Feel terribly down after meeting with NCT mums :(

(87 Posts)
BotBotticelli Thu 23-May-13 08:37:15

Please can someone reassure me that I am not doing a terrible job as a mum??

I met up with the women from my NCT class yesterday, with all their babies too, and - as usual - I came away from the meet up feeling like an alien: stressed, anxious, upset and like I am some sort of freak cos I am not breezing through this experience of fist-time-motherhood like some kind of pro.

Honestly, they all act as though having their babies has had no affect on their lives whatsover. They talk about taking their babies with them to get their nails/hair done, are planning group outings to Lakeside and other shopping places, they talk about normal things like what they saw on telly last night, etc etc, whereas all I can think/talk about is my son, who seems like a complex puzzle which I a struggling (and failing) to solve every day.

DS1 is almost 6 months old and I am being treated for PND and anxiety, so in my more rational moments I know that my experience of motherhood is bound to be different from theirs, but it just seems so unfair at the moment. Almost half of my year's mat leave is already gone and I don't feel like I have enjoyed a single minute of it sad

Also, I think DS1 is harder work than the other babies....I know this might sound like I am making excuses for finding it so hard (DH certainly seems to think I am), but DS is just such a handful....all the other babies in the group just sit placidly on the floor, shaking a toy, or just drift off to sleep on their mums' laps....DS cannot sit unaided at all yet, and so spends his day rolling around on the floor, screaming his head off every time he rolls onto his tummy so I have to roll him back. Literally we spend who days like this. And he has never just drifted off to sleep, i have to rock him like mad when we're out and about, and he even fights it in the buggy. I could never in a million years take him to a nail salon!! he would be backbending, screaming, grumping within 5 minutes of gettign there, won't just sit in his buggy etc etc.

I just can't shake the fear this morning that I am doing something wrong to make him like this sad I try so hard to keep in entertained and stimulated, I try never to let him see/feel that I feel down, I also try just leaving him to work it out/roll over himself - ie I don't just rush to him everytime he screeches - but he just seems to need so much more help/engagement than the others.

Please can someone reassure me that this is not cos I am doing something wrong? Is it possible that some babies are just harder work than others??

Gah, sorry for long rant, head is all over the place this morning sad

easterbaby Fri 14-Jun-13 16:24:28

Hi Bot. Just wanted to chip in and say that I felt v similar to you at 6mo. The NCT culture is quite unforgiving, but thankfully there are plenty of alternatives out there. I am quite close to some individual mums from our group, but I don't feel I gel with our whole group. I still persevere because each mum 'means well', even if I wouldn't ordinarily choose their company.

Agree with Juniper about Starflower oil and B vitamins. Take an iron supplement if you feel exhausted - I like Floradix. Fresh air and long walks are amazing - helps baby to sleep and tops up your vit D.

Sounds like CBT is helping, which is great news. It made my own PND symptoms worse but I was then diagnosed with postnatal traumatic stress, which needs a different treatment plan. I ended up having eye desensitisation reprocessing, which worked very quickly.

Please don't worry about your maternity leave passing by and you not enjoying it (I did the same!) - it is quite a short period of time. You have a lifetime of mothering (with all the ups AND downs!) ahead of you. Like FrickingFedUp, my mood picked up hugely when I went back to work. I think I'm just made to be a working mother!

I'd really encourage you to live in the moment and savour the good bits. Get as much relaxation as you can (this is where DH can help!) and look after yourself. x

riceandpeas22 Sat 08-Jun-13 10:54:05

Unfortuanlty the NCT have yet to discover that women who have childeren do suffer PND and have problems with breastfeeding. This vital information was never discussed in any of the worshops i attended a couple of year ago. Like you I suffered from PND and was thrown together with a group of women that suffered from 'affluenza' and hid behind a mask when it came to expressing human emotions. If you did ever mention your feelings or difficulties they deemed you as needy as though there was something wrong with you. I stopped attending after 6months as i felt the relationships were going now where and they were just too shallow . My son is now 20 months and I joined lots of local classes and surestart sessions and the mothers i have met are just 'ordinary'.

OP you say that your DH thinks you're looking for excuses. Does he understand your PND? Can someone outside of the situation explain it to him? It sounds like he isn't being very supportive and you need him to be.

FrickingFedUp Sun 26-May-13 10:44:36

No one wants to admit how hard it is at the time, because they feel just like you do - that everyone is managing so much better than them so they have to put on a front.

However I find that if you speak to any older mum with more grown up kids they will happily admit what a nightmare the first few months were!

It is hard, but some babies are definitely worse than others! I had one of those. I remember a friend of mine breezed through the newborn phase and when I had dd I always compared myself to her. However, she had her second and she had reflux just like my dd, and she struggled like mad. So it is not you - you are obviously doing your best!

I know there is massive pressure to "enjoy" your maternity leave, but for me I only started to feel myself again when I went back to work and got some structure back into my life. My dd adores her childminder so I know she is happy with the arrangement too!

