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Thread: Feeling blah, but should I admit it?

  1. #1

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    Default Feeling blah, but should I admit it?

    I have been thinking about this for a while.

    For me, parenting has been an amazing journey, but it has been darned rough at times, and I have cried a lot and questioned my own self worth more than once.

    I am coming to terms with this sense of disappointment that its not the huggies commercial I thought it would be but...I find it hard to know how to respond to those questions "how are you going? Are you loving it?"

    Am I loving it? Um..I love DD. And I love DH and I feel I want more babies, but...being a mum sucks sometimes, and I feel kinda crap that this is my reality.

    The thing is I am not sure if it actually helps anyone to say this. I have posted elsewhere about the lack of honesty and openness I have found amongst other women, and I am wondering if I need to start prescribing to that code.

    Do pregnant women and mummies need to hear about my crap? Does it actually help anyone?



    The reason I ask is I am having lunch with a pregnant friend this week, and seeing another colleague who has a similar aged baby (who I haven't met yet), and I am starting to 'prepare' in my mind how to tackle it.

    Has anyone else encountered this before? Am I just trying to control their perception of me too much?

    WWYD?????

  2. #2

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    It depends.

    sucky answer I know. But it really does. Some pg women are just completely sick of hearing 'horror' stories, whilst some get upset that noone ever told them how hard it would be.

    Honesty is the best policy, but it is a matter of how honest you think you need to be. Don't say everything is fine if it isn't, but equally if the other person doesn't react well to your honesty, maybe don't go into too much detail either.

    Hope that makes sense.

  3. #3

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    I have been a mum for nearly 15 years and I still don't know how to handle this properly. I think essentially you have to deal with each scenario differently as it arises. With your pregnant friend you will have to gauge how receptive she is to a bit of reality... she might just not be interested. I have learned that you can't make people interested sometimes. Maybe in times past people would sit around the fire and share their stories and realise that the challenges were similar and therefore be more supportive... but I think that these days people want to be allowed to dream more. We get very protective of our dreams and hopes for the future. We are told that we have so much more control these days (than in times past) and so therefore we are more determined that this new control will mean that no one can tell us that something might not happen... "by God we'll make it happen". I don't know if I'm explaining it very well. Of course not all people are like that. There are still realists and people who are open-minded and actually curious about the lives of others... but most of us are very self absorbed and more focused on we want rather than hearing of other people's troubles. Some people can get quite resentful if you bring the mood down... they call it "negativity". sorry for the ramble. It's a very thought provoking issue. I don't have a definitive answer other than to assess your friend's receptivity. Try to avoid being too annoyed if she wants to live the dream... that's fair enough. Maybe, if she is not receptive, wait for another chance to debrief... BB is always for good it I'll always listen LOL

  4. #4

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    it really depends on who you are talking to as to how to best approach it. i'm open in saying that my DD has some fantastic days - and she has days where i wonder what the hell i signed on for! i don't put it quite so bluntly with most people, but i don't say everything is a bed of roses when it's not. i don't try to pain a picture that being a mum is perfect - it's not - but i do let people know that i appreciate even the bad days because it means i AM a mum.

    as to the colleague with a baby the same age - if they say their life is perfect and they don't have bad days - i think you'll find they're lying!

    be open - no point bottling stuff up - but don't be negative kwim?

  5. #5

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    Yep... if every day is "bliss" then they are lying

    I think if you are having a rough time of it and really need to let it out it might help to phrase it like "geeze I'm having a struggle with such-and-such this week... I know it'll pass but it's hard when your in it". Or "I'm not saying this will happen for you when you have your baby but...." KWIM? If you can reinforce that your intent is not to bring her down with warnings of doom then she might be a bit more supportive.

  6. #6

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    I am not a parent yet, but as a pregnant woman expecting my technically first bring home baby, I am always so greatful to hear both the good and the bad side of parenting. I feel it keeps me grounded and in a way a little prepared that yes there are going to be some really bad days ahead but also some really wonderful and rewarding ones.

    I don't think you need to go into specific details unless your friend asks but I also agree with the others that openess and honesty is the way to go.

