How can I be like the other mums?(16 Posts)
Hello, I'm brand new to Mumsnet (and being a mum!) so please excuse me if I've posted in the wrong place or miss any MN etiquette!
I have a lovely 4 month old daughter, born after a long struggle with infertility. I recently admitted to my GP that I have been very depressed and anxious since her birth, and I am now being treated with talk therapy.
Meanwhile, i'm embarrassed at the way I live and care for my baby and myself. I took her to the doctors today (my husband had to drive us as I don't drive), and on the way home I saw plenty of nice, relaxed-looking mums with prams enjoying a morning in town. I was so sad and jealous. I find it so hard to get me and the baby up, fed and dressed, let alone negotiate the walk into town or wrangling her in cafes etc. She is a chronic catnapper, which doesn't help, taking a 30min nap in her crib every 90mins; so as soon as I'm ready to go anywhere, I have to put her back to bed or she gets overtired and cranky. I tried going to a mums' group, which was a massive effort, but when I got there I got overwhelmed and confused about some of the rules of the venue (leaving prams outside etc), and I embarrassed myself and started crying - we had to come straight home!
I guess my question is - has anyone else felt like this, like they're not 'doing Mummying' properly? Did you get past it? Did it become easier to get out and about?
She's four months old, I don't have the excuse of having a 'newborn' any more.
You are right to seek help, and I know it's not much help but many new mums feel like you. It's really hard work. I would advise you to start with small steps - for example, I'm to just go for a walk every day, even if it's just around the block. Then go a bit further. Playgroups and mums groups can be quite tricky and some parents don't like them so there is no rush for that. Is there a library you could go to? It's easier to just read books to your baby for just a few minutes then walk out rather than a playgroup. Four months can be harder than newborn! Is there a children centre close to you?
My son is three and I still don't feel like I can mum properly! I think that's a natural feeling. Other runs you see don't have it all together or feel overwhelmed sometimes. We all do! However, maybe Talk therapy would be a really great thing for you so that the anxious feelings don't overwhelm or limit you getting out and about. Having a young baby is hard work
I'm sure most people feel like you a lot of the time. I did.
On a practical note, will she not sleep in a buggy/car?
Wow thank you for these lovely replies, some great ideas, good to know I'm not alone. She hates the car, sadly, but will sometimes sleep in the pram. It's so cold, though, I need to wrap her up better!
Oh I felt just like that at 4 months! It's still such early days, don't worry. Playgroups are hard on your own, maybe stick to coffee meet ups etc with friends until the baby actually needs entertaining at a playgroup. Can you arrange a meet up via a local parents Facebook group, or text any mums you vaguely know for a one on one meet up?
All those other mums you mentioned wandering along who look like they have it together - you know they look at you and think the same, right?!
You're doing a great job, well done for seeking help so early and getting out there.
You are absolutely right to seek help, Betty, but you sound well within the normal curve of 'Oh God, this is miserable, what have I done, and will I ever be able to leave the house in under two hours again, far less confidently change my baby in a strange café loo with no baby-change table ? etc etc.' And absolutely I remember the sheer physical difficulties that dealing with a new place meant - prams outside, so how do I carry my baby inside, plus bag/changebag etc, and get her outdoor clothes off while trying to order a cup of coffee, pay for it, introduce myself to a bunch of total strangers etc?
It's a ghastly time for many new mothers, so don't feel too anomalous - I guarantee you that some of those apparently relaxed mothers on the street are only out there because they are panicked at the idea of never leaving their own four walls again. Or because their babies will only nap in a pram.
I was out every morning with the pushchair all through a particularly snowy winter when we'd just moved from London to a village where we knew no one - I mean, literally pushing my little London Bugaboo through mini-snowdrifts! - because DS, who was eight months when we moved, would only nap in the pushchair. I remember it with total horror.
It gets better, I swear. And four months old is still definitely newborn in terms of the shock of it all.
Most other mothers are faking it. Seriously!
Do you have a Childrens' Centre near you? They were the most 'gentle' baby groups I found. And, I mean this kindly, there was usually at least one mum crying and no-one batted an eye! It was a safe place, very comfortable for breast feeding, with help and support on tap. Some mums would be very chatty, others would sit quietly and let their baby play with the sensory toys. No pressure.
Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to respond - these commiserations and suggestions have brightened my day so much.
Shiteforbrains, I totally sympathise, no one understands why I can't just shower/eat/whatever 'while the baby naps', argh!
BabiesComeWithHats, I really hope your username is a West Wing shout out! <3
Glad to hear you feeling better Betty!
Yes, total WW obsession in this house currently. ON Series 6, for the first time, not quite sure what we;ll do when it finishes!
Hi Betty and girls
Interested to read your post. I went through Icsi to have my little boy who is 8 weeks on Wednesday.
I had been doing fine up until last Monday when I woke up with overwhelming anxiety.
I have never had a problem with getting up and out with him as he is such a good baby but the last week I wake up early with anxiety about looking after him all day, am I playing with him enough, letting him sleep too much etc.
It just feels like I have been hit by a truck at the enormity of it all, I look at my husband who adores him and is so natural and then start to doubt myself and my feelings!
Spoke to my gp about it last week and she has referred me for some cbt as she isn't too concerned about me at this point.
Going to a local self help group associated with pandas this afternoon so hoping that after speaking to other mums I am not going mad!
Have you found the talk therapy helps with your anxiety?
anroga Yes I found a mums pnd support group really helped me. Talking about it with people who feel the same and understand makes you feel less lonely. Good luck.
@anroga, yes, definitely (irt to talking about it) I started seeing a counsellor who specializes in post natal anxiety and whilst it's early days some of the techniques are helping to stop the anxiety spiraling out of control.
I had a lot of the same thoughts as you, and also compare / d myself to my husband and felt really inadequate. My counsellor has helped me understand what's normal reactions etc and has also provided a sounding board which is good to know I'm not totally losing it ;)
Interestingly enough, she said that she often sees a correlation between people who struggled or needed assistance to get pregnant with anxiety and PND (took us 2 years ttc) she thinks its because we tried so hard, and when the baby comes it can be so overwhelming and you often feel a sense of guilt that you wanted it so badly, and now you (not you, but one!) feel you can't cope.
I, too, think there's a link between having assistance to conceive and the pressure people feel under to be the perfect mum.
Please try not to put pressure on yourself to do X or Y. Four months is still teeny tiny, and your baby is making it up as she goes along too. As they develop it will become easier, it honestly will.
Please remember that all those mums you see that seem to be doing everything right are actually mostly bumbling along too, you just get to see them for a tiny snapshot of time when they vaguely have got it together. There'll be several more from each group that haven't made it out if the house for that days session, or got out only for baby to fill their nappy and pram and had to go home again!
Congratulations in your baby. I hope you're feeling better soon.
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