In all my pregnancy research, I didn’t come across a single blog post or article talking about the day you decide to venture out into the world with your newborn.
For starters, I’m dealing with some serious baby blues. Days are more manageable than evenings. As night falls, so do all the doubts about my parenting skills and everything else that goes along with it. I know it will pass, I know Eloise will become stronger and bigger, no longer so tiny and fragile. I lie awake in anticipation most nights. Hoping the worries will go away. On top of this, I have suddenly grown fearful of going ‘outside’. The world seems different, so scary. I am guessing each parent will have different anxieties and some of you might be feeling pretty much as I do.
The things that scare me the most about going out are silly things like, what if I forget something at home? I look like a mess, is anyone judging me? Will baby get cold outside? Will she get hot outside? What if I need to use the toilet? What if I can’t take her to the toilet with me? What if she needs feeding or changing? What if someone doesn’t like me walking around with a pram? What if I can’t use the pram properly? What if she cries and I am unable to console her? Will people think I am a bad mother? Oh the list, it goes on… It was incredibly difficult to even muster up the courage to step outside the front of my bedroom door, let alone the front door! I have my mum bringing me meals, medications and helping around the house. At night, John brings in his A game and plays the role of Super Dad while I try to nap as and when I can. Even with all the support, I am scared.
After days of hiding inside the house and running off to the hospital for a couple of days to get treatment for Eloise’s Jaundice, I did manage to leave the house with my entire family next to me. I mean my parents, my in laws, husband, dog and most importantly, Eloise. Although the walk was to the harbourside which is less than 5 minutes from my house, it was still a walk. With it being a Saturday, there were quite a few people around to add to my anxiety. Even my army/family failed to make me feel safe. I had a brave face on and I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak as we left the house. Deep inside me, I had doubts about my mothering skills. I wanted to give the baby to my family and run away. It felt like I wasn’t ready, I didn’t think I would get through my feelings and be the kind of mother I imagine to be. So many doubts…
We all sat by the harbour for a while and I had the baby right next to me in her pram. I didn’t touch her, but kept looking in to make sure she was breathing. I was trembling inside, even the sight of small children learning to sail didn’t make me feel better. Usually, this would make me daydream about watching my child learn to sail someday. Instead, the water around me felt like it kept rising and rising, edging towards me little by little. In the end, I had to leave Eloise with my family and John accompanied me home. I just couldn’t be out anymore. It felt as if the world was closing in on me and I also needed to use the toilet! After I got home, I had a sense of success in my heart, it felt good for having left the house. Whilst the walk wasn’t a complete success, it was better than I expected. Better enough to give me the courage to maybe try it again in a couple of days when there are fewer people about.
Things do feel worse when you stay in, they make you doubt yourself even more. Even though my first walk was surrounded with s very supporting family, I struggled, a lot. I didn’t even want to push the pram! My mother in law was happy to do it though 🙂 I purposely wrote half of this post and left it in my drafts before publishing it. I wanted to let a couple of weeks pass to see how my mindset would change, and I am glad I did. Granted I still feel worried and sad most of time, I do feel more confident. With every passing day, I feel stronger mentally and physically. So will you. These words may not mean much, but trust me, things will get better. You will feel better, just like I am feeling now.