I'm really feeling sorry for all those becoming new mothers in Lockdown. Whether it was last year or this year maternity leave isn't what you always anticipated it would be, and with that comes a sense of disappointment. I think often as Mothers we are made to feel that we should be so grateful for a healthy child that there is no room to moan or complain about anything else. Of course we are lucky to have healthy babies, to live in a country where maternity leave is a given and healthcare is free to access for all. But maternity leave is something that you think about from the moment you plan to start a family, often there has been months of saving in preparation for you to be able to take this precious time off work.
You dream of attending baby groups, sensory classes, baby massage, swimming lessons. Just going for a coffee with a friend is now a distant memory. The idea that you would be living at soft play and making frequent visits to the farm now seems an alien notion. Instead you are wondering how you are going to survive 9 months at home alone keeping a tiny human alive without the support of friends & family.
So much of parenting is learned just by watching, I remember with my firstborn watching older friends and family members with him and copying how they would hold or settle him. Similarly, parents often comment that they pick up so many tips from me during their newborn photoshoot and go home more confident in how to handle and settle their new baby. I am often referred to as "The Baby Whisperer" and while this is a huge compliment it's not something that anyone is born with. Handling babies is 50% experience and 50% confidence. Both of these things can be learned just by spending time with other Mothers, Grandmothers and Aunties. You have been robbed of all of these things and it's ok to feel a little sad about it. It's ok to not love every single day at home alone with your baby. It's ok to be fed up of nappy changes and night feeds with no adult company inbetween to bolster your days. It's ok to be bored out of your skull. These little bundles are super cute to look at, but their conversation is not upto much. It's ok to admit that you're not ok.
I saw this post on a friend's Instagram last week, I've since seen it shared over and over, and it really hit me just how invisible so many of you are feeling. I want you to know that I see you. I get that you're frustrated, I get that you feel fed up. I totally understand that you feel robbed of the maternity leave you thought you had. I wish I could wave a magic wand and change it for you all.
Unfortunately I can't do that, but I can be here - and promise you that my inbox is always open to anyone who needs to rant, judgement free.