5 things I wish I knew before my first mother's group
Here's what I know. Even though I considered myself to be a pretty confident, self assured 31 year old walking in to that first day of mother's group, I suddenly felt more like a 14 year old starting at a new school.
I immediately felt unsure about what I was wearing (there were so many choices in my postnatal wardrobe after all ha ha), I convinced myself that everyone already had friends in the group and were disinterested in making more (I missed week one), and I cursed myself for not having brought the right 'things' (everyone else bought a blanket for their baby to lay on, come on Paige!!). As the nurse introduced herself, I tried hard to listen, but mostly I was fussing over my lovely baby, praying to any God that might be willing to listen that she didn't cry.
If I had a chance to go back in time, this is what I would tell new mum me.
Chances are, no one is judging you. I mean, they absolutely could be, but mostly everyone is in their own world, worrying about their own babies, trying to listen to the nurse, or daydreaming about sleep or food. The ones who are judging you will judge you no matter what you do, so try to let that go - there's a good chance they'll be too sleep deprived to remember much next week anyway.
Your baby is allowed to cry. Make that EXPECTED. This is not a library, it's a mums group. Babies cry because that's the only way they can communicate, and some babies really like communicating. Just breathe and chat to your baby. You're allowed to walk out for a while and take a break and you don't have to feel 'bad' for disrupting the group (I'd put money on the fact that everyone's baby will lose it at some point)
Remember everyone is struggling with something. Just because the Mum next to you has freshly blow dried hair and homemade looking snacks to share, it does not mean she is unfazed by being a new mum. Maybe her battle is sleep, or feeling unsupported by her husband, or maybe she is lonely or bored or missing her old life. However people appear, rest assured that no one has it all together.
Just be there. As in, in the room, in the moment, with your baby. Try not to be so in your head that you miss what is happening in front of you - you and your baby are out meeting other new mums. That's pretty great!
When it's over, give yourself a pat on the back. Showing up anywhere, roughly on time is a huge deal in those early days (actually that continues to be a huge deal for me now with a 2 and a 4 year old) and you got here. Take yourself out for coffee. This is a little win well worth celebrating.
Picture: 2016 me feeding in the backseat of the car #glamorous