When I was pregnant with Luca, I had a mummy friend in my pregnancy. We met on a pregnancy site and group. We were just a week apart and lived around the corner from each other. We kinda clicked and became friends.
In her words, her pregnancy wasn’t that great. There were issues throughout which meant she had to get constant scans, and kept up to date with her baby. She expected a “HUGE” baby. Her words too.
Me? I didn’t know… I just knew I was growing and was hoping for the best. Pregnancy was easy. I never talked about it and I dared not complained. I listened intently about her hospital visits, excited for her journey.
We would sit at cafe’s, scoffing down muffins with our big bellies, planning out how our kids would be friends.
But then the competitive streak in her erupted.
She would always ask whose baby I thought would come first, and whose baby would be bigger, who would breastfeed…. who would walk first and talk first. Who would do it all first. The competitive game was strong! Our babies weren’t out of the womb yet and she was already thinking down the finish line (pun intended)
I would just laugh it off… I didn’t know the world of competitiveness in motherhood at that stage, and just thought maybe she was a little excited. She was much younger than me, and I thought maybe I wasn’t enthusiastic because I felt like an old grandma.
Being a first time mum, it’s hard not to be whisked away by your imagination. I already planned to be on my sons arm when he was a famous actor at the oscar’s… hey a girl can dream?
I went into labour on a Thursday morning (pre-labour by medical definition, death by mine) and she was my birth buddy, so I told her things were revving up, and let her know when I was in the hospital counting down. She sounded disappointed, and even told me that they were hoping to go first… I got off the phone a little sad, but soon forgot all about it when contractions started.
I got a message while I was snuggled warmly with my epidural, saying she too was in hospital. She ended up giving birth two hours after me.
Having our kids born on the same day was a bit of a nightmare. She asked me how much he weighed at every check in, and compared the two. Breastfeeding was really easy for her, and very hard for me, and she suggested that maybe I needed more milk, even though our sons weighed the same.
I wanted to like her. I did. I started to think, maybe it’s me? Maybe I said something that sounded competitive. Maybe I’m being too harsh. I had to relay messages and conversations to friends and my husband, who all convinced me that it was probably best to back off.
she was relentless. I had to stop updating her on anything because she saw it as a chance to tell me how her situation was better. Please believe me, it wasn’t in a way where you would just have had a conversation and go tit for tat. It was on the lines of “don’t bother putting him in 000’s, he’s so tiny, he needs premmie sizes. You don’t have milk. You don’t know what it’s like to hold a big baby, my arms are sore”
Bitch huh? Well the friendship ended eventually…
And I went to have another baby and I lived happily ever. But you know what I did? I compared my new baby to other people’s babies. I became like her, well, sort of.
I let myself feel inadequate to people (who weren’t like that crazy girl.) People who were just living their lives. Just being mums. Mums who were loving and encouraging. Mums who weren’t competitive.
Their babies were crawling, but mine wasn’t. Their babies had teeth, but mine didn’t. Their babies pooped frequently, sat up, stood up, walked, said words, and mine didn’t. And I became the mother who spoke about it in a negative way “oh I think there might be something wrong, mine isn’t crawling”
But I knew damn well nothing was wrong. I just let the natural progression of my child dictate my capabilities as a parent.
If my baby didn’t sit up yet, it was because I failed her somehow. If she wasn’t growing teeth, it’s because I didn’t eat enough foods with calcium in pregnancy. If she wasn’t gaining weight at an astronomical rate, and in the 100th percentile, well, I failed.
And while it is a mother’s job to look after her baby, feed that baby and clothe it. You can’t force them to gain weight, you can’t force them to sit up, you can’t force them to develop any faster than what their body is ready to do… and I knew that. But, If she wasn’t doing all the things all the other babies were doing, I felt bad about myself and my parenting skills.
It wasn’t till someone said to me, “oh whatever happened to (let’s call her) Anna”…(that competitive friend) and I explained…
I remembered what it felt like to feel inadequate. What it felt like to have someone comparing my parenting and my child. Making me feel less as of a mother, making my child feel as if they weren’t good enough.
Yeah, light bulb.
So why was I doing it to me? Why? Why did I become so competitive? My daughter was healthy. The hundreds of doctors, paediatricians and physio appointments said so (lol)
I guess as mothers, we want to do so well. So well at parenting, at being nurturers, at being providers. We are afraid of not being perfect or doing our jobs so we are so hard on ourselves. If something isn’t right, we are hard on ourselves because we just want to be perfect. Our children deserve that.
It’s exhausting. It’s crazy. We do everything we can. Our child does all it can, and in all of it, they have our love, and that counts for so much. And to them? To them we are so perfect. We are perfect by giving our love, acceptance and just being there, with them.
No two babies are the same, and no two mothers are the same. We are all perfect in our own right. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, vaginal births, baby wearing. It’s all stuff right now (yeah I’m not arguing with science) but in 20 years, they’re not going to hold whatever we did against us. They’ll just remember if we loved them, and we did, wholeheartedly.
And that competitive mum? I saw her write to another mother on an online forum, about how hard it was for her in those first months. How she was so worried about doing it right, how breastfeeding was hard and she was worried about weight gain.
Just shows you that every mum tries her best, wants her best, and sometimes it can make you come across like a crazy competitive bitch, just like I became.
The end? The moral of the story? My baby sits, she has teeth, she poops, she pulls herself up… and she smiles at me.
And one day she will have her words and tell me she hates me, at the ripe age of 13. I ain’t in no fucking rush for that.
So slow down little girl, there’s plenty of time to grow up!
Love ya guys x