When you’ve just had a baby, everybody expects you to be beaming with happiness at your little bundle of joy, but not me. Like a lot of new mums, I cried a lot in the first few weeks of my baby being born and had what people call the ‘baby blues’.
I couldn’t help crying, I was tired, anxious and felt hopeless a lot of the time. It’s a feeling I couldn’t get rid of, and my mother told me it was because my hormones were all over the place but deep down I felt like it was just me and maybe it was my body’s way of saying I couldn’t cope.
There were days when I was home alone with my baby and he’d be crying, even after I’d changed, fed and winded him, and hearing him cry always upsets me. But at times I’d not know what to do, and I’d sit with him in my arms crying, asking why he didn’t love me or settle on me the way he would for his dad. I always got a little ache in my heart when my baby had been crying all day, but the minute his dad walked through the door and held him, he’d stop.
I felt helpless. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, I carried him for nine months, brought him into this world and held him in my arms when he was less than a minute old, yet I couldn’t feel a bond. I felt alone too, with the night feeds and nappy changes, I was with this baby 24/7 without having two minutes to myself.
I didn’t mind not having a few minutes to myself though, or the sleepless nights. I loved my baby boy so much and I knew I wasn’t alone. But I still felt I wasn’t doing a good job.
I didn’t feel like a mum either, I don’t think it had sunk in yet and everything was such a whirlwind. I didn’t like being away from my baby too, I couldn’t bare not being in the same room as him and I would cry if I couldn’t see him. When people came to visit or we had to go visit people, I hated it. I didn’t want to be around anyone, pretending I was happy when really I just wanted to cry because I felt so overwhelmed. I didn’t want people holding him either. Not because I was selfish and wanted him to myself, but because I just didn’t like him being passed around from person to person, especially while he was sleeping. Most of the time people would try to wake him up and I hated that, because it was me that had to deal with him crying and being unsettled later and I found it rather disrespectful.
In the few weeks after Leo was born, I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t want to eat anything and I didn’t really drink much either. I cried and felt hopeless, and I would snap at my partner because he’d not want me to cry but I couldn’t help it.
The first few weeks are always busy with visits, but I really didn’t want that. I wanted to be alone with my partner and baby and settle into parenthood first. I was still recovering from the labour, after 20 hours and having to have stitches I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. The house being untidy stressed me out, I had to clean everything and make sure items were put away because I’d get anxious and frustrated at the mess.
It’s been 6 weeks, and I’m slowly getting there with my emotions, I don’t cry as much now. I went to a sensory class when Leo was 4 weeks old, and talking to other mums who had been in the same position as me and getting out of the house made me feel more reassured that I wasn’t alone when I thought that I was.
Any mum can tell you that it’s hard at first but it gets easier once you’re in a routine, but as a new mum, you find it hard to see anything past the next 4a.m. night feed because you’re that tired.
There’s a fine line between having the baby blues and suffering from post-natal depression, you just have to speak to someone before it gets that far.