It will get easier, I promise! smile

What do you think you are failing at by 8am? I feel confident promising you that you haven't failed. We all have days which could have gone better but our babies forgive and forget though unlikely they've noticed at all.

I wanted to echo what's been said. I have had 3 babies and number 2 was a huge shock for me. I thought i knew what I was doing and how to look after a baby but Dd2 was completely different to DS1 and much much harder. I was taken by surprise and lost all my confidence. i had terrible anxiety and depression because of the lack of sleep and feelings of failure. But things did settle and adjust, I went on to have DS3 who is yet another completely different "type" of baby but this time round I had no expectations and just wing it! The key for me was to accept what I had and give up thinking if I was better everything else would be better. The stage you are in will pass.

Ignore what everyone else is doing. And if you don't feel good after meeting up with some mums don't do it. Mumsnet local or baby groups might work better?

PavlovtheCat Sun 26-May-13 10:23:25

Oh you poor thing. Some babies are more demanding. DD now 6 was a relative breeze compared to a very demanding brother now 3.5. So, you have a mix of a baby who is high needs, along with managing your own emotional wellbeing, and that is tough.

I have not yet read this thread in full, but I wanted to just stress that this is absolutely nothing you are doing wrong as a mother. I would absolutely never have entertained taking DS to a nailbar (if I ever went to such a place!) etc. Maybe I could have with DD, but wouldn't have done it anyway.

And, with their 'perfect' babies that sleep through from 5 days old etc, remember that not all mums are completely honest about their experiences to the outside world, for whatever reason. Sometimes, the illusion of it being a breeze is just that, an illusion, sometimes people have a very good 'social' face that masks a lot.

notjustaprettyface Sun 26-May-13 10:18:19

I meant Glad you are getting help... Stick with it, CBT really can work well.

notjustaprettyface Sun 26-May-13 10:15:34

Your OP could literally have been written by me, I had exactly the same experience while I was on maternity leave with DS. And DH and I used to try and reassure ourselves that DS was just 'spirited'. Now he is one, I am back at work and life is a lot easier - as soon as he learnt to crawl he was just so much happier, almost over night and now I would go so far as to consider him quite 'easy'. But from about 4 months to 7 months he was incredibly hard work and I can see with hindsight that I was miserable. I began to dread meeting my NCT group, their babies were just so calm! Particular lowlights included an afternoon tea that I had to leave early because DS just cried and whinges while their babies sat calmly on their mum's knees with a toy, and numerous meet ups at our houses when their babies would lie next to each other on the floor playing happily while mine whinged. He just whinged and whinged for three solid months and it was relentless and exhausting and awful, and to this day I have no idea what was wrong. But what I wish I could go back and tell myself now was that it did pass, it wasn't my fault or his and that I wasn't doing anything wrong. Having a baby is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I was so unprepared! But as other posters have said, it passes, and you forget. Ignore the smug mothers, I have never understood this compulsion among new mums to lie and compete, it is so unsupportive and unhelpful. Surround yourself with people who make you feel supported and un-judged, you will feel so much better. I'm glad you are getting better and I hope you feel better soon.

No am glad I asked chick, you need to be open and honest about your feelings. Sometimes it's easier on here.

Are you on any medication for your anxiety? I would have bad anxiety, really tight chest, were I not on citalopram. I've tried coming off them but I end up with the same symptoms again so am staying on them long term. But like you say the CBT has helped yours so perhaps the other feelings need addressing?

I'm must worse before AF. Hormones are a bitch. Are you taking oils? I take starflower in double dose and that helps. Plus a good multivitamin. What's your diet like? I know if I eat well and drink plenty of water, get lots of exercise, it helps me. Do you go for long walks with ds in the buggy? What about buying one of those off road buggies?

I hope you have a good Sunday and the sun is shining where you are? Keep posting.

BotBotticelli Sat 25-May-13 20:11:39

Hey Juniper, had a pretty low day today sad

The good news is I think the CBT I have been having seems to be helping a lot with my anxiety, but it's like now that's gone away, a horrible low mood beneath it has been revealed. I couldn't stop crying this morning and just felt really disgusted with myself cos I couldn't bear to deal with DS crying anymore sad I think he might be teething again and he has a bad cold so can't breathe and I just can't seem to make him happy at the moment.

Thank god DH was here cos its the weekend so he basically took care of him this morning.

This sounds awful but sometimes the relentlessness of looking after DS just does my head in. I wake up every morning determined that this is going to be the day where I take everything DS throws at me in my stride and I ha failed at that by 0800am this morning sad

Worst thing is I feel sorry for DH...he has lost his funny wife and been left with this crying monster instead and I think he is running out of suggestions to help me when I feel so low.

AF is due on Monday so that might be part of it, but I can't put all of this down to hormones.

Bet you wish you hadn't asked now, eh?! :-S

How are you doing Bot?

