Written by Michelle Lacey

What is confidence? Confidence is a feeling of belief in you and your abilities, that you are enough and you are doing enough.

There are few times in our lives we feel more exposed and doubt ourselves more, than when bring a small human into the world. Having had a premature baby myself, I understand how scary it all is and how helpless you feel not being able to care for them. Worried your every move is being watched by nurses and scared you might do something wrong. Sometime we even feel guilty about them arriving early. Wondering is there something you should have done differently is it somehow my fault.

Any new mum finds the transition of motherhood hard but when you have a premature baby there are even more hurdles for new mums. Many additional worries such as being able to bond with your baby, feed them, care for them when they are surrounded by monitors and in an incubator. It is bound to knock our confidence. We often compare ourselves to other parents and even our baby to other babies. Why isn’t my milk coming in but that other mums has? Why hasn’t my baby moved out of the incubator yet, what’s wrong? Everything you planned, all the books you read all go out the window when that little person arrives early. So on top of the usual motherhood struggles you have all the additional worries such as ‘will they catch up’.

The 1st rule of confidence is you need to stop comparing yourself to others, because they aren’t living your life. Their job is completely different to yours because every baby is different. Your journey is different to theirs and you are doing brilliantly!!

Michelle Lacey (Confidence Coach) with her premature baby
Michelle Lacey (Confidence Coach) with her premature baby

My new job

In August 2013 I started a new job. I’d heard brilliant stories about how amazing this role was. It was sold to me as being a life changing opportunity. However when I started it wasn’t what I expected at all. Firstly I was given no formal training and from day one I was thrown in at the deep end.

I started my new role full of enthusiasm but soon realised I was well out of my depth. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and although I tried to learn it wasn’t like any job I’d ever had before. All the training I’d done in previous roles were useless in this new one. I was handed some of the tools for the role but most of them I had to find through my own research or asking other people that did the same job as me. What was worse though was that my boss felt it was ok to contact me, on what felt like a 24/7 basis. Expecting me to jump at his beck and call.

He kept moving the goal posts of what was expected of me on a regular basis. He literally screamed at me when I got it wrong. With little to no feedback about how well I was doing. I have never felt more incompetent in any job my entire life. I was exhausted and on many days I felt like a failure. I’m not ashamed to say I cried often and wondered what the hell I was doing taking the job in the 1st place. But people around me kept telling me to stick at it. That I would get better at the job and the work would get easier.

It is the hardest but most rewarding job

I can safely say that it is by far the hardest job I have every done but the most rewarding. In truth I loved it. Even on the hardest of days when my boss was being horrible to me and nothing I did was good enough. There were still moments that were quite honestly, magic. I’m still there 7 years later and as time went on, I did get better at the job and it did all get easier. I grew to love what I did and although the role continues to change all the time it is even more rewarding 7 years on. Amazingly my boss in the end became one of my best friends. The job role is Motherhood and my boss was Austin my son.

If we worked for a company that treated us this way we’d probably have had a nice pay out from a hefty lawsuit by now. But as mums we have to do all of this and not get paid. Luckily the ‘magic’ soon outweighs the hard days. However, it’s easy to see why we feel low in confidence when faced with a job role we have never done before and with no training and little support.

You are doing well

It’s hard sometimes to see how well you ARE doing on days when you struggle to get even the basics done like have a shower or remember to feed that cat. One thing that can really help is writing down each day at least 1 thing you did well that day. Or one thing you did well. Or one lovely memory from that day. It really helps to celebrate the wins and happy moments even if you spent most of it covered in milk sick. It helps us both recognise our accomplishments and feel more confident. To remind us we are doing OK, we’ve got this. It can also help on the tough days.

Michelle Lacey. NICU cuddles
Michelle Lacey. NICU cuddles

Confidence building tips

You can look back at these happy notes to remind yourself about all the wins you are having. These little notes are also lovely to look back on in a few years. They help you remember how little they were and the small retails of that time in your life. As you will forget those small things, mostly from lack of sleep. If you feel that you need help getting your confidence back after having a baby Michelle can help. You can join her free confidence group on Facebook ‘the confidence Hive’ and follow her at the hive school of confidence.

Did you see…

Our last blog covering confidence by Lisa and Stacey. Take a read here to get some more insight on our confidence journeys