Feel terribly down after meeting with NCT mums :((87 Posts)
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
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 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
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?
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.
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.
Sorry, just seen their age.
Definitely not down to your mothering, just some babies.are more, um, spirited
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.
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
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
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!)
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
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
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.
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!
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 . 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.
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.
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 Mind you he's a strapping big lad now and ate well when weaned. I bf both for a year.
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!
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.
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