……as long as we leave the judgement behind

I have a controversial statement to make.

I enjoyed having a newborn. Enjoyed as in really, really loved it and can’t wait to have another one.

While I felt extremely tired and often emotional, I didn’t feel overwrought, lost or at my wits end.

I have experienced that feeling since though – what mother hasn’t – just not during the first few months of my babies’ lives.

Now I know some readers will already be rolling their eyes ready to accuse me of making mothers who find the newborn stage difficult, feel even more horrendous.

But as a mother who has experienced the extreme highs and lows of parenting and understands that all women and babies are different, I would never – ever –pass judgment on another mother, nor feel smug about my own mothering.

In fact, passing judgment is my least favourite aspect of our society’s new-found fascination with motherhood and how it’s being done, or rather should be done.  But that’s another story.

All of our experiences at different stages in our children’s lives vary, from the extremely positive to the extremely negative.

But it seems to me that admitting to enjoying the newborn stage of parenthood, let alone that it was one of my most treasured periods is a bit of a no-no.

I assume that’s because it’s not a common favourite so professing your love for those days is presumed to make those who did find it difficult feel worse.

But it really shouldn’t.   To me, sharing a happy moment simply demonstrates the extent to which motherhood pulls and tugs us in very different directions.

Many mothers have shared with me that the toddler years were their favourite, a welcome and happy relief from life with an infant.  For me though, that wasn’t the case.

My first born was very strong willed and developed a lovely habit of screaming to an ear-piercing level at any given moment for very long periods of time.  It was then that I experienced my own low points, my feelings of failure, wondering if I was as good a mother as I’d planned to be.

Yet, I have never really shared the joy I felt or the ease with which I experienced having a new born with anybody other than my mother for fear of being accused of being smug.

One of the best things about the raising of awareness regarding the difficulties of motherhood through forums, websites and increased dialogue is that mothers no longer feel alone in their distress. This is a very good thing.

One of the worst though is how quickly and how publicly we judge other mothers, their choices and their feelings, seemingly looking for the worst in their actions instead of the best.

Yes. I found caring for newborns enjoyable, despite relentless tiredness.

But I didn’t find breast-feeding easy. I was plagued with difficulties including recurring mastitis that lead to hospitalisation and the eventual advice to make the dreaded switch.  A similar situation followed with my second baby despite my best efforts – in his case there simply wasn’t enough milk so I chose to switch to formula.

That was a huge blow for me at the time and I found it extremely difficult to accept, particularly the first time as I had very strong pro breastfeeding views prior to his birth.

Having watched my boys develop into healthy and strong toddlers and children, I’m now comfortable with the way things turned out, but to this day others still manage to make me feel crappy about it.

But not by women who say they found breastfeeding easy.  To them I say “good on you! Brilliant news!”

I love hearing positive stories about all aspects of motherhood – and am genuinely happy when I hear about a positive breastfeeding experience.

It’s when those stories are used to look down on those whose experiences were less pleasant or whose choices were different that it becomes problematic.

One of my best girlfriends recently had a baby – I was overjoyed when I saw her breastfeeding her baby with ease.  She enjoys breastfeeding, appears to be good at it and did so for a long time with her first bub.  But not once have I heard her say a negative word about those who aren’t able to or choose not to breastfeed.

So when I say I loved the experience of caring for a newborn that’s just me wanting to share a positive experience from a journey that’s filled with highs and lows and everything in between.

I guess the point is all of our motherhood journeys are different, so are our choices.  And that’s ok.

It’s also ok to share them – the ups and the downs -  as long as we leave the judgment behind.

About The Author

Nicole Madigan is a freelance journalist, writer and communications consultant, with more than a decade in the industry. Having spent several years writing for News Limited and reporting/presenting for Channel Nine, Nicole decided to combine work and motherhood – starting her family and launching freelance business Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com). She now writes for numerous high-profile publications while raising her two little boys.

Blog: www.nicolemadigan.blogspot.com.au

Twitter: @NicoleMadiganE

  1. Pielow

    29th May 2014 at 4:43 pm,

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  2. 28th May 2014 at 8:53 pm,

    MoM Rewards: rachaelchara has a diamond MoM rewards level rachaelchara said:

    Good advice. Thanks for the great read.

  3. catgrrl3

    27th May 2014 at 3:48 pm,

    MoM Rewards: catgrrl3 has a diamond MoM rewards level catgrrl3 said:

    I do think there is a lot of judging, but I think MoM is a great place for support and not be judged

  4. kazh

    27th May 2014 at 1:41 pm,

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    Good advice, it’s not a competition after all

  5. 20th May 2014 at 10:19 pm,

    MoM Rewards: christial has a diamond MoM rewards level christial said:

    I’d love to go through the newborn stage again! But I’m not having another baby! I think I’d enjoy it more second time round!

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    Good read thanks for the information

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    24th March 2014 at 4:42 pm,

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    You need to share the positive, negatives just ring people down.

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    31st January 2014 at 10:32 am,

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    what a great article .

  9. ljsalomon

    3rd January 2014 at 4:01 pm,

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    Enjoyed reading – thanks for sharing.

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    31st December 2013 at 10:33 pm,

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    Thanks for sharing these useful tips and ideas. :)

  11. meimei

    5th December 2013 at 11:37 am,

    MoM Rewards: meimei has a diamond MoM rewards level meimei said:

    So true. Interesting article to read :)

  12. sonja_holness

    5th December 2013 at 12:39 am,

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    Very true, luckily this seems to be a judgement free place.

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    MoM Rewards: coppin85 has a diamond MoM rewards level coppin85 said:

    Thanks for the positive read :)

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    12th November 2013 at 3:50 pm,

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    Good on you! I like reading positive views!

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    31st October 2013 at 10:41 pm,

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    Love reading positive article thanks

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