Sunday, July 4, 2010

10 days

He's 10 days old now.

I've thought about writing a post so many times in those 10 days but my moods swing so dramatically that whatever I wrote, I knew I would hate myself for it a few hours later and either delete it or write another post reneging it.

The first week was the worst. I was so fucking emotional I was crying all. the. time. I was certain there was NO WAY I was going to survive this.

I was stressed over Ruby and how I've "ruined" her life. I cried every time I looked at her, overwhelmed with guilt.

I was embarrassed of myself for how I acted while I was in labour. I cried and screamed in pain and I begged to die. When it was time to push I at first refused because I said that I just couldn't. I begged the midwife and/or nurse to get him out another way, any other way. I felt ashamed acting so out of control and it ate me up a bit.

I was uncomfortable with breastfeeding. Remember I pumped for 6 months with Ruby because she refused to breastfeed. Lincoln is a champ in that department but he sucked so hard it hurt (I cracked and bled). And I felt trapped by it - sitting on the couch feeding him for hours and hours in a day. Not to mention the wild emotions that were released when I was in the actual act of doing it. I also felt shy about doing it. My boobs are bigger than Lincoln's head and I found it extremely difficult to be discreet which really bothered me.

I felt pain and immense fatigue from the birth. I was so tired and shaky and had zero appetite. So even though I was hungry and knew I should eat - I couldn't. And that made things worse. I was soooo weak.

I thought/imagined that Steve was disgusted with me. Both my appearance and my emotionalism.

Ruby acted like a demon. She was already going through a "phase" when Lincoln came into the world but I managed to blame myself for bringing a new baby into the house for her behavior. I felt like a horrible mother because I was actually incapable of dealing with her. Her whining and crying and often rotten behavior almost put me over the top.

I was overcome with fear and anxiety of how in the hell I'm going to look after both Ruby and Lincoln when Steve goes back to work later this week.

After a particularly tearful visit to the midwive's office, one midwife said she would refer to me to post partum mental health.

Later that day the midwife who delivered Lincoln called and talked to me about the birth and explained that it really was normal and I did and said nothing that I need to be ashamed of.

I let Ruby go to my mom's house over night when Lincoln was a week old. Of course I felt like I was pawning her off and hated myself for it but the next morning I felt refreshed and more clear.

And in the past few days I feel like things are improving. My body is healing. I'm getting the hang of Lincoln. I bought a breastfeeding cover. I'm not quite as sleep deprived feeling. I'm working on helping Ruby through her phase. The guilt is fading. I'm able to do a little more.

I feel incredibly lucky to have such a good baby. Lincoln is kickass good. He's not fussy. He doesn't cry (unless he's really, really hungry). And a few times I have had to wake HIM to feed him in the night. Sometimes I only have to get up with him once or twice in the night. (I didn't want to write this paragraph because as soon as I hit "publish" he will turn into a sleep depriving demon, I just know it)

I probably won't need the mental health appointment. I can probably work through this.

And yet still... at around 5 or 6pm each day I am usually in fairly rough shape. The tiredness hits and so does the depression. The tears are easy to fall. It usually lasts until I go to bed. But I know that when I wake up the next day (or sometime in the night) I will likely feel better.

I just have to keep on keeping on and hope things keep improving - however slowly.


Carrie said...

Longtime reader, first time commenter - congratulations on your beautiful boy!

Also want to reaffirm that NOTHING you did is anything to be ashamed of. Giving birth is intense and extreme and we all do what we can to get through it, be that massage, breathing, drugs, screaming, begging or whatever else gets you there. I would say that a healthy percentage of my mama friends had a moment where they told someone they couldn't do it, nothing weird about it.

Having a new baby can feel overwhelming and it sounds from your words here like it's hitting you pretty hard. There's no extra points for toughing it out - if there's help from Grandma or from mental health workers, that's awesome and don't feel guilty about taking it!

Bless you and your little one - I hope he continues to be a chilled out little guy so you can get all the rest you need.

edenland said...

