My Positive Birth FOMO
So in case you’re wondering, ‘FOMO’ is the fear of missing out. You know that icky feeling when you know your mates are out without you, whether you were invited or worse, not and you think the whole world is having way more fun than you. I did a mini vlog about it on my insta and it seemed to really strike a cord with some women. I think unless you are Beyonce, chances are you've felt like this too at some point and when you enter into motherhood, even more so.
How many times as a Mum have you had to cancel, rearrange or just outright say no because your little ones need you? They have been sick, lost a shoe, you've missed the bus because you were looking for the shoe, are rubbish sleepers (and by rubbish I mean NORMAL), their nappy leaked, you forgot the spare clothes, whatever it is, little people help you miss stuff. Then to add to the insecurity of it all, you're also likely to be sleep deprived, hormonal, hangry, overwhelmed and just generally feeling a bit vulnerable or a lot vulnerable, so it is really easy to feel those insecure feelings creeping in.
I used to suffer from FOMO SO badly. To the point I would run myself into the ground saying yes to everything because I didn't want to let anyone down, be a 'bad' friend or miss out on the fun. Then I became a Mum and FOMO seemed to be a new part of my life. At first, naturally, I resisted it. I tried to keep up but in the end, I had to surrender to the fact that I was a Mum and most of the time, my babies came first.
So I started to get used to it. At first when I couldn't make something, I used to think everyone was having a lovely time and I was a complete Billy no mates and my life sucked. Of course it didn’t but back to being a new Mum and sleep deprivation...
So slowly over time I have practiced this feeling of FOMO, this shift to not being where I thought I wanted to be, often staying home with the kids while I live vicariously through my friends and their cool insta stories. And it has faded, dimmed, that feeling that I'm missing out. I started to focus simply on what I was doing and all the loveliness in that. At the end of the day, I was choosing to miss out, for whatever reason, no matter how valid, it was still a choice, so I needed to own that choice and really enjoy what I have chosen instead, often the kids, which is not a bad trade off right?!
However, there is one bit of FOMO, I just can't seem to quite shift. There is this little pull somewhere deep inside me when I hear a first time Mum's story of a positive birth experience and they seem to be finding that transition to motherhood so much easier than I ever did and something in me just aches a little. I am so so pleased for them and relieved that they won't ever know those feelings of despair but as a Mum who didn't get her birth wishes met and wasn't able to begin that journey from a place of pure joy, it makes me feel a bit like that Billy no mates girl again, who got left out of the party, your name's not on the list...
It doesn't mean for a second that I don't want them to have had their amazing experience, that is all I want, truly because I know the flip side but just on a personal level, I wish I could do it all over again and be in that gang. Even now with so much distance and debrief, I wish my first birth had been different, for me and my boy.
But it is what it is and maybe, its just ok to feel this way. Maybe I'll always feel the FOMO because I cared so much about the experience. I may have had this completely different story in my head of what it might have looked like, and all the what ifs but this is my birth story. This is what happened, there is no other version. So I am learning to accept that this is my story and see the good that there was and do my best to create more first positive birth experiences because everybody should be at least invited to the party. So for the greater good of Positive Birth, empowering women and the ultimate girl gang of sisterhood, goodbye FOMO, and hello LOVE.
If you are looking for somewhere to get started in preparing for a positive birth experience, check out your local Positive Birth group at https://www.positivebirthmovement.org/
If you are dealing with birth trauma please take a look at www.makebirthbetter.org