AIBU to feel like a failure at the end of my maternity leave(9 Posts)
I am getting to the end of my year of maternity leave. On whole this year has been incredibly happy. I have loved being a mum however there have been some moments of extreme loneliness and feeling lost. On the whole I try not to let myself dwell to much on the downs but sitting here trying to plan my son's birthday and I feel like a massive loser/failure.
In a nutshell, I had recently moved to a new town when I found out that I was pregnant and I had not built up any sort of support network/friends locally. On the whole none of my other friends have children and live many hours drive away. My family also live a couple of hours drive away, although they have been incredible. I felt pretty lonely but joined NCT to try and meet new mum mates. I met a nice gang of women and I was pretty excited starting my maternity leave about getting to know new people and making new friends (as well as having a baby!).
Shortly after I had my son he became unwell (sepsis) and was admitted to hospital. It was incredibly stressful. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and is bouncing healthy boy (which is why I feel so guilty feeling the way I do right now). It took me a while after he was discharged to feel confident about going out with him.
I tried to reconnect with my NCT group. They had all been going to lots of classes together and seemed to have all gelled as a group. I felt like a bit of an outsider but I continued to be friendly/sociable hoping that with time I'd feel part of the gang. I've met up with them fairly regularly over the past year although I always feel on the edge of the group. I tried to chat to old friends but as much it is nice to catch up our lives feel like they are in different places. I also joined a couple of baby groups but just seemed to struggle to make a lasting connection with anyone. Every so often a feeling of overwhelming loneliness would bubble up and I would start to question that maybe if there was something wrong with me but I would generally quickly quash that feeling. I have tried to stay chipper and positive. Luckily, I've had amazing support from both my husband and mum.
Coming to the end of mat leave, I'vm feeling a mixed bag of emotions. I feel really worried about my boy starting nursery and sad as a couple of my baby classes have drawn to a close.
I was planning a small party for my boys first birthday just inviting my family and the other NCT babies. Last week, I had invited the NCT group to a local christmas event that I was thinking of going to and only one person had replied, which hadn't bothered me too much until I realised that the guys that hadn't replied had all met up together that afternoon (without inviting me or saying that they were busy). I then started to question if they like me and whether I'll be invited to their parties (if they are having them). I suddenly felt very self conscious inviting them to my son's birthday and like a bit of a prize idiot.
I now feel embarased to invite people to a party that I don't think anyone will want to attend. I feel very sad that my son will not have a proper first birthday party because I seem to have become a social pariah. I just feel like a failure.
You’re not a failure, they sound like arses really! Your son doesn’t give a shit who’s at his party - just have family. He will make friends of his own at nursery and then school. All will be well, give it time and don’t obsess about these particular individuals who aren’t being inclusive. You will meet so many new mums at each stage of your son’s life. It’ll work itself out.
Sod them! Have a nice little family party and look to the future
Why? Because you didn't click with a bunch of women with whom you have nothing in common with besides pushing a head out of your vaginas at a similar time? Big deal. You will have plenty of opportunities to make friends over the coming years.
If your concerened about a party then don't have one. Do something fun like go to a zoo or animal farm instead.
The christmas event, most people are busy this time of year so don't take it personally. Go with the one person who did reply. You will bond better one to one than in a group anyway.
Don't worry about a party, your son most certainly wont care! Take him for a lovely day out instead, birthday parties can wait until they are older and understand better. You most certainly aren't a failure, maternity leave can be really isolating
Right. Fuck that bunch of bitches for a start.
Now I've got the swearing out of the way, you are describing how just about everyone normal feels. Plus you have the added bonus of some beeaatch NCT 'mates'.
Only grannies and aunties need be at 1st birthday parties, which are really events for the mum and dad, not the child.
It is very lonely, especially if you're far from home. You will feel wobbly at another big transition. This is all super normal.
But, honestly, you have done a great job, cracking on in difficult circumstances, and seeing your child through an awful start.
(I had a baby with a post natal infection and I had a very similar NCT group experience funnily enough. One of my friends said chuck the people out of your life who are no good because it makes space for good people. So do that.)
Thank you. Your replies have made me feel a lot better already!
First birthday parties are more about Mum/Dad celebrating their first year with their bub, a whole year of 'firsts', first smile, first laugh, first tooth, your son doesn't care, he will be happier playing in a cardboard box than he will be if lots of people try to fuss over him.
Invite your nearest and dearest and celebrate the love you all have for your child with them xx
Agree with what Viewoffriday said. You are describing exactly how I felt at the end of my first mat leave. It’s a difficult time.
We only had family for little ones first (and second) birthday and actually that was overwhelming enough for him! Better to save the big parties for when they are older and can appreciate it more.
If it helps I found the lead up to the end of mat leave much harder than when I went back - I think the anticipation is worse than the actual event!
You are not a failure and you shouldn't feel embarrassed at all. I attended a lot of baby groups during my first maternity leave and I found people very unfriendly. There were some people I would see every week and at numerous baby groups and they would still blank me every time they saw me. I would strike up conversation and I would get one word answers and then they would turn back to their friends.
By pure chance I bumped into a lovely new lady outside of one particular baby group and she invited me to a get together with a few others at a local baby cafe the next day. This group was made up of a bunch of people we "collected" at other groups- so this lady "collected" me and a lady from a breast feeding support group, the breast feeding support group lady "collected" a women who lived in the same building as her etc. We welcomed all and have a lovely group 5 years on which is now adult based rather than child based.
However, I have currently just finished my second maternity leave and this time round I have made minimal effort to go to baby groups because I found it such hard work the first time round. The one group I do go to, I literally turn up, do my thing with the baby and leave. I don't want to slog my guts out anymore trying to make people talk to me. If they do initiate conversation then I always converse back and am always friendly and say hello to people but I'm not going out of my way anymore to find baby friends. My first dc's birthday was full of friend's and their babies. My second dc's birthday was family only. Neither dc cared either way. They didn't even know it was their birthday. With my first dc it seemed like the done thing was to invite friends to every birthday starting with the first one. With my second dc I have already decided I am not bothering with throwing a kids birthday party until their 4th one. We'll celebrate with family but I literally cannot be bothered with organising kids birthday parties for children who don't even know what a birthday is!
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