You Got This
The first time I heard these three words as a mum, my instinctive reaction was “I haven’t got this!”. The next time it was “I don’t think I have…”. And then after that “Have I?”.
You Got This
The words were never spoken with an “I’m not going to help you, figure it out yourself” sentiment, although to an extent I suppose that’s a side-effect of the message they carry.
You Got This
The beauty of the simplicity of the words was that (as plenty of political campaigns have shown us) three simple words stick in the mind somehow. Their repetition only serves to reinforce the message and before you know it, you believe it.
You Got This.
The simple phrase became what got me through the early months of motherhood. The bleary nights, the tearful days, the night-sweats, the hallucinations, the eternal fear of doing-something-that-would-permanently-screw-my-babies-up-for-life. It was the mantra of my cheer-leading troupe of fellow twin-mums and new-mums, also in the trenches with their own battles. Each sleep regression, each ICU visit, each rash, each stressful time that we had two babies crying at the same time and only one pair of hands to placate them.
Perhaps there was an element of “fake it ‘til you make it”, about occasionally telling yourself “I got this”; about not objecting when others told you that you did, indeed, have it. Over time, it came to have miraculous effects. My theory as to why? Self-esteem. If you believe you can handle a situation, you feel completely differently about it than if you think it’s something that’s going to kill you.
My self-esteem suffered with enormously during the first year of being a mum. Having had pre-natal depression I went into motherhood from a fairly dark place. In some ways this was great because being tired (for me at least) wasn’t half as bad as 24-7 nausea, so sleepless nights became light relief for me! But taking away my work (where I used to get a lot of self-esteem boosters) and starting motherhood on the wrong foot (pre-eclampsia and pre-mature C-section – which felt like a personal failing) made for a fragile foundation.
Without having the tools to bolster my own self-esteem I would routinely admonish myself for the smallest of things. Spilling milk (most painfully in the small hours of the morning, after hours of pumping when struggling to build a supply). Making a noise and waking a baby. Forgetting to pick up a drink or snack before sitting down to tandem feed. That inner voice would unceremoniously demolish any confidence that I (and my cheerleaders) had tentatively built up. The result being a roller-coaster of occasionally feeling like I’d smashed it (in a good way), but predominately feeling like I’d messed up and broken something.
Towards the end of my first year as a mum my confidence was in tatters and I sought professional help. I'm pleased to say that life since has totally transformed.
If anyone reading this can relate to the above, stay tuned! I plan to share some of the lessons I’ve learned in the hope that it will help you to be happier, more fulfilled people (and maybe even pass those important lessons on to your kids).
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