I'll set the scene.
I'm a new mum. Three weeks postpartum. Recovering from an emergency caesarean.
Long before our baby arrived - with rose tinted glasses, the Hubster and I thought it would be a fabulous idea to take our new arrival back to the Emerald Isle for the Christmas break. Bad idea!
Silent reflux or some might say 'Colic' (Don't get me started on this - it's definitely a debate for another time!) set in at around two and a half weeks. I was tired, emotional and probably a little bit traumatised by the events of the previous weeks. He howled all day long unless my boob was blocking the sound coming out of his mouth! I was new to this breastfeeding thing, I was raw and sore.
The only thing my baby was finding any sort of comfort in was making my toes curl and eyes water.
So, off we went on a trip to the doctors with our inconsolable newborn. We armed ourselves with medication for Silent Reflux and off to Ireland we went. We should have known that the medication wasn't a miracle worker and wasn't going to cure the symptoms over night.
My hormones were everywhere. I felt completely on show. The baby cried and cried and cried. I was useless! I couldn't seem to ease his discomfort unless he was feeding from me and that pressure, aside from the physical pain was making me hate my new role.
So here we were... Me and my sister on a shopping trip with our babies. We'd talked about how lovely these outings would be since we were both expecting. It wasn't lovely. It was horrendous. I was reduced to tears in a shop by a complete stranger and her mother.
Himself was unsettled and I wasn't comfortable with whooping my boob out in Next to soothe him. So whilst I waited for my sister to come out of the changing room, rocking my heartbroken bundle, this thoughtless woman and her mother stopped to coo over (more likely inspect) my noisy baby. Their fake chit-chat broke me when they took only two steps away to discuss how my "poor baby was in pain." I already thought I was doing a s**t job of this parenting lark. Their judgements made a bad day a whole lot worse. I was devastated. Their words cut me more than they will ever know. Maybe the truth hurts?
Looking back, I think I was doing an ok job! I'd never been a mummy before. I was learning. I'd put myself out there trying to show everyone else I could do this. When really I should have given two fingers to the world and their expectations, stayed in our cosy flat in London and ate takeaway all Christmas.
I'm not the only one. Friends have shared their experiences of 'Older, Wiser' woman giving their two cents on how to deal with crying babies whilst making a quick shopping dash for an important event.
Believe me, two kids in, shopping with them is not an enjoyable experience. Newborn or not! Sometimes the online route isn't an option and needs must.
Now when I'm out and see a Mum, her little one kicking off or her newborn wailing, I just want to throw my arms around her and say "It's ok, I'm not judging you!" I don't. She'd probably think, "Christ, who is this nutter?" But I do give her a smile which I hope says "Don't worry, we've all been there and you're doing a mighty job!"
So to the fellow shoppers who have nothing nice to say to the new Mum or the Mum who's trying to corral her brood... DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL! You never know, someday the screaming baby or the run away toddler might be yours.