I sat in the hot, busy maternity ward, and I cried.
I'd been a mother less than 24 hours, and I already felt like a failure.
My beautiful newborn son, lay sleeping in the crib beside me.
I’d tried to nurse him already several times but failed.
It seemed to be getting harder with every attempt.
To make things worse, I had just had breakfast, and sat opposite me was a confident young mother, babe in arms happily breastfeeding, whilst she read the newspaper, and ate her cornflakes! She made it look so effortless! How could it be that easy? How come she got it and I didn't?
Nobody teaches you how to breastfeed before you give birth, or at least they didn't when I was pregnant. I'd naively assumed it would come naturally to me. It hadn't.
So, when everyone else around me seemed to be easing gracefully into motherhood, my inner critic went to work.
Why wasn't easy for me? What was wrong with me? This is difficult. I must be a bad mother.
At this point, my fairy godmother in the guise of a ward nurse entered. A lovely, rosy-cheeked lady with a permanent smile and a can-do attitude. She was the perfect antidote for my low mood.
“What's the matter?” she asked
“I can't do it”. I replied and explained my dilemma.
But she was having none of it. I then told her about the lady in the breakfast room.
“Her?!” she laughed “she's got three children already, she 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 know how to do it by now.”
I felt such an idiot. There I was comparing myself to someone who was literally an expert.
Comparison is the thief of joy they say, and certainly for me in that ward that was true.
It was robbing me of the first joyous hours of my child's life.
Comparison is programmed into us at an early age. And it's something which crops up a lot for my coaching clients.
If you are a high achiever, you are used to pitching yourself against other people, as a measure of how well you are doing.
You are scored, graded, and judged every step of the way in your school years.
It's no wonder then by the time you hit your 20s, comparison is the norm.
But there is no comparison. It’s an illusion. You are unique. You may as well be comparing apples and oranges. It cannot be done. They are fundamentally different. And so are you.
You didn’t come here to be better or worse than anyone else. You came to add your own unique light to the world.
𝙍𝙪𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙚, because if you keep your eyes fixed ahead focused on what you want, and pay no heed to those around you to measure your progress, then you are bound to arrive at your destination, and do so happy, grateful and fulfilled.