When I fell pregnant with my daughter after a 17 year gap one of my friends said “Back to mother and toddler group for you Sam!”
I laughed and joined in the general banter but inside I was recoiling in horror
You see mother and toddler groups were like hell on earth for me
My experience of going to them over 20 years ago were nothing short of torture
After the birth of my second son I developed PND
I got it into my head that I had to go to the local group because that is what you did
That my children would suffer if I didn’t go
It was what you were supposed to do
Invariably I would be late, pushing a double pram up a hill is no mean feat and my red faced sweating arrival was greeted by everyone else already sitting drinking tea or coffee, engaged in (to my brain anyway) private chats that I wasn’t part of and wouldn’t be included in.
I even imagined them making a comment about me being not up to the job of mum.
None of this I knew for sure, because I wasn’t a mind reader, but it was what
I thought and believed to be true.
Each week I would push myself to go and each week I would leave feeling more and more isolated
Everyone else appeared to be enjoying their babies whilst I ricocheted from one problem to another just about getting through the day let alone enjoying being a mum.
In my head I was a crap mum, going to mother and toddler group just made me feel worse.
It was a reminder of how rubbish I was.
In my work supporting women whose experience of pregnancy, birth and beyond isn’t sunshine and light I have met many women who have described similar reactions when around other mums who they feel are doing a far better job than them.
For some women these groups can be incredibly supportive and I’ve even heard them described as the place that saved them, a place to be heard and to share experiences.
But what if you’re like me and hate going to them?
What if like me, you just feel insignificant when your there? You feel like an imposter that you don’t fit in; maybe it’s not just mother and toddler groups, any place where mums gather can feel intimidating and sometimes hostile spaces to be in.
What did I do about it?
A big fat nothing!
My boys grew up and I didn’t have to go anymore.
Problem solved, or so I thought.
When I fell pregnant with my daughter my reaction to my friend’s comment, the internal squirming and reluctance to enter the lion’s den again made it clear that it was still a problem for me.
So I came up with a coping strategy and told myself I could go to things that had a purpose.
Baby Signing, or Brightsparks, Sensory Play or something that had a reason to it.
Something that was for her.
And this worked brilliantly
My spectacularly creative brain had found a way to get round this problem
BUT my reaction to a suggestion from a business mentor broadsided me.
In order to support women, who like me suffer PND or who have lost babies or who have had traumatic births I need to go out and meet them. And where do mums hang out?
Mother and baby groups
When this was suggested to me my throat closed up, tears threatened to spill from my eyes and my chest tightened.
I had a very physical reaction, I felt sick, tears came to my eyes and I broke out in a cold sweat.
And this is what traumatic experiences can do to us.
To me toddler group was a traumatic place for me to be.
This was a place where I felt alone, different, judged, a place I would walk home crying from.
It’s natural for us to take steps to avoid being in that situation again, or come up with ways round it.
Which I did, very effectively!
But now it was time I dealt with it once and for all.
So I applied my knowledge and experience of using EFT and changed how I felt about going to mother and toddler groups.
The anxiety, the very real physical response melted away.
And this is what I love about the work I do, it frees women from crippling emotions to do the things they want to do, the way they truly want to do them.
To do things that ROCK their world instead of shaking it.
For me and for the many women I have supported, EFT has transformed my reaction to past experiences and the beliefs I created about myself.
How would it have been if I didn’t deal with my experience of toddler groups?
Just think how many women I wouldn’t meet who need my help?
I HAD to change my emotional response for THEM.
What things have you created a solution for, put off or stopped doing completely because of how you feel about yourself or the world?
I would love to hear what you think, pop a comment in the box below and join the chat.
If anxiety is part of your life, click here to download my free audio that will calm racing thoughts, relax muscular tension, steady a racing heart, enable you to breathe more easily and get back to being YOU.