Confessions of a New Mum - Guest Post by Housewife in Heels | Motherhood
This is the fifth guest post from other bloggers about their memories of being a new Mum. If you would like to write a post for this series let me know in the comments or send me an email to kylie(@)kyliepurtell(dot)com
I am so very lucky to have one of my favourite bloggers guest posting today, The Housewife in Heels! If you haven't read Helen in Heels' blog before then you are sorely missing out. Her sense of humour alone is reason enough to get to know this lady, not to mention her awesome wardrobe and gorgeous kids! Helen has written a touching letter to her second-born son Joseph, about the emotional first few months of his life. Anyone that has struggled with post-natal depression will relate this post, and even those who haven't. Please show your support for Helen by leaving her lots of lovely comments.
You’re five weeks old and thriving. You smile and coo and breastfeed. And, while I gain some joy from this, mostly it saddens me. Because every smile and coo and breastfeed reminds me of what your brother didn’t do. And I worry. Why did your brother not smile or coo or breastfeed? I convince myselfthat there is something wrong with him and it was because of me. That I starved him. I convince myself that because I starved him, his growth will be stunted and he will be retarded.
I spend Christmas Day pleading with your Dad to take your brother to the emergency room at the hospital because I truly believe that I starved him and caused him to be retarded. Your Dad talks me out of it.
Shortly after, I visit the GP who reassures me that your brother is bright and thriving and grew according to growth expectations for his size. I’m relieved. But it doesn’t take long for the guilt to return. Again, I irrationally convince myself that I starved your brother and there will be long-term repercussions.
Before you came along, I devoted myself to your brother. Every waking second was spent with him in mind. Holding, singing, talking… yet I am convinced I failed him.
I find myself writing pros and cons lists of whether he would have been better off adopted. I note that he may have had abandonment issues if he’d been adopted, so decide that perhaps it was better that he’d been in my care. I know this seems irrational now, but at the time, when I was doubting my rights to custody of your brother, I would pull out that pros and cons list and remind myself that at least he wouldn’t have abandonment issues.
Things deteriorate. I can’t eat or sleep and my mind is paused on a belief that I starved your brother and caused irrevocable harm. I am a nervous wreck. I am well enough to know this. I phone my sister and beg her not to leave me alone with you boys. I visit the Doctor and commence Valium and anti-anxiety medication. I fly to my mother’s house where she and my sister care for us.
Over the next two weeks my family and good friends look after us, and amongst the feelings of guilt and anxiety I feel loved. Through this period I make efforts to ‘fake’ bonding with you- where I act the part of loving mother, while my mind is distracted… Eventually, I consider myself fragile but well enough to care for you boys.
Over the next few months, things slowly improve, despite several significant stressors that threaten this trajectory. Your brother is indeed thriving and appears quite bright, which helps with the recovery process.
And you too are thriving. Despite my periods of absentness, you were always readily smiling and cooing and meeting developmental milestones. You seem unaffected. You’re 12 months now and so loveable (although you were always easy to love). You and your brother play and fight. You love to open the fridge and freezer and climb into the toy box. You point to birds and say ‘birb’ and the dog and say ‘dod’. You are a very good looking boy and friends and strangers regularly remind me of this.
Occasionally I am consumed with new feelings of guilt about the long-term repercussions for my periods of [emotional] absentness in your infancy.
If you or someone you know is struggling you can contact the following people -
Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636 - www.beyondblue.org.au
PANDA - 1300 726 306 - www.panda.org.au
Confessions of a New Mum Part One - Learning Curves and 'Un'Enjoyment
Confessions of a New Mum Part Two - Stitched Up
Confessions of a New Mum Part Three - The Part-time SAHM
Confessions of a New Mum Part Four - Mum Appreciation
Confessions of a New Mum Part Five - Losing My Confidence
Confessions of a New Mum Part Six - As Time Passes
Confessions of a New Mum - Kelly from Handmade Tears and Triumphs (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Bron from Big Brother, Little Sister & the Baby (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Jenn from Mountains & Musings (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Sophie from i-Soph (Guest Post)