We arrive home with our newborn, the oxytocin high of birth wearing off and the reality of being entirely responsible for a whole other human setting in fast. We’re still navigating the first few weeks of sleep deprived fog, sore bits, sore boobs, establishing feeding when we’re then bombarded with an array of classes and activity groups we “should” be doing with our baby.
I went to baby groups and no one spoke to me. I was right back to being that kid in the playground with no one to play with. But it turned out no one was really welcome as themselves; we were just there as someone’s mum. I quickly realised I wanted conversations beyond developmental milestones and sleep. I couldn’t stand the comparison and smug competition. WTAF was this? New mothers and parents making each other feel more shit instead of just listening and empathising. But they weren’t being malicious.
This is what society, the fucking patriarchy mainly, has conditioned us to do. Told us that we have to conform to a load of bullshit expectations. Get our “pre baby body back”, have ourselves and our baby looking immaculate in cute outfits, have a clean and tidy house etc. etc.
We’ve been pitted against each other in some complex game and half the time we don’t even know it.
Of course there are some amazing spaces for new mothers. In my experience they are the ones where everyone is acknowledged. A hello, a smile, the offer of a cuppa (pre covid times obvs). Where there is no judgement if you use cloth nappies, if you breastfeed, if you bottle feed. Where you can turn up in trackies with the baby vom you forgot about on your shoulder and your hair in yesterday’s messy bun. These are the spaces and groups that meet YOUR needs not where you feel you have to go to meet your baby’s needs. Because what your baby really needs is a mother that is seen and heard and growing in confidence to do it whatever way works for them.