deal with DS crying anymore sad I think he might be teething again and he has a bad cold so can't breathe and I just can't seem to make him happy at the moment.

Thank god DH was here cos its the weekend so he basically took care of him this morning.

This sounds awful but sometimes the relentlessness of looking after DS just does my head in. I wake up every morning determined that this is going to be the day where I take everything DS throws at me in my stride and I ha failed at that by 0800am this morning sad

Worst thing is I feel sorry for DH...he has lost his funny wife and been left with this crying monster instead and I think he is running out of suggestions to help me when I feel so low.

AF is due on Monday so that might be part of it, but I can't put all of this down to hormones.

Bet you wish you hadn't asked now, eh?! :-S

No am glad I asked chick, you need to be open and honest about your feelings. Sometimes it's easier on here.

Are you on any medication for your anxiety? I would have bad anxiety, really tight chest, were I not on citalopram. I've tried coming off them but I end up with the same symptoms again so am staying on them long term. But like you say the CBT has helped yours so perhaps the other feelings need addressing?

I'm must worse before AF. Hormones are a bitch. Are you taking oils? I take starflower in double dose and that helps. Plus a good multivitamin. What's your diet like? I know if I eat well and drink plenty of water, get lots of exercise, it helps me. Do you go for long walks with ds in the buggy? What about buying one of those off road buggies?

I hope you have a good Sunday and the sun is shining where you are? Keep posting.

notjustaprettyface Sun 26-May-13 10:15:34

Your OP could literally have been written by me, I had exactly the same experience while I was on maternity leave with DS. And DH and I used to try and reassure ourselves that DS was just 'spirited'. Now he is one, I am back at work and life is a lot easier - as soon as he learnt to crawl he was just so much happier, almost over night and now I would go so far as to consider him quite 'easy'. But from about 4 months to 7 months he was incredibly hard work and I can see with hindsight that I was miserable. I began to dread meeting my NCT group, their babies were just so calm! Particular lowlights included an afternoon tea that I had to leave early because DS just cried and whinges while their babies sat calmly on their mum's knees with a toy, and numerous meet ups at our houses when their babies would lie next to each other on the floor playing happily while mine whinged. He just whinged and whinged for three solid months and it was relentless and exhausting and awful, and to this day I have no idea what was wrong. But what I wish I could go back and tell myself now was that it did pass, it wasn't my fault or his and that I wasn't doing anything wrong. Having a baby is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I was so unprepared! But as other posters have said, it passes, and you forget. Ignore the smug mothers, I have never understood this compulsion among new mums to lie and compete, it is so unsupportive and unhelpful. Surround yourself with people who make you feel supported and un-judged, you will feel so much better. I'm glad you are getting better and I hope you feel better soon.

notjustaprettyface Sun 26-May-13 10:18:19

I meant Glad you are getting help... Stick with it, CBT really can work well.

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:23:25

Oh you poor thing. Some babies are more demanding. DD now 6 was a relative breeze compared to a very demanding brother now 3.5. So, you have a mix of a baby who is high needs, along with managing your own emotional wellbeing, and that is tough.

I have not yet read this thread in full, but I wanted to just stress that this is absolutely nothing you are doing wrong as a mother. I would absolutely never have entertained taking DS to a nailbar (if I ever went to such a place!) etc. Maybe I could have with DD, but wouldn't have done it anyway.

And, with their 'perfect' babies that sleep through from 5 days old etc, remember that not all mums are completely honest about their experiences to the outside world, for whatever reason. Sometimes, the illusion of it being a breeze is just that, an illusion, sometimes people have a very good 'social' face that masks a lot.

I wanted to echo what's been said. I have had 3 babies and number 2 was a huge shock for me. I thought i knew what I was doing and how to look after a baby but Dd2 was completely different to DS1 and much much harder. I was taken by surprise and lost all my confidence. i had terrible anxiety and depression because of the lack of sleep and feelings of failure. But things did settle and adjust, I went on to have DS3 who is yet another completely different "type" of baby but this time round I had no expectations and just wing it! The key for me was to accept what I had and give up thinking if I was better everything else would be better. The stage you are in will pass.

Ignore what everyone else is doing. And if you don't feel good after meeting up with some mums don't do it. Mumsnet local or baby groups might work better?

What do you think you are failing at by 8am? I feel confident promising you that you haven't failed. We all have days which could have gone better but our babies forgive and forget though unlikely they've noticed at all.

FrickingFedUp Sun 26-May-13 10:44:36

No one wants to admit how hard it is at the time, because they feel just like you do - that everyone is managing so much better than them so they have to put on a front.

However I find that if you speak to any older mum with more grown up kids they will happily admit what a nightmare the first few months were!

It is hard, but some babies are definitely worse than others! I had one of those. I remember a friend of mine breezed through the newborn phase and when I had dd I always compared myself to her. However, she had her second and she had reflux just like my dd, and she struggled like mad. So it is not you - you are obviously doing your best!

I know there is massive pressure to "enjoy" your maternity leave, but for me I only started to feel myself again when I went back to work and got some structure back into my life. My dd adores her childminder so I know she is happy with the arrangement too!

It will get easier, I promise! smile

OP you say that your DH thinks you're looking for excuses. Does he understand your PND? Can someone outside of the situation explain it to him? It sounds like he isn't being very supportive and you need him to be.

riceandpeas22 Sat 08-Jun-13 10:54:05

Unfortuanlty the NCT have yet to discover that women who have childeren do suffer PND and have problems with breastfeeding. This vital information was never discussed in any of the worshops i attended a couple of year ago. Like you I suffered from PND and was thrown together with a group of women that suffered from 'affluenza' and hid behind a mask when it came to expressing human emotions. If you did ever mention your feelings or difficulties they deemed you as needy as though there was something wrong with you. I stopped attending after 6months as i felt the relationships were going now where and they were just too shallow . My son is now 20 months and I joined lots of local classes and surestart sessions and the mothers i have met are just 'ordinary'.

easterbaby Fri 14-Jun-13 16:24:28

Hi Bot. Just wanted to chip in and say that I felt v similar to you at 6mo. The NCT culture is quite unforgiving, but thankfully there are plenty of alternatives out there. I am quite close to some individual mums from our group, but I don't feel I gel with our whole group. I still persevere because each mum 'means well', even if I wouldn't ordinarily choose their company.

Agree with Juniper about Starflower oil and B vitamins. Take an iron supplement if you feel exhausted - I like Floradix. Fresh air and long walks are amazing - helps baby to sleep and tops up your vit D.

Sounds like CBT is helping, which is great news. It made my own PND symptoms worse but I was then diagnosed with postnatal traumatic stress, which needs a different treatment plan. I ended up having eye desensitisation reprocessing, which worked very quickly.

Please don't worry about your maternity leave passing by and you not enjoying it (I did the same!) - it is quite a short period of time. You have a lifetime of mothering (with all the ups AND downs!) ahead of you. Like FrickingFedUp, my mood picked up hugely when I went back to work. I think I'm just made to be a working mother!

I'd really encourage you to live in the moment and savour the good bits. Get as much relaxation as you can (this is where DH can help!) and look after yourself. x

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