New Mum Anxiety
Whilst I was pregnant I read, Happy Mum Happy Baby By Giovanna Fletcher. I found it to be a brilliant book for a first time Mum to read to realise that you’re all in the same boat.
A part of the book talks about when you’re out in public with your baby or children and they start acting up or crying whether it be food, tiredness, hot or for a different reason you haven’t quite figured out yet and you start getting that anxiety where you feel the judgement stares from strangers or getting that unwanted advice.
When reading this while pregnant, I didn’t think this would be me, not in a big headed kind of way but in a I’m a confident person and I don’t stress out over small things kind of way.
As it turns out I don’t think no matter how confident you may be, the “Mum sweats” will overcome you at some point whilst you’re in the fourth trimester/sleep deprived/deer in headlights/postnatal fog phase.
Mine have come in various different locations, normally when I’m on my own and not with my partner. When I’ve been out alone with friends (without kids), ones with similar aged babies, trips to the supermarket, out with family. The feeling of people watching the crying baby where nothing is working gave me such anxiety. I worried that people would think I wasn’t cut out for being a Mum, worried people would think I was starving him (normally he wasn’t hungry during these fits) and I worried no one wanted me around.
Reality is most people will turn around to a crying baby but are not judging you in a bad way but are feeling your pain. It’s hard with a screaming baby to look outside that bubble but I’ve managed to do it a couple of times where I’ve seen a sympathetic smile flashed my way. I now make a conscious effort if I hear a baby crying to throw that Mum a smile because a simple act like that can go a long way when that Mum is having a bad day or is suffering with PND like myself.
One bad day I found myself taking a trip to Aldi in a bid to calm a crying baby down who was struggling with his sore gums and being over tired, he had just had a bottle so I knew he wasn’t hungry. He was screaming down each aisle so I decided to go to back to the car to have a drive. I was getting really anxious and hot with the situation of having a screaming baby not willing to being soothed when I heard two women in their 40s whisper behind me that “they didn’t understand what they teach young mums today” and “that I should really just go home and feed my baby”. If I wasn’t on the verge of tears and panic attacks I would of told them where to stick it. When I got to the tills a woman came up to the pushchair and put her hand on my shoulder and told me not to worry and tomorrow would be a better day.
That small gesture went further than maybe the woman thought it would and that’s all any new Mum needs rather than unhelpful suggestions that the baby might be hungry. I’ve had a few other women be supportive where they’ve rocked the pushchair whilst I packed my shopping into the car or gave some words of reassurance when I’ve felt like the only one in the world feeling this way .
To any mother’s or fathers that have felt this way: you’re not alone, tomorrow will always be better and most people are supportive to your situation. A flash of a smile or ask if the mums okay will go a long way and be wildly appreciated.