Once your beautiful new little person has been brought into the world and you have got used to (I use that term loosely) your new life as a mum, you start to get cabin fever and realise that there’s a whole new world to be discovered.
You are on maternity leave and your pre-baby friends are carrying on as normal but you are off during the week and you have only Jeremy Kyle and a small baby for company.
You get bored. This is normal. It’s a little bit shit.
You decide to venture out – maybe to your local supermarket, and it may take you three hours to get out of the house; but you get there. You are happy that you are out, buying toilet cleaner and useless store cupboard ingredients. You are living the dream.
I can remember my biggest challenge was pushing the pram up a huge hill to my local supermarket. Sounds lame but four weeks post C-section I was not in a good way and I craved a nose around a supermarket. I even visited a local bathroom showroom in my post-partum non-driving boredom.
I made it up the big hill, my insides didn’t fall out and I only pissed myself once.
And then eight weeks post-op I was given the green light; I could drive.
Cue Hallelujahs and fireworks. I was so happy.
I could go and do sensory classes, baby groups, and all the other shit that Other Mums do.
I was mega excited for this. In my head I could imagine how we would meet up every Wednesday for a Caramel Latte and a panini, and discuss how amazing our little cherubs were.
Then we would go to Parent & Baby Groups and meet more new mums; all the time wearing our mummy-uniform of jeans and Converse and life would be great.
I got quite the shock.
Firstly; motherhood isn’t easy. Babies don’t sleep a lot initially and neither do you. I was tired and could barely speak let alone venture out. Plus the prospect of meeting someone whose baby slept through from three days old – I’d have probably smacked the fucker. I wanted to know how Other Mums always looked so amazing and I was a spotty, wobbly, greasy post-partum mess.
Secondly; maternity pay is shocking. I could barely afford to stretch to a bottle of water let alone a Caramel Latte and any groups I wanted to do. Save money – stay in, eat mouldy bread, splurge on wine.
Thirdly; Other Mums. I shall elaborate.
I don’t like to stereotype, in fact I fucking hate stereotyping.
But meeting Other Mums is scary as fuck.
As a first time mum you don’t know what the hell you are doing. It’s like building sixteen flat-pack wardrobes with no instructions while wearing mittens.
You think giving birth is scary. Worse than that, your first post-baby poo, remember how scary that was?
Walking into a group of Other Mums is terrifying. Had I wrapped my baby right? Was I feeding him okay? Did I look okay? Shit – they are all so skinny, they look like they haven’t had a baby. I look like I’ve eaten twenty babies.
And they were already in little clusters of friend-groups. And they looked about as friendly as a hungry shark.
Nope, groups weren’t for me.
I decided to use Facebook to find other mums who lived nearby in the hope I would meet someone who I might click with. Someone that would understand and laugh with me.
Someone who wouldn’t judge me when I said I’d not changed my milk-stained bra for five days straight. Or wouldn’t condemn me when I openly dissed my child for shitting on my sofa and not sleeping.
I was very lucky – I met a friend who felt the same as me when our babies were four months old. She wanted to try new classes and groups but dreaded walking in alone. We went for coffee and hit it off – we sat and chatted for hours, it was lovely.
She came to my wedding four months later and we still speak as often as life allows.
But I did meet some rather strange people.
There was Cling-on Carrie, a mum of two who wanted to go everywhere with me and turned up on my doorstep daily. Our brief friendship ended when she got upset that I had met up with one of my pre-baby friends without her. Strange.
There was Two-sheds Tania, a mum of one whose son was a week younger than mine. She took great joy in telling me how her child had recited the alphabet at three months old and other ridiculousness. She would also tell me how poor I was and how bad I was for buying things second-hand. Last I heard, her little brainbox had passed 17 GCSEs aged two. Or some other bollocks.
There was Anxious Annie, bless her. Anxious Annie would spontaneously combust if she saw you do anything that wasn’t by the book or recommended. We fell out when I told her I’d give my colic-ridden baby gripe water the day before he could officially have it.
(names and stories changed and tweaked to protect true identities – Cling-on Carrie knows where I live and I’m not risking another protection order)
Jokes aside, it’s ok if you don’t want to do baby classes and groups – if you want to hide away and stay indoors and get excited about a trip to the supermarket, it’s fine.
Moral of the story? Go out if you want to. Stay in if you want to. Don’t feel ashamed if you fail to make it to baby sensory because you got pissed on half a glass of Sauvignon Blanc last night.
Have fun, enjoy being a new mum!
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