Updated: Nov 17, 2020
To you, first-time parent of a newborn, I know it feels amazing, yet overwhelming, all at the same time. When I became a mother, one of the biggest changes for me, personally, was the fact that I was no longer alone. I now had this tiny sidekick, who was with me 24/7, who came everywhere with me, accompanied me, no matter what I was doing. Whether it was doing the dishes, hanging washing or going to the toilet, he was somewhere very close by. Ironically, even though I was never ‘alone’, I had never felt so lonely. Being alone with a baby, is very different to just being by yourself. Your baby’s needs come before yours, and you spend the majority of the day doing tasks that revolve around them – feeding, changing, doing their washing, entertaining, cuddling to sleep etc. The few moments you do get to yourself, you are either attempting to sleep, trying to do something essential for yourself – eg have a shower, or just catching up on everything else that needs doing, but you were unable to accomplish earlier.
Those first couple of months, I really struggled. I did have support from my family thankfully, however I still felt lonely, all the time. My husband was working hard to support us, and I was so very grateful, but it also meant there were some days he was gone till dark. I did catch up with family and friends, but they still had their own lives, and there were still many hours of the day to fill. In hindsight, Mr I was actually a SUPER chilled baby (especially compared to Miss C). Even though he didn’t sleep for long periods of time, when he was awake, he was mostly just content. However, at the time, as a new mum, I didn’t realise it or appreciate it. Although I never consulted a doctor, looking back, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had been diagnosed with postnatal depression, or something similar at least. I was really not in a great place mentally. As I mentioned in my previous post: fed is best, I was also severely sleep deprived, which of course did not help the situation.
Amidst all the loneliness, I also felt so incredibly guilty. Guilty that I wasn’t completely ‘loving’ motherhood. Yes, I loved my baby more than words could describe, but I often wondered if I was cut out to be a mum. To you, first-time parent of a newborn, if you have cried more than you have in your life – I feel you. I resented my husband for being able to go to work and live a somewhat ‘normal’ life, while my life had been completely turned upside down. I went from high-school, straight to uni and working part-time, to working full-time, and was often socialising on weekends. Therefore, to go from being super busy, to just being at home, was also a shock in itself. Yes, I did enjoy being able to lounge around on the couch in my pjs, but when you also have a tiny human to look after/entertain, it’s not quite as relaxing. It was also quite boring, due to the mundanity of the days. I found it particularly boring when he was small and wasn’t really interacting, but just sort of chilling or sleeping (or screaming), I also felt guilty for finding it boring. I tried my best to keep myself busy, I was always taking him to the shops and to see family and friends. However, deep down I was still struggling.
When Mr I was approximately 4 months old, we moved house and I started to feel more alive. Maybe having the job of setting up a new house gave me a purpose and distracted me. I think that, combined with the fact he was not a newborn anymore, and starting to become more of a little person, helped. He was more alert and smiling, interested in toys etc. Then, slowly but surely, life started to look a little more normal, and I started to feel a bit more like myself.
Although that was almost 4 years ago, many of the emotions and experiences are still so fresh in my memory, it almost brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. When I reminisce on some of the thoughts I had, and to this day, I have never admitted to anyone, it’s actually scary. Years later when I revealed some of the struggles I experienced to some family members, they were completely shocked and had no idea. To you, first-time parent of a newborn, it’s okay if you’re overwhelmed.
Thankfully, I ended up completely fine. Some people, go on a downward spiral. Please, please, please, talk to someone if you are struggling. IT IS COMPLETELY OKAY AND YOU ARE NOT A TERRIBLE MOTHER if you are struggling. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby, or that you are not good enough. Rely on your support system, ask for help, accept help. If you don’t have much of a support system – find some! Message me! There are many helplines you can call. You don’t need to go through it alone.
The purpose of this post is not to gain sympathy, but to share my story, and to encourage new mum’s out there. I wish I had confided in someone, then maybe my journey would’ve been a little easier. I also want to reiterate, I did have help from my amazing husband, family members and friends, but as I didn’t reveal my true feelings, they had no idea what I was going through. Many people like to leave new mothers alone, they don’t want to intrude and just let them be to raise their baby. Some people might like the space and the peace! Others, like me, who are more social, need the interaction and support more than ever. If you know a new mother, check in with them. We need to support each other and encourage each other. No matter your situation, you will get through it. To you, first-time parent of a newborn, it does get easier. Snuggle your baby, leave the housework, you’ve got this!
Keep Smiling Mamas,