Monday, 21 November 2011

So no-one mentioned the guilt........

Having recently had a baby girl I have been fretting slightly that my blog will turn into a parenting/baby blog (that's if I even get the chance to write a blogpost). Just like I fretted that during my pregnancy my blog would turn into a pregnancy blog. It did turn into a bit of a pregnancy blog and this will probably turn into a bit of a baby blog. I'll try not to let it too much. See the problem is: a blog is pretty much about you, your life and whats going on in it at that moment in time. And right now I am all about the babies. What I will do though, is continue to be brutally honest about what I write about. There's no pink hearts and cupcakes and fluffy clouds on this blog, as you well know. And alot of my readers who don't have kids yet, probably will eventually. So listen up, look sharp and take note. You're going to want to know this shit for the future.

First things first. People tell you lies when you have a baby. Actual lies.

Newborn babies don't sleep all the time. Maybe some do. But mine didn't. Or should I say doesn't. While my little 11 week old angel sleeps great at night (she'd be superhuman if she didn't given she's been up all day), getting her to nap in the house during the day is near damn impossible. The only way of getting Ava to sleep during the day is by taking her out in the car which for some reason, knocks her out like a light for a couple of hours. Only problem is: I'm knackered. I've been out and about practically every single day since she was born. Pyjama days are few and far between and I long for them.

Breastfeeding is not easy. At least it wasn't for me. And the majority of women I have spoken to have agreed with me. The milk mafia bang on and on during pregnancy about how 'easy' it is but I struggled alot. To the point where at 10 days old I sat up crying till it got light and then begged my boyfriend to go to the chemist and buy some formula. I found it excruciatingly painful. And although I now know she was, I was convinced that Ava wasn't getting enough milk. The absolute guilt that I felt when giving Ava that first bottle will live with me forever. I felt like an absolute failure as a mother and no level of reassurance from my boyfriend would convince me that I wasn't. Which is ridiculous. It's formula not poison. Luckily I persevered with the breastfeeding and am proud to say that at 4 weeks Ava came off formula completely and has been breastfed ever since. But it was hard. And I feel really sorry for anyone else out there who struggles and eventually has to resort to formula. There are lots of support for people who are struggling to breastfeed though. It's just that support seems like a million miles away when you are sat up alone at 3am feeling like you are actually cracking up.

Back when I was pregnant I think I was living in some kind of naive little bubble about what having a baby would be like. I had this image of the baby sleeping in the corner whilst I did the housework and made a pot of soup. Of her cooing and gurgling in her Moses basket whilst I caught up on my DVD boxsets. I thought I would be Mary fucking Poppins. I was wrong. Baby's need attention. ALOT of attention. And whilst I don't resent giving her a single second of it, I had no idea just how much I would struggle with the concept of having to divert all of my attention on this tiny little thing, every single second of the day. Particularly a baby who hates to sleep during the day and wants to be held constantly. It can drive you crazy. And for a while it really did. I thought I was cracking up and couldn't cope. It's only through the medium of social networking that I realised that what I was going through was completely normal and did eventually get better.

One resounding theme that I have discovered since having a baby is that I feel guilty all the time. For giving her formula when I couldn't do the breastfeeding anymore, for letting her cry that 30 seconds longer whilst I finished brushing my teeth. For putting her to bed early just so her Dad and I could enjoy a nice evening meal together. For sometimes wishing that I was away from her for just an hour. Just to get my nails done or something. Just to get my sanity back a little. And apparently the guilt doesn't end there. I'll feel guilty when/if I go back to work. When I send her to school even though she's adamant she is ill and I know she's at it. When I don't let her stay out as long as her friends on a Friday night. See, no-one mentioned the guilt.

But the thing that kept me going the most was most definitely Twitter. A group of gorgeous fellow mums stepped in every time my tweets started to slant on slightly suicidal with their thoughts, hints and tips and all round general encouragement and reassurance that things do get better. If you have a baby, or just want to follow a bunch of lovely people, then take your pick, they are listed below (I apologise if I have missed anyone out, you have all been so great):


And things are getting better. I am still finding every day difficult, there's no point denying it. But little changes and progressions every day make me realise that it's getting easier. Or maybe I am just adapting more, who knows.

Ava sleeps like an absolute doll during the night. Yep, she still gets up 2-3 times for her feeds. But she always goes back down to sleep without too much of an issue. And when she doesn't there is always this to ensure she eventually falls back to sleep (thanks @GazMan81 for the recommendation). Although I can't really put Ava down on her own for more than 10 minutes before she starts crying, a variety of different toys seem to be capturing her attention for longer everyday like a swing, her vibrating chair and her new playmat. I even managed to cook a casserole the other day. It took me 10 hours when it was supposed to take 2. But still.

But even without all these little steps forward. Even if I do feel like I am going slightly insane sometimes and am using baths and the odd glass of wine like some kind of drug, it doesn't matter. Because this:

                       makes every single second of it worthwhile.

As does discovering that she is tickly behind her neck, that she loves watching the football with her Dad (she's gonna be a Celtic fan) and that we can't stop her eating the bubbles during bathtime.

        And I wouldn't change a single second of it for the world.


Unknown said...

thankyou , for reminding me what I seem to have forgotten now mine are nearly full grown, keep doing what you are and I promise it wont get easier but it will be a different less easy and just as joyous when you sit and reflect xxx

Gia said...

Awwwwww to the picture.

Firstly, I totally agree that you blog about your life, which doesn't mean you have to put yourself in any type of category. I don't consider myself a "Broke Wine Drinking" Blogger, though that is 99% of what I write about. So don't feel bad about writing about your kid -- she's taking up your whole life right now!

Secondly, I think it would be totally normal/expected/good for you to get away for an hour or so once in awhile. I don't have kids so obviously I'm talking out of my ass, but I don't think there's anything wrong with needing a break from your baby. One of my biggest fears when I think about having babies myself is that feeling that you can't just "give them back" at the end of the day and enjoy peace and quiet. Oh yeah, and you can't drink half a bottle of wine a night.

I'm totally not cut out for parenting.

Tiny Dancer said...

What a totally heartfelt and honest post. it's funny that having a baby is one of the most natural and normal yet totally terrifying experiences ever. I have to say a lot of what you've written is what makes me scared about being a mum next spring, especially since I work from home and can't take time off! But knowing lots of other women feel the same is definitely a comfort.

Dawn Young said...

I found that the more honest I was about how hard it is, the more forthcoming other women became about how much they struggled too. Turns out that most of us struggle at first. You'll love it though. And even during the really, really hard bits, just keep reminding yourself that it does get better. That really helped me! And watch them sleep. It reminds you just how worth it it all is.