Yesterday was the first meeting of the mothers’ group organised by the BVC (baby health centre) and I was full of nerves. The butterflies in my stomach were threatening to take over. I was nervous not just about meeting new people, but also about having to speak to them in my poor Swedish and of being judged by them. Not a good way to be thinking from the get-go.
My fears centred on being judged for no longer breastfeeding. Here in Sweden, breast is most definitely best and the midwives hammer that message home to you during your pregnancy check-ups and immediately after the birth. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that, if you can, breastfeeding is the best thing for babies, but I also take a more realist approach: nothing is perfect in this world and breastfeeding certainly is an uphill struggle. So, I was a little apprehensive when I had to produce my bottle of formula to feed Baby O during the meeting.
Of course, everyone was lovely and the bottle feeding prompted an interesting discussion about who was breastfeeding, who was pumping and who was formula feeding. I shouldn’t have worried, should I? After all, we’re all in the same boat: first-time mothers from the neighbourhood and of about the same age just trying to work our way through babyworld and do the best for our little ones.
Afterwards, four of the six of us went for coffee afterwards and I felt it was a bit easier then to come out of my language shell and speak a bit more in Swedish to them. I had a really fun time in the end, despite all my fears beforehand.
But, typically, my fears have not been totally allayed. Now I feel like I’ve just come back from a first date: did they like me? Will they call me? Will they ask me out another time?