Oh SWEETHEART. Mate, you have GOT to cut yourself some slack. You are doing amazingly well!! My goodness it must be so tricky, I can't imagine. I couldn't do what you are doing right now. I would need mental health days every motherfucking day, swear to God.

Take it day by day mate .... hour by hour. You are doing the most important job on the planet, btw. It just doesn't get recognised as such.

Love to you and your beautiful family XOX

Me said...

Tara, you need to let up on yourself babe!

You are doing a wonderful job raising an 18 month old and a newborn AND managing a household!

I saw you yesterday and you looked cute and happy and you are AMAZING with both babies!

Don't feel guilty about having to ask for help, that is what family and friends are there for! There is nothing to be ashamed of during your labour because you did amazing! You gave birth! You brought a child into this world through your body, your determination, your strength and your hard work. You did that. Be very proud of yourself.


noswimmers said...

I can't imagine the amount of stres you're under, I can barely handle my ONE child...I can't even fathom what its like to take care of two. You are AMAZING. Ruby loves you, I know she does. She is going to act out, cause that's what little ones her age do. Not that it makes it any easier.

Take your time with things, give yourself a break when needed...and it maybe wouldn't hurt to go to the appointment. It's always nice to have an objective person to talk to.

Hang in there hun, you're doing great!! :)

Sully said...

Don't feel guilty about Ruby. Think of it this way...even if it's a bit rough now, she now has a brother. Someone she can count on her whole life. When we start discussing the potential second child, I think of this to get me through the possibility of guilt. You're doing great. Hang in there!

Marie said...

I happened upon your blog, but wanted to comment. I can relate. My little girl is now 2 months old and the first couple weeks were hard. I have a 5 year old and I felt horribly guilty. It gets better, I promise. And looking at my girl, even after a miserably fussy colicy day makes me smile.

Keep the mental health appointment - mine did me some good - even tho I was coming out of the funk when I went.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Just want to say I'm thinking bout you and hoping you are hanging in there. I'm sure it can't be easy because those first few weeks with just one were crazy for me. You are doing a fantastic job!

Hopeful Mother said...

I just wanted to send you a quick hug and some support - I think you are a rock star and you're doing great. Don't be afraid to take that mental health appt. if you think it might even help you a *little* bit. Can't hurt, can only help. I think your feelings and reactions are all NORMAL!

babyinterrupted said...

Here from the blog roundup on Stirrup Queens...I just wanted to thank you for writing this, because I am 6 months pregnant with our first child (2nd IVF) and, honestly, it's good to read a truthful account of those first few days. It's good to know that I will not be alone in whatever emotional chaos ensues after birth. I hope you continue to feel better each day.

sara said...

Thank you for saying how the first weeks are when most of us are too freakin afraid to tell it like it is! Belated congrats on new addition to the family! ((hugs))

Kristen said...

Here from mel's roundup...

I think its AWESOME that you wrote this. I totally relate to feeling guilty for even having such feelings, let alone admitting them to other people. The thing is, I think most, if not all, moms can relate and its sad that we've convinced ourselves we should feel ashamed for feeling this way.

My boys are 15 months apart in age and both adopted. I had a really, really hard time learning to balance the needs of both of them and felt extremely overwhelmed, exhausted and worried that we'd made a mistake. I can't even imagine how difficult it is to add anothe child to your family after the exhaustion of giving birth.

Take things day by day. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Make time for yourself - even if its just to shower. Things will get better and you will find your groove.

Amber said...

I am so relieved to read such an honest and heartfelt post about the postpartum days. Everyone assumes it is this blissfully perfect time and mom should be nothing but happy. In reality, your situation is the truth for the majority of women. But our society has made everyone too afraid to talk about things if we struggle a little.

This will get a lot better soon, hang in there. And thanks a ton for sharing!

Coffeegrljp said...

Here from Mel's roundup to say - "oh yes!" So much of this sounds familiar. Both from the first child (exhaustion, sleep deprivation etc.) and the second (how the heck do I handle the older with the toddler challenges, let alone the two of them together?!)

Great post!