How one mum pulled through with no support form her so-called ‘friends.’
Last month I celebrated my daughter’s 1st birthday. The gifts came so thick and fast I had to do a Kmart run for plastic tubs to house her new collections. Congratulations you made it, the baby made it, or other variations of these words were sprawled across her birthday cards.
Amongst all this glitter and banner hanging, I was quietly reflecting. The support I was receiving on that day was so apparent I couldn’t help but wonder where it had been for the other 11 months and 29 days.
Even though I had an extensive community of friends, family, nurses etc. I still felt vulnerable and raw. What was meant to be my so-called network of support was actually just a circle of passive aggressive comments, dismissiveness and an air of some sort of secrecy as if everyone was playing their cards close to their chest. It floored me.
I confided to my sister one day that I thought I might be pregnant. “What makes you say that?” She asked. I rattled off a list of things I had read on the Internet that I thought I should most definitely be on the look out for. She was asking because she had been pregnant “last month”. Her partner had talked her into an abortion. She was heartbroken and has never been the same.
I did turn out to be pregnant. For 9 months I was unable to revel in the joy of my pregnancy with my loved ones for fear of upsetting my sister. My family followed suit and the whole saga became taboo. This became worse when a best friend at work suffered a miscarriage. After that, work became a logistical nightmare with that friend bursting into tears every time she saw me. It was fair yet unfair at the same time.
Fast-forward and here I am in labour. I had always wanted a natural birth. I had read my hypnobirthing books and I was almost excited about the 'impending doom' to be honest. Everything went well for me and I got my natural birth. I felt proud. I had a few friends give birth around the same time (all with some form of intervention) and they screwed up their noses at me when I began to mention my birth story after I had supported them whilst they told theirs.
Obviously I was gloating, obviously I felt superior right? Wrong. All I wanted was to be able to talk about my labour in the same way I was listening to others talk about theirs. I was not judging, I was just so super impressed that we had all gone through this incredible experience in a similar time frame, I thought that it would randomly bond us for life. How wrong I was. They started sharing articles on social media and I slowly retreated into my unwashed bed sheets feeling alone. I had inadvertently become a target for mummy bullies who were sharing articles about being mummy bullied.