Raw

“I hate you,” I hiss through clenched teeth, while he wails back at me.

I feel instantly guilty, and hope he didn’t hear, but the words still came out.

His crying unravels something deep in my soul. I want so desperately to fix it, to make it stop, but at the same time I resent the cries for even existing. If they could be sucked back into the void, and that meant taking the baby with them, so be it.

I tell Jonty in the morning that I’d fantasised about running away in the night. I’d imagined finding someone who could love Isaac and take care of him, and I’d give him to them and just run and run.

The confession opened the floodgates and I’ve been crying ever since. I know these feelings are normal, I know everyone struggles at first, but I feel so desolate; so small and full of fear.

The pregnancy felt so easy, everything fit into place and made me strong. And the labour and delivery even more so. I’d never felt more aware, happy and certain of who I was and how I fit into the world.

Three weeks later I feel the exact opposite. I thought becoming a parent would be the same – not that it would be easy or I’d be perfect at it, but that it would feel right, feel like something I was meant to do.

I knew there would be sleepless nights and lots of feeds, but I was prepared for the physicality of it because that would fit into the framework of my new identity. I would be A Mum, and those are things mums cope with.

Except I don’t feel like a mum at all. I feel like a lost little girl who cries when her baby cries because she doesn’t know what else to do.

I can’t understand any of the things he tries to communicate to me. I constantly second-guess myself. I feel like any way I respond to him is wrong, and worse, I worry that my poor responses are somehow damaging his development or making him more likely to get upset.

I don’t know where to go from here, except to see if I can find some help. I need to know that I’m responding in the right ways to him, or I need someone to show me how I should respond if I’m doing it wrong. I need to know that he’s normal, that he doesn’t cry more than other babies, and that he’s going to cry less with time.

I need to rediscover my self-belief. I know it’s in there somewhere still, it always is. I need to dig it out and dust it off and let it make some of the decisions, instead of letting self-doubt continue to call the shots.

I need to take a deep breath and look at the sunshine and the new day and my new baby and *smile*.

Even if it’s only a half smile, tears still quivering at the corners, it’s a start.

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2 Comments»

  Pips wrote @

Oh hon. Having never been through it I can’t imagine how exhilarating, infuriating, despairing, terrifying and amazing it must be, all at the same time. Talk about a roller coaster. I think you should def see someone, if only, as you say, to reassure you that everything’s fine and normal. It must be very overwhelming, especially so far from home. I for one, have always imagined that it’s not all fluffy bunnies and candyfloss, and that it must be suffocating sometimes. Thanks for your honesty. I’m sure you are by no means the first or last mother to feel this way. Here’s a big virtual hug. Lots of love, xx P

  elle wrote @

Thanks so much. He just slept through his first two weeks because he had jaundice, so it was a shock when he ‘woke up’ and suddenly cried for all these reasons I couldn’t fathom.

Have coped quite well since the meltdown though, because it forced me to send out a distress call and get some help – talked to a friend who’d had exactly the same experience and feelings, had visits from another friend who brought food and took Isaac so I could nap, and had a great visit with his paed.

She said he was an amazing baby and I was clearly doing all the right things. She did also say that the next three weeks he’s likely to get even fussier and harder to predict, but it helps to know it’s coming!

Certainly I’m feeling like there are still ways I can have some control, even if the needs of this little person are relentless and have to come before everything else.


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