MERLYPUSS Fri 24-May-13 12:17:53

God. I can so sympathise. I was older by 10 years than any of the other NCT mums in my class. They all had John lewis/Kath kidson prams and changing bags and were immaculately dressed and so were their singleton babies (that slept through from day one according to them).
I turned up in my puke stained primark special, after 2 hrs sleep with my mahoosive twin buggy and on cue one of the boys would do a poomageddon which required a full change. I usually ran out of wipe/clothes/nappies/patience and went home after a 'relaxing' coffee feeling like a complete waste of space.
I hooked up with a girl from NHS anti natal classes who had her head screwed on. The world suddenly seemed normal after that when I realised that they had probably worked hard to look quoiffed and manicured and doing that was just one of the many jobs that took up time that could be spent with my boys (and cleaning up poo grin )

CatherineofMumbles Fri 24-May-13 10:32:15

Agree with the poster about it being a self-selecting group, many stay away because they can't stand the smugness! My DS was like yours, and I had a very unsupportive DH - the other mums DHs were of course all perfect. I realised it was making me feel worse going, so I stopped, but I did meet one friend there who was more like me ( and the sort of person I would have been friends with even if we didn't have the baby connection). At least now there is MN, I wish it had been around then grin ( And my Ds is now a lovely boy of 15 who has been a delight (not just us - everyone tell sis this....grin) since about the age of six months when he finally stopped screaming grin)

LikeTheStuffYouHangUp Fri 24-May-13 10:28:35

20 minutes! Just think what you could achieve in 20 minutes! I wish. My babies wouldn't settle at all without bein held.

nancerama Fri 24-May-13 10:27:04

Iwillorderthefood - DH thought taking DS would calm him and give them some bonding time. DH arrived home an hour later exhausted and embarrassed from chasing a naked angry crawler all over the room.

They didn't go back.

MrsBodger Fri 24-May-13 10:11:38

Just remembered, when dd1 was nearly 6 months old and I was about to go back to work, went to visit a friend whose first baby was v close in age. She was looking harrassed: "I don't know what's wrong with him this morning. Usually he's very happy to just sit there, but today he won't settle for more than 20 minutes!"

I had to say mine had never settled for 20 minutes . . .

Baby Sensory website. That looks great.

nancerama Fri 24-May-13 09:57:23

Is there a Baby Sensory class near you? It was the only thing that held my monkey's attention. I have very find memories. Give them a call and try a taster session.

I'm sure there'll be MNers near to you? I've been to a London meet up mind you, came from the north. There's some right characters down there wink

Iwillorderthefood Fri 24-May-13 08:47:26

I had the spirited baby in my NCT group too. Topped with failing to bf, but feeding EBM. I was always sorting bottles out, and having to rush home to express and sterilise bottles. Had very small window to do anything as had to keep on top of milk supply. The others all just chatted and looked at me with pity as I struggled with a baby who would not be put down, or left even for a second.

However, once she started to wean, there was a reversal, everyone else were complaining about how hard it all was, and due to all the hassle I had with feeding in the first place, this bit was a breeze.

Oh I also knocked the baby massage teachers "money plant" over and broke the pot, whilst the others were all serenely breast feeding as well. Could not do anything right, although she slept ok. My second one, was amazing in the day, but terrible at night.

I hope things start to get better for you soon. Hopefully bit by bit things will start to ease up for you.

BotBotticelli Fri 24-May-13 08:31:53

You're right Munxx, this really is mumsnet at it's best - what a wonderful amazing supportive bunch of ladies you all are. I wish you were all in my NCT group!!!

I am just the other side of the river MilkyMocha, near Bexley in SE London...which is another reason why the planned trip to wander around Lakeside is equally a no-go for me....don;t really fancy getting stuck in rush hour traffic over the Dartford Bridge with my carseat-hating DS screaming in the back seat!

Kalidasa, as above, I am in SE London zone 5, so probably pretty much as far from you in NW London as you can get....although I suppose better than being in Glasgow or something! PM me if you fancy arranging some sort of meet in central London,...although have only taken DS into central London on the train once so far.

milkymocha Thu 23-May-13 15:06:10

You mentioned Lakeside OP, where are you located ? I live close to there smile

HappyJoyful Thu 23-May-13 14:53:11

all having vaginas, and having recently birthed a baby, i don't really have anything in common with those ladies

OP, this was my lightbulb moment and helped me feel a darn sight better - I suddenly realised one day that if I wasn't enjoying the meet ups then why go (as other's have commented) I think I felt programmed for a while to do so, and it was supportive / helpful in the early months, but by 6 months and about to return to work (whilst all of them were still swanning around) I was ready as was my also equally spirited wouldn't sit still dd to go off and explore further and to and do the things I enjoyed doing. I found sanity and wisdom and much more enjoyment with friends that already had kids and with close friends who didn't even. It was breath of fresh air and a relief to suddenly feel like this weight was lifted off my shoulders!

Go forth and enjoy and relax and relinquish yourself of the nct 'obligation' I really wish you well and hopefully you'll feel empowered and liberated to just say not to a meet up (doesn't mean you don't keep in touch) just sort of plan your own thing for a while.

It does get easier

Munxx Thu 23-May-13 14:52:47

Yup high needs baby here too!

What a lovely supportive thread, mn at its best.

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