I thought I’d do this blog post, mainly as a bit of a rant and to let off steam, but also to perhaps help other people, and to see if anyone else out there feels the same as me. And also because it’s been Mental Health Awareness Week recently, it’s made me think about mine.
I’ve always been a bit of a worrier. Like, I am that person who is always procastinating on what “what if’s” of life, or worrying about things that might go wrong or might happen. But when I was pregnant I seemed to be a lot more calmer. Maybe it was because literally you cannot control what is happening to your body, and you cannot (unless of course you have a planned c-section) control or do anything about when you are going to have your baby. So I just sort of chilled out. (Until I was in labour. And then I was most certainly NOT chilled out.)
When William was born the overwhelming maternal instinct and need to care for him really took me by surprise. I’ve never been the most maternal person, but it hit me like a sledgehammer. I was so in love with this little baby, and I felt so so protective of him. Which I imagine is every mother’s instinct and feelings towards their children.
But with that came more worry. And paranoia. I was fine at first. People would come over to see us and meet the baby, and they would hold him and it was lovely and we’d also sit and have a cup of tea and chat about the Labour and how cute he was etc etc. But when it became most days, and people weren’t actually coming to see me, they were coming just to see my baby, and as soon as they arrived they were straight to his crib or trying to pick him up, I started to feel anxious.
As all new mums know, trying to get into a routine is so hard with a newborn. Your lives are all over the place, your grabbing hard, cold pieces of toast whenever possible, juggling housework and trying to keep your personal hygiene on a somewhat acceptable level, and also having to deal with visitors and friends and family members not wanting to leave you alone. And even when they weren’t “just passing so we thought we’d pop in” (yeah ok then) they were texting or ringing you every few hours; “Hows William doing?” “How was last night with William?” “Do you need anything?” “We text you a couple of hours ago and you haven’t replied is everything ok?” “Just tried ringing you and there was no answer are you sure you’re ok?” “We’ve just been knocking at the door and there was no response we are worried” “can we come back and see you at tea time?” Etc etc. Sometimes you don’t want to answer the texts and calls because you’re either elbow deep in korma crap or cleaning up puke or just HAVING A NAP.
Now I know some people reading this love all that sort of thing all the attention and the fuss, and are probably thinking that I’m being a right negative Nancy, or being ungrateful. I’m not. I’m just wanting to spend some time alone with my new baby, catch up on sleep, perhaps watch an episode of Corrie while he sleeps IN PEACE. Looking like a goblin from another world in my 7 day old sick stained PJ’S and not having to entertain anyone but myself.
So dealing with all that, and having unwanted advice thrown at you left right and centre, and people coming and disrupting you, plus the sleep deprivation and the fact my husband works away, it made me feel a little on edge if I’m honest. I used to love this little bubble me and William had, just me and him, and I felt like other people would ruin it.
I’m not going to lie, i still feel like it now. When my mother in law used to hold William it used to make me feel sick to my stomach. Even my mum or my step dad. I’d be holding him and people would say “oh, can I have a hold?”, Or Norms would ask his mum if she wanted to have a cuddle with him, and I could literally feel the dread and fear and bitterness bubbling up inside me. It used to give me goosebumps. So I’d hand him over, without really wanting to, and I’d be fighting back the tears, trying to keep my shit together and not lose my rag and snatch him back and run out of the door to the safety of our own house where no one else was apart from us three.
I was jealous of other people holding my own baby. Jealous, even though I spend more or less 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with him. I was scared that they wouldn’t hold him right, or that they would hurt him. I felt angry that they wanted to hold him, to love him, because he was my baby. Not theirs. Mine.
It got so bad, that when other people held him I’d get myself that’s het up about it I’d have to leave the room. I was concerned that the way they were doing things wasn’t the right way, because it may have been different to my way. And of course, my way is always right. Or in my head, it is.
I’m going to be honest, I’m better now, well, not as much as I’d like to be but I am getting there. There are a few instances where I’ve lost my shit and got myself in such a state because say, my sister in law has held William, and taken him for a little walk around the house, and I can’t see him and it freaks me out. But I’m sure I’ll get better with it as time goes on. I need to.
It may sound ridiculous to some people, and some people totally won’t get it, and may let their baby’s stay out at a weekend and enjoy the time away from them, or some people may be reading this thinking I’m a complete nut job, or somebody might be reading this and thinking “oh, thank GOD it’s not just me”. It’s a silent battle I have to have with myself. I never ever thought I’d be one of these paranoid mums, but hey, here I am. But it’s coming from a good place, a place where the love is overwhelming and unconditional and sometimes painful, the amount that you love them.
I’ve even left him three times, one night with my mum while we went for a meal with friends, one afternoon also with mum when we went out for drinks and lunch, and also with my mother in law while we had drinks again one afternoon. Each of those times has been really hard for me to do, and I’m not going to lie in the lead up to the event, I’ve been awake in the night, worrying if he is going to be okay, worrying if I should be leaving him, etc etc . And when I have left him, there have been a few tears. All mine. He doesn’t realise I’ve gone half the time I think.
Of course I know I need to leave him with people more. I feel ridiculous that I don’t, and if I did I would probably feel a whole lot better about things as I would have time to be me, rather than just mummy. Plus I know that he needs to learn to be comfortable around other people. When I go back to work, I’m going to have to suck it up. Its going to happen. I just feel like I really have to take it one step at a time. I feel silly, and embarrassed, i mean, i come across as this over confident, bolshy, loud mouthed woman, who seems to have it all planned out, yet in reality, i am actually so weak. And I’m sure other people will agree. And maybe some people will be wondering why I haven’t just gone to the doctors, got some happy pills and got the fuck on with it.
Ok, so maybe I have got a little bit of post natal depression, who knows, but I don’t necessarily want to just go get some pills and forget about it. I talk to my friends, talk to my family, talk to my husband, they understand I find it difficult, and they are there with me 100% . They might be frustrated, I know sure as hell my mum and mother in law are itching to have William more, but they also probably see me, a new mother, and understand it’s each to their own, and understand that everybody is different and everybody does things at their own pace. And for that I thank them, and my friends, keeping my head from spinning off when I feel like I’m not in control. And also i thank my husband for putting up with my little panics, my endless crying, when I know he wants to spend more time as a couple with me, yet I am so consumed with being a mother and being afraid to let William go, I know it must be frustrating for him. Especially if you take into account the sex evacuation I was speaking about in my earlier post . The poor bastard.
People may also be reading this and feel the same as me. And if anyone is, then please don’t feel alone. Speak to someone. It does help. And don’t think that your stupid, be embarrassed or struggle on your own. Anxiety is real, it happens, and it doesn’t show that you aren’t coping.
It shows you care. It shows you are being a mother.