My first week at the Nurturing Mums course; a North London group I was asked to review, came just three weeks after having Baby London by caesarean, so I was filled with quite a bit of anxiety before attending. I’ve not really been out alone with the baby since he was born and I didn’t know what I’d do or how to handle him in an environment that I’m not used to. (ie. Out of our home!).
I’m really glad now though that my first real outing was to the Nurturing Mums Post Natal Group and I’d say that it’s a perfect place for all new Mothers because it forces you out of your comfort zone but instead of really being alone you have the support of the course founders Elise and Gemma while having other Mums around as well.
With a group of 10 Mothers and babies ranging from 3 weeks (Baby London) to 20 weeks I felt safe knowing that if Baby London did scream, cry, poo himself he wouldn’t be the only one. And knowing just that simple fact was enough to put me at ease instantly. Throughout the hour Mums were getting up to soothe their crying baby’s, change nappies and to feed them in such a natural way that all that apprehension I had just disappeared.
I actually ended up having nothing to worry about because Baby London was absolutely perfect, he slept the whole hour only waking at the end whimpering for a feed.
I just feel like by the time the course ends I’ll be able to confidently handle my Baby in public and handle most situations and not worrying about all the little details.
Week one was introductions day and each of us introduced ourselves and our tots to the group while drinking tea and eating biscuits (quintessentially British!). We each discussed our birth stories and issues we’ve faced in a really informal chatty manner. This really helped me, because as much as I love my son I do think his birth left me traumatised and feeling like I was unable to cope for the first week and I felt like an awful Mother. I didn’t experience the birth I wanted and I never had skin to skin contact with Baby London. In fact I didn’t even get to really see him on the day he was born because we were both so ill. With the caesarean as well it hindered my ability to properly Mother him when I did get him back. I soon realised I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, in fact many of the women experienced similar experiences and traumatising births and ultimately felt the same way at the start. Even the second time Mothers could relate with their first borns (most had much easier births second time around and were more prepared for what a newborn needs). It made me just feel good about myself and not feel guilty, what I felt during that first week was normal.
The group true to their word is non judgmental. While some Mothers breastfed their baby’s when required, those of us that didn’t weren’t judged or made to feel bad… and that’s a first! As much as I appreciate the NHS (and I really do), the whole forceful breastfeeding thing has again made me feel like I’m a terrible mother and has made me feel guilty because I just can’t do it. I’m still combination feeding him (expressing and formula) but I’ve not got the pain threshold to breastfeed him and the group made me feel like I’m doing what’s right for us. Plus all the babies in the group were happy well fed baby’s whether they were breastfed or formula fed.
Each of us also had a little photo-shoot with the amazingly talented Felicity Lass who then sent us all our pictures to review and pick our favourite one to keep. As a photographer she was really easy to work with, and obviously knows how to get pictures of those squirmy little babies, especially a sleeping Baby London!
All in all the first week at Nurturing Mums made me feel so much more confident in my abilities and being alone with Baby London in public. It also allowed me to release all those guilty feelings I had from the start and come to terms with the birth. I feel like a better Mother for it really- all that from the first week…!