Written by Deborah Ann Gajewski for her blog, Following Little Footsteps.
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This time last year we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little boy, not that we knew it was a little boy at the time as we had decided to wait until the birth to find out (how Mrs Has-to-Know-Everything-in-Advance- Can’t-Leave-anything-to-Chance here managed to do this I will never know!).
Fast-forward a year and here I am, waiting for him to wake from his nap so that I can go to meet one of the Mummy friends I made on the numerous mother and baby classes we attended, along with her little boy. I am calm, not stressing about Bernie starting to cry mid-coffee or whether he has / will have had enough sleep to see him through. I couldn’t even have imagined this scenario in the early days!
I remember the first class we ever went to. It was a baby massage class and I was SO nervous – my stomach felt like it was literally doing backflips over and over… What if he starts screaming, what if I can’t calm him, what if everyone thinks I’m a bad Mum for not being able to settle my baby, what if he wants a feed mid-massage, and the ‘biggy’…what if everyone can tell that I simply don’t know what I’m doing!!! Because that is how I felt 99% of the time!
I had booked the course along with a few others months before as I knew that if I had booked them and paid for them I would have to go. My frugal nature would not let me waste all that money! And I also knew that if I had simply left it until after the birth, I probably would have come up with excuse after excuse to try and put it off. And this is one massive tip I would give to new mums who might be a little nervous and feeling a little alone on this journey. Book the classes in advance, before you let yourself wriggle out of it; you’ll come to realise that everyone is in the same boat!
Because the reality was that there was no crying or screaming (not from Bernie or me anyway!), no needing to whip a boob out for a feed (not that it would have mattered in any event as there were other mums there doing it!) and no panicking because the whole thing wasn’t going to plan! And even if it hadn’t gone smoothly, the best thing I could have done was go to the class because I learnt that no one was judging me or my parenting skills and if there had been pandemonium I would have dealt with it and would have been just fine.
All the other Mummies were lovely and I have made some good Mummy friends from the classes we have attended. It is amazing to see how their little ones are developing and being able to share tips and learn from each other is so encouraging.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like a lightbulb moment after that first class. I would still make sure he had had a nappy change and a feed right before setting off for any class and if he hadn’t had a nap I knew it was likely he would be whingey (as I experienced in one yoga with baby class and, yes, I did deal with it and he did settle in the end!) which meant I would usually leave the house an hour early so that he would fall asleep in the car and at least get some sleep before the class begun! My thought process was that at least if I ticked all those boxes off, there was less chance of a meltdown taking place!
But as time has gone on and I have gotten to know him more and all his little ways (and realised that babies are just babies and they all have good and bad moments, in private and in public!) it has become so much easier. I am so glad that I booked all those classes and got used to having to deal with things when they didn’t quite go to plan. I definitely got the practice in and, the reality was, once I had done it, I knew I could do it again.
Now, I can go and meet a fellow Mummy for coffee without stressing beforehand because if he does start screaming or there is a poop explosion, I know I can deal with it.
So for any new mums out there who feel a little lost or feel like you don’t have a clue, or are nervous about getting out and about with your baby, the best thing you can do is book a class for the both of you (there are free ones out there and some places even offer taster classes so you can see if you like it before committing financially). In all likelihood you will make some new Mummy friends, entertain your little one and boost your confidence. No one is there to judge you. After all, let’s face it, we are all really just winging it!