    FWIW - my ideas/ideals have changed dramatically over my 2 years of being in here, it was literally the reality check I needed before I really started to venture on the motherhood journey.

    Sorry I cannot help from a parenting perspective just wanted to add one from the pregnancy perspective

    Nae x x x

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    I agree wholeheartedly with Bath and the others about gauging someone's receptivity and putting things in perspective.

    I had my first baby at 38 and TBH, I was sick to death of reading/hearing horror stories. I honestly thought that babies cried all day and I wouldn't get ANY sleep. I certainly didn't have a rosy view of motherhood and expected life with a newborn to be hell.

    It wasn't but I think I went too far the other way and gave the impression to everyone that life was fantastic. Which it wasn't either - it was just much, much better than the very low expectations I had.

    I didn't talk about the things I found hard because I thought I was doing brilliantly. I struggled on whilst being in a lot of physical pain and without much help - no family and partner who was a shiftworker.

    Of course, I fell in a bit of a heap later and all my friends could not believe it when I started ranting and raving about how crap I felt because they thought my life was rosy (because I hadn't told them any different).

    It would have been much better for my sanity and my relationship(s) if I had just honestly explained my feelings more from the start. But the starting point is understanding those feelings myself. I don't think I allowed myself to feel certain things which meant that I couldn't explain them.

    So what I'm trying to get at is a bit of balance is good. If there's a next time for me, I'll definitely try to smell the roses a lot like last time but not to the exclusion of seeing the warts, if that makes sense.

  8. #8

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    I am very close to a lady that had her baby same time I did and the reason it didn't take long to get there is that we quite often have weeks a little more tedious and quite openly vent about it. There is nothing tabu about showing true emotion these days and you might find that the women might be relieved and share the same situations they've experienced as you have. I know how you feel though, sometimes it can be rough when bubs is a pain in the rear but having a cry (or a mega tantrum like I did last week) does help. don't bottle it up. If you are really worried about talking to them though i think you should go to a counciler (sp?) because they do listen and they aren't just for people with mental illness. they can let you vent anonomously and they make a world of difference.

  9. #9

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    As a mother you are supposed to say your child is wonderful, perfect, the most amazing thing you have ever done with your life. You aren't supposed to admit that as a newborn he or she was actually quite ugly (in retrospect, of course ) or that sometimes you don't feel like picking them up when they cling to you. But you are not abnormal if you feel these things.

    Anna I have quoted this passage from Adrienne Rich's book, "Of Woman Born : Motherhood as Experience and Institution" so many times I think it should be in my signature:

    My children bring me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience. It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness. Sometimes I seem to myself, in my feelings towards these tiny guiltless beings, a monster of selfishness and intolerance ... I love them. But its in the enormity and inevitability of this love that the sufferings lie.

  10. #10

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    Great snippet Rory I can very much relate.

  11. #11

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    There are people I'm brutally honest with about how I feel about my children, and there are people to whom I'll say, "Oh, he's generally pretty good/ she's got lots of personality" when actually I mean, "Oh, he's thrown five major tantrums today/ she hasn't slept through the night or properly during the day for the past 6 weeks"

    Also, being able to say to M (when I'm getting up for the millionth time that night) "I HATE THE BABY" and him saying "No, you don't" - I know I don't, but if I can just vent a little to him, it's OK. Then I can go into her cot, and soothe her and cuddle her back to sleep, because the frustration is over... getting mad at her won't help

    A pregnant friend asked me to give her my best advice on parenthood, and I was kind of put on the spot, so I said something like, "It's harder than I expected. But on the days when you don't think you can do it anymore, you realise that you're stronger than you think."

    Even the "easiest" child has his/her bad days - if you're wondering how to broach this with the woman who has a child who's similar in age to yours, maybe ask how the child is going with something that you've had difficulty with? Just you two talking about your different experiences might be interesting for the pregnant friend - she'll probably have questions of her own, and you can gauge how much info she might want?

  12. #12

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    It's an interesting question. I do think that it depends on what the woman has already been told - has she heard nothing but rosy tales of giggling babies with blonde curls in the sunshine? She could probably do with a reality check, and would be grateful for it down the track...

