Well - I think I am back. To say that the last 10 weeks have been hard is an understatement beyond belief. I never thought that having a baby would be so demanding, trying, difficult and stressful. My life has not been a Johnson and Johnson's commercial, but thankfully, finally, things are starting to settle down and I am starting to feel like my old self again.
Lila is 10 weeks old today. It feels like we have had her for the past 12 months at least. The first 6 weeks are a blur now, but I can tell you a few things.
1. Breast feeding is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Lila couldn't latch on properly. I had constantly aching boobs. I ended up with mastitis twice and after the second time I decided it was just too much stress. I wasnt happy, Lila wasnt happy and I thought it was best to stop. We went to the bottle and was giving her 3 feeds of formula and 3 feeds of breats milk up until last week. Now she is just on formula. She is much more settled and I feel more in control. Its nice to know that it made a difference. Everything started to turn around when I started bottle feeding and although I was adament that I would breast feed for at least 9 months, I think its turned out OK...
2. I am shocked that I had no idea what a big effect having a baby would have on my husband (lets call him A) and our relationship. From the minute we brought Lila home the tension started and I got concerned. I just thought that A couldnt handle the crying, so I nursed Lila to sleep thinking that it would ease the tension a little. It just made him mad that I would 'spoil' her and he didnt feel involved. He started coming home later and later and some nights he would go out and come back at 2am. I felt like a single mother. I could tell that he wasnt enjoying her, but sometimes I felt like he hated her. It was awful to feel so alone and without support. We had such a wonderful, loving relationship and it felt like it was dissapearing. I ended up going to stay at a friends place for a couple of days a) to get some help and b) to give him a break. I realised when I was away that he was a lot of the problem, but he didnt see it that way, and didnt want anything to do with the baby. It turns out he was really depressed and just not coping with any of it - the lack of sleep, the crying, the complete upheaval of our life. I think he is better now, he is starting to really bond with Lila. He actually said 'I love you' to her this morning - a big breakthrough!
3. I had post natal depression. I may still have it now but I am feeling so much better that I am fairly positive that I will be OK. I was in tears daily and really just not coping or enjoying anything about having Lila. It was just horrific. After sobbing on the phone to the community nurse and quite a few friends, I took myself to the GP who sent me to a psychiatrist. Funny thing though - when I finally went to see her I felt silly and wasnt really sure why I was there. The only thing that we talked about that made sense was the fact that I dont have my mum and the effect that would be having on me as a new mum. It sent me reeling for a couple of days, but then I calmed down a little. My best friend LM bought me a book called 'Motherless Mothers' by Hope Edelman. Its a tough read, but it really is starting to make sense of all the feelings I have had since Lila was born. I guess I really didnt factor any of this into how I would cope as a parent which is pretty silly! Now I feel like the haze has lifted and I can actually write this without welling up!
Lila has really settled down and is more content with her own company. I can leave her in her bed and she laughs and giggles at herself. Very cute - but not so cute at 3am! She is also sleeping better and will sometimes sleep 8 hours at a stretch which is just fabulous. She still doesnt really like sleeping in the day, but we go for lots of walks and she normally falls asleep in the pram (but not always!) We are booked into Tressilian next week for a whole week stay. I am so excited about it - I think it will just pull everything together. Sort out her sleeping and feeding and just make me feel more confident about the job I am doing. I really wonder how teenage mothers cope - I guess they just dont have any expectations on themselves. I am a 35 year old, university educated, well travelled, together woman and it really threw me that I couldnt cope. Now I am finally enjoying my baby and feel like this is what I am meant to be doing.
I hope all is well in blog land and I will be posting more regularly now that things have settled down...