It will get better
One of the big things I hear mums told is, ‘It gets better at 3 months’.
This then moves onto 4 months, 5 months, 6 months etc. You get the picture? We’re encouraging mums to wish that first year away. Why oh why do we say these things? What happens if for that mum things don’t get better at 3 months or whatever particular time frame we choose? What then for that mum who was wishing from reprieve from whatever was driving her to the depths of despair?
Where does she go and how does she resolve the pain? What happens if whatever she wants to get better is in fact part of normal parenting? The first year is full of change in development, feeding, sleep, play and emotional needs. At times it can feel like a rollercoaster, when it’s good it’s mind blowingly incredible and when it’s rough it’s the pits. Parenting needs a lot of normalizing and we need to listen to mums properly and I mean really listen. They’re often not looking for solutions and yet how often are they given unsolicited advice?
True story from a new mum
Here is a typical scenario and a true story. New parents are taking their baby daughter out for a lovely stroll on the meandering footpaths of inner city Sydney. Their baby has woken and started to cry, they stop and try and comfort her. A lady has shouted out to them, from her doorway, ‘If I was you I’d not stop that pram. I’d keep on walking. That’s the best thing to do with that baby’.
Did they actually ask for her advice? Not one bit and yet they got it. It’s things like this that can chip away at your confidence. You start to doubt yourself as a parent. Should you have stopped the pram or kept on walking? And the more it happens the less confidence you have. Never mind that the ‘lady’ doesn’t know you or your baby. Suddenly your baby has become public property and other people will comment on her and advise you despite having no professional expertise.
You are doing just great
As a new parent do you answer back at all? Most new parents won’t, they’ll just hurry on by and hope she doesn’t shout anything else at them. You’ll most probably go another route next time and you’ll definitely carry on walking past her house. What that lady may not realize is that this can be the only time you’ve left the house all week. You might have postnatal depression or anxiety and your baby may have colic or reflux. You might just be holding it together by a thread.
That one comment may be enough to stop you leaving the house for the next few weeks. Does this sound familiar? So how do you protect yourself from this unsolicited advice? How do you get the confidence back that seems to have left the building? Hopefully you have an amazing partner who gives you the biggest hug and says ‘don’t listen, you’re doing just great’, because do you know what? You really are doing an amazing job and nobody knows what your baby needs like you do. I’d like you to remind yourself of that fact every single moment of every single day.
Because it’s the truth xoxoxo