    As for me, I haven't heard anything great, all the reading I have done is about how tired I will be, sleepless nights, cracked nipples and poo. Amazingly, I am still dying for a baby, but I am pretty nervous if I will be able to cope TBH!

    So I wish people told me what to look forward to!

    When I HAVE my own baby, I think that hearing horror stories from others will be sheer relief, as it is bound to make anyone feel better about themself!

  13. #13

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    This is an interesting question and an issue that I have also struggled with. It does depend on the audience (as previous posters have said). For me, I think about what I know of the person. If they are just an aquaintance I tread carefully with how much I say (both positive and negative) but if I know them better or am closer to them then I'll make a judgement based on their personality - how much of a realist are they? How honest are our other discussions on other topics?

    The other thing I have done is judge how much to say based on how they interact with DS. There's always at least a few minutes after meeting/arriving when they will talk to and interact with Jacob and there is usually some kind of observatory comment that can sometimes give a clue as to how they view babies (all cuddles and sweetness or just like the rest of us and able to have bad days etc).

    HTH and hope it makes sense!!

    ETA - Anna, I don't think you should prescribe to the 'denial of truth' code if that's not who you are. I also find it really sad that women can't be more honest with each other about stuff like this. You could put the truth out there if you like with a one line comment about it being hard work at times or something similar. Generally if people are interested they will ask more and express some empathy. If they're not interested, the subject will change fairly quickly.

  14. #14

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    Anna I've felt the same way as you and decided to take the openly honest approach with my friends, including first time pregnant friends. I think the key is to explain that motherhood can be very difficult and to describe the difficulties but also to make sure you explain that in spite of that it is worth it.

    Also I think it's good to be honest about our feelings so that more women will be able to talk about their honest feelings without fear of judgement and to receive support from each other. One of my friends only told me after I had my DD that she had suffered PND alone and really struggled with her DS. I wish I'd known that at the time so that I could have been there for her.

  15. #15

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    I assume that for the most part things are going OK for you and that you are loving it, so if you get asked those questions and answered 'yeah, things are good/OK" and "yeah I am loving it' you wouldn't be lying, but you just aren't going into detail. Because I am sure that every single one of us does love it - even though we have some pretty *memorable* days when nothing goes the way we want it to and we just wish we could go back to bed and start the day over but I guess you learn to gauge when someone wants every detail and when they don't. I am a realist and I wont ever say "oh he's a great sleeper/eater" when I know he's not - if someones really wants to know I'll tell them LOL but if I can sense that they don't really want to know then I'm not going to give them the whole rundown.

    I think its something that works both ways though when it comes to openess and honesty and The Code. I remember years ago when a woman I know said something about having to go to Tresillian with her first child later that month as he wasn't sleeping and I just said offhand that I never had to do anything like that with my two (I already had two and was pg with 3 at the time) and Oh Boy!! was I shot down in flames for having the audacity to mention that my children didn't keep me up half the night and I didn't even mean anything by it - I didnt' say it to rub her nose in it or be smug, it just an innocent offhand comment signalling that I had no experience of what she was going through so I learnt to keep my mouth shut pretty quickly and that she just wasn't interested in hearing anything good about parenting or about other mum's successes.

  16. #16

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    Oooh...thanks for the great replies everyone. I love BB to you all!

    Yes, it is overwhelming a positive experience, but I suppose I don't like saying "oh, yes everything is great" when I am obviously tired and I have told her to 'shut up' that morning and hated myself ever since etc

    You're all right though - its about assessing the situation as I go and not trying to control the outcome of the conversation too much. I think I am scared I come across too much one way or the other (depending on the day) and might be doing a disservice to the other party or myself with too much honesty!

    Aurora I LOVE that quote. I gotta get that book!

    As for the idea of knowing what to expect when pregnant - it is ridiculous we live in a society where most people haven't even held a baby until they hold their own. We should be able to watch other mum's breastfeed and mind children etc before we have our own, and then have that wealth of knowledge from generations of other mummies when its our own turn (that's another rant though).

    I think I was so deliriously happy when pregnant and I had such a dream birth, that the reality of life with a baby was a seismic shift in another direction...and not necessarily down...just into unchartered territory.

    Interesting to think about anyway. Thanks everyone for the input!

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