Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.
She lived in a castle, also known as a three-bed semi, with her handsome prince (a girl can dream). One day, over a bottle of the finest Sauvignon in the land, the prince and princess decided they would love to have a little baby to make their life in the castle complete.
But no sooner had the princess peed on a stick and discovered the happy news that she was with child, her bulls**t-eating inner critic was awakened.
The bulls**t-eating inner critic had laid dormant since her awkward teenage years but was now wide awake and ready to wreck havoc.
It greedily gobbled up the endless words of completely crackers advice from ageing relatives and well-wishers. It thrived and grew as the princess read book after book about pregnancy and the early months with a newborn baby.
The pregnant princess was mostly able to keep the bulls**t-eating inner critic at bay, for she was sleeping on a bed of a hundred mattresses and she had eaten the pea hidden underneath during a frantic snack attack one night.
Then one day the blessed child was born and people flocked to visit from all around the kingdom, regardless of the time of day and with little thought to disturbing naps.
They brought with them gifts for the baby, but also more material for the bulls**t-eating inner critic to chew on.
There were remarks on sleep routines, advice on colic, words of wisdom on breastfeeding.
And then one stormy night, with the little baby sobbing endlessly, the princess turned to the wicked witch Google for help.
It showed her the words of a million different people, each claiming to have the right answer. They cried swaddling, pick up-put down, white noise, bouncy chair, massage, dream feed, routine, nap schedule, early weaning.
As she was bombarded with more and more information the princess found herself trapped in the useless limbo that is the AIBU forum. And in here the bulls**t-eating inner critic thrived and doubled in size.
And finally its voice grew louder than the princess’ inner cheerleader, who was quite squeezed out by the now-obese bulls**t-eating inner critic.
It whispered dark words of deceit into her ear. Words such as failure, wrong, and bad mum.
And so the kingdom fell to wrack and ruin as the princess could not keep up with her royal duties, so desperate was she to find the answer to keep her little baby safe, fed and happy.
But the bulls**t-eating inner critic was not satisfied.
It plagued the princess with worry about whether her baby was gaining enough weight or suffering from reflux and if she should continue breastfeeding.
The princess, desperate to enjoy a proper night in dreamland, was trapped in the dark forest of discontent.
Then one magical day, the princess gazed at her baby and the baby gazed back at her. The child gurgled and then smiled so widely that even the birds chirped louder and the rainbows became brighter.
At last the princess discovered the truth. Her baby was just being a baby. She was not wrong after all, so many months spent worrying if she was failing when her perfect baby was right here all along.
The bulls**t-eating inner critic at last was silenced as the inner cheerleader beat him with her pom-poms until it was just a tiny part of the princess’ inner thoughts.
The kingdom at last was a happy place again, although still a tad messy.
The bulls**t-eating inner critic would still forever be a part of the princess. But she had finally gained the power and wisdom needed to tell him to just shut the f**k up.