A letter to the ‘new mum’ version of me
Dear ‘new mum’ me,
Hello. How’s your day been?
I wonder how many times today you’ve asked yourself why you’re getting it all wrong? Too many to count, right?
Because that’s why I’m writing to you. To tell you that you don’t need to second guess yourself.
You’re not getting it wrong. And I’ve got living proof.
I’m sitting here with the seven-year-old version of the baby you’re holding. The one who was attached to your boob day and night. And right now he’s pestering me for another snack.
Turns out he is just a hungry boy with an insane metabolism.
And you knew it. Deep down you always suspected that he wasn’t just sucking away for comfort.
Yet you still felt guilty that you couldn’t get him to go longer between feeds. And you never let yourself fully enjoy that bonding time, did you? You were too busy fretting that there was something wrong. There had to be a problem with your milk supply or something.
You kept telling yourself you weren’t good enough. And you were. You were all he needed.
And while we’re on the subject, stop beating yourself up about the fact that you stopped breastfeeding. It was the right decision. He still grew up to have a robust immune system. Besides, if you hadn’t given up when you did, you’d have never conceived his little brother, and they adore each other (well, most of the time, anyway).
I know at times you feel like everyone else is doing a better job than you. All the other mums look so sure of themselves, don’t they? Like they’ve got it all sussed. But the truth is they don’t. They haven’t got a clue what they’re doing either. And, crucially, they don’t know how to look after your baby better than you do.
Remember that woman in the supermarket queue who laid into you for letting your baby suck his thumb? She was wrong. It never became a bad habit. One day, when he was 18 months old, he just stopped doing it. Okay, it was down to luck more than anything else, but that doesn’t matter. She had no right to judge you. No one has the right to judge you, so stop listening to them.
Their opinions really don’t matter. In fact your biggest regret will be that you thought they did, and that you let those opinions influence your parenting choices.
You might not think it, but you are totally nailing this parenting lark. I just wish you’d give yourself a bit more credit.
Lastly, because I know that no one’s said it to you today, thank you for all the hard work you’re putting in. I know you’re knackered. I know at times you feel so overwhelmed that you fear you’ll combust. But trust me, it’s all worth it.
Your future self