By JANET MICHELMORE
There were so many aspects of my life where I was confident, but being a new parent definitely wasn’t one of them.
As a teacher, I could command the attention of hundreds of teenage girls but then I gave birth, severing my confidence nerve in the process.
In those first few months, I misplaced my self-esteem in the chaotic mess my life had become. I was both totally in love with my new son and paralysed with fear. I felt like I was completely out of my depth.
When I read the posts written by new parents on the What Were We Thinking (WWWT) blog, all these memories instantly come flooding back in such a real way. The feeling of being alone, feeling like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and feeling like “I broke my baby!”.
30 years ago it was taboo to admit to not coping. Women put on a brave face which only reinforced my sense of failure. If only I had had access to something like the WWWT blog back when I first became a mother. This is evidence based, e-mental health initiative supports the emotional well-being of new parents through shared experience, education and immediate access to expert advice. The blog shares the honest experiences of new parents, from the loneliness and complete confusion to the joy that a beaming smile brings.
I had gone from a successful and rewarding career, working as part of a team, to being alone at home with a baby. The reality was that I thought I was prepared and that I’d know how to manage. How wrong I was. Almost instantly, I was confronted by a world where sleep is precious (and extremely limited), a crying baby and feelings of total inadequacy. To be honest, I was floundering.
One of the biggest problems was the conflicting advice I was receiving.
From the Maternal & Child Health Nurse to the Midwife, from friends and family to my paediatrician, everyone had a different opinion on how things should be done.