Photo Credit: ABC TV
A cleverly-titled new show from Australia is a must-watch for every new parent — or anyone who remembers being a new parent. "The Letdown," (get it?) refers not only to the release of milk during breastfeeding but also to the sense of disappointment many new moms feel when they have their first baby.
Pregnancy is such an exciting time, and you’re full of hope and expectation as you fold cute baby clothes and dream about your new bundle of joy. However, the reality of going through a painful labor and then looking after a needy newborn can be somewhat of a letdown.
When I watched this series, I recognized so many things that I think a lot of new moms will appreciate. The main character Audrey is incredibly likable, and you can’t help but relate to her postpartum paranoia and anxiety. It’s the perfect show to watch if you’re doing the nighttime feed, or just folding yet another load of baby laundry. Here are some of the many things you’ll both laugh and cry about!
1. Mother and baby groups can be scary
Well, at least the first one is. It gets better after that. You can’t help but assume that everyone knows what they’re doing and is a far better mom than you. When the main character Audrey arrives at the group, she thinks everyone is judging her, when, all they're trying to do is help. All those pregnancy hormones together with sleep deprivation can turn you into a crazy, paranoid person.
2. You need help
New mothers rarely ask for help. We were born to create humans, so of course, we can do it on our own. The reality is every mom needs help. It really does take a village. The main character Audrey struggles with this but eventually realizes that her existing support network has been a bit of a letdown, and she needs a new village.
3. There will be no sleeping on the job
I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself for how tired you’ll be during those first few months. New moms are basically zombies. The main character, Audrey is so tired and so ashamed of her inability to get her baby to sleep that she starts lying to people about her baby sleeping. If your baby is not sleeping through, take heart, it won’t be forever. All babies eventually become great sleepers.
4. Crying helps
It’s good to cry. When someone cries at a mom and baby group, it’s like everyone inwardly breathes a big sigh of relief. Being a new mom is hard. When the seemingly perfect mom, Sophie, starts to cry in the show about her postpartum incontinence it breaks down all the barriers. Crying is a necessary part of being a new mom. It also gets rid of some of that excess water you are carrying!
5. Breastfeeding is hard
You will forever chase that perfect position, where your baby latches on, and everything is blissful and pain-free. In the show, everyone, including the local drug dealer has advice for Audrey on how to position her baby for the perfect latch. At the end of the day, the only ones who can figure it out are you and your baby. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, give yourself a break. You can always use formula.
6. A lot of things can go wrong
Nobody escapes the tough times as a new mom. There is an endless list of things that can and will go wrong — the nightmare labor, the painful c-section recovery, incontinence, a colicky baby, etc. In the show, everyone in the group is going through some sort of challenge, but they all lean on each other to get through.
7. You need your family
They may drive you nuts, and you may have different ideas on how to raise kids, but when the chips are down, they are your saviors. In the show Audrey is constantly annoyed by her in-laws, but the minute they leave, she realizes how much they helped her.
8. Your social life, as you know it, is over
In the show, Audrey tries to bring her new baby on a night out with friends, which of course does not work out. Don’t despair though, because your social life is not over, it’s just going to be different. You need to find other parents to hang out with so that your kids can play together, and you can kick back, and even enjoy a glass of wine.
“The Letdown” will not let you down. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to reach through the TV and give Audrey a hug. We’ve all been that batsh*t crazy, paranoid, zombie, new mom — but it does get better. Motherhood surprises and delights in so many ways, though it's never exactly how we imagine it, and certainly not as perfect as Instagram would have us believe. The facilitator of the mom and baby group delivers one of the best lines in the show, “You need to let go of how you thought it would be.”