I had Baby Blues with my first child and the culture shock of going from being very independent and going out socialising whenever I wanted to, to being in charge of another human being was such a drastic change I think I went into shock. I spent the first year of my child’s life on auto-pilot and it still remains a blur to this day. Thankfully children don’t remember back that far and I like to think I made up for it since. Don’t misunderstand me, I loved my child from the moment I laid eyes on her beautiful peachy face, but the constant feeding, changing, washing and packing with military precision for a trip to the shops all blurred into one. The lack of sleep in the first few months was enough to send me over the edge. For someone who loves their sleep this was particularly hard for me. I think anyone who is deprived of sleep feels like a zombie and everyday things become much harder to deal with. I would burst into tears at the drop of a hat when no one was around, where had the bubbly laid back young woman gone? I tried to put on a front when around others and pretend everything was fine. I would see other mothers out and about as though it was so easy and felt a failure because I wasn’t able to effortlessly transition into motherhood.
My first born was an angel and barely cried or caused any issues so why did I feel so ‘flat’ and devoid of emotion (apart from crying). Although we as a society are more open about these things it still wasn’t the ‘norm’ to discuss it, so I just plodded along. Then just before she turned 1 years old, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head and I suddenly awoke from the slumber. I still don’t know how or why it happened, then the guilt overtook and I felt bad for not giving my child everything she deserved and more. She was well fed, clean, had nice clothes, a nicely decorated bedroom, had more toys than Hamley’s and wanted for nothing, but there was no enthusiasm, no depth from me as a mummy. I was just going through the motions like a robot, so I made sure I made up for it once I ‘woke up’. I went on to have an amazing bond and relationship with my child, she was my mini me and went everywhere with me, so much so, I thought after a few years I would do it all again, and got pregnant with my second child when my daughter was around 5 years old. How difficult can it be I thought, my first child was in full time school and I had this motherhood thing sussed now, or so I thought!
A second child is a totally different ball game. Hellooo! I didn’t get baby Blues this time round but I found it incredibly hard to manage 2 children compared to 1. My 2nd born was a very different character/personality to my 1st born, he was very active and into everything and anything, you couldn’t take your eyes off him for a second. I was worried by daughter would become neglected as I focused so much of my attention just trying to keep my son from hurting himself or doing something dangerous. Going out became such a mission I ended up staying home most of the time until he was around 5 and reached full time school, where thankfully he began to calm down and mellow out. Only when they were both in full time school did I begin feel ‘normal’ again. Also going back to part time work helped as it made me feel normal, like the old me, before children and gave me something other than children to focus my mind on. I take my hat off to full time mothers as this is the hardest job in the world and not recognised enough in my opinion. Both my children are now adults and are both amazing in different ways, they are actually closer as adults than they ever were as children. So it all worked out well and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but I will never forget those first few years of their early lives.
I hope my story has helped you or anyone you know who is a new mummy going through something similar, you are normal and it is Ok not to be OK. I know it’s a cliché but there is light at the end of the tunnel and things will get easier as they grow and also as you grow as a parent. Obviously some parents suffer really severe depression, which is not the same as Baby Blues and they may need medical help and support from their GP, which I would always encourage someone to see help if needed, but for me I managed to get through it hanging on by my fingernails with the support of my amazing family and friends. At the end of it all you may feel as though you have gone through a hurricane and come out a bit battered and bruised, but it is worth it as you have created this amazing little human! You also feel an amazing sense of achievement, if you can do this you can do anything, you got this! Well done you!