That Knot in my Stomach

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I haven’t always been honest on this blog. It’s not that I have lied, I just chose to keep some things in my written diary rather than on here. I never wanted this blog to be anything specific. It started out as a blog about my life, experiences and crafting, then I got pregnant and it became about that part of my life too. I didn’t want it to be dark.

Twitter was my saviour when I became a mummy, I met like-minded ladies who had all had babies at the exact (give or take a week) time as me. 24 hours a day I could find someone to talk to, to vent at, to ask for advice from. I could also find people who seemed to be doing better at this parenthood malarky than me, those who seemed to be coping better, those who seemed to go quiet at nighttime because they were actually sleeping.

For the first 4 months of Baby A’s life…I struggled. Becoming a Mum was the absolute hardest thing I have ever ever done. The pregnancy was amazing, joyful, magical, sickness free and exciting. The labour and birth were pretty much everything I hoped for… in water, quick and no where near as painful as my mind had imagined. The reality of being back home with my healthy little bundle of joy was more than a shock to the system.

I felt sick; all the time. I realised after I crested the day 5 wave of hormones that this feeling might not be normal. I mean sick like I had a job interview, but ALL the time. When I looked at Baby A I felt my stomach turn over at the thought of how much I loved him and what I might feel if anything went wrong. I felt like I wanted to put him down so he could sleep, but then when I did I worried he would not feel loved enough. When I picked him up I worried he would only ever sleep if I was holding him. I worried I was feeding him too much, I worried he was feeling my worry.

I worried about my relationship with The Boy, even though we slept next to each other every night, I missed him. I knew things would never be the same and I was heartbroken, I cried whilst he and the baby slept. I sobbed in the bath because I so desperately wanted some time to myself and then I felt guilty at wanting that time. I went for a walk and came back to Baby A crying and as a breastfeeding Mum, I seemed to be the only one who could comfort him. At a friends when forced to have a nice hot bath with a magazine and a facemask, all I could hear was the baby crying for 20 minutes…. when I came down, she said he hadn’t made a peep.

If I am honest, I was waiting for the 6 week point when things were supposed to get easier, they didn’t. Then I waited for the 12 week point… still not much easier. A friend came to see me and I asked how her friend was getting on with her postnatal depression… she said she was much better. Then she asked whether I was ok.

Don’t get me wrong, lots of people asked me if I was ok…. and I talked…. I think this meant that they thought I was ok… because I talked. I have always been open and honest so I thought I was ok too. But I felt flat and still that knot in my stomach persisted.

Should I keep breastfeeding, would he take a bottle, what if he didn’t? What if he did? When should he go in his own room? Would he be safe in there? WHY OH WHY would he never sleep in the day.

I went to the Doctors at the start of March… they did the usual questions and seemed happy that I was not “depressed” but referred me for an assessment which was fast tracked as I was postnatal. The assessment took place during the nightmare snow and I had to get 3 buses with Baby A in a sling and snow spikes and a walking stick to get there. The therapist looked at me incredulously – she seemed to think I was a fairly determined woman and was almost apologetic when she told me I was not really supposed to bring my child with me to a mental health appointment. I hadn’t event really thought about it, he was always with me, he needed me… I was never on my own…. but therein lay some of the problem. The assessment resulted in her recommending a course of CBT sessions…. she didn’t want to label me, but suspected I suffered from some form of anxiety.

I don’t want to write a blow by blow account of those sessions, but they have been an amazing help; from the first session where I adamantly refused the suggestion that I might suppress emotion, to the one 2 weeks before my wedding where I was preparing to summon all the skills I had learnt to deal with what was supposed to be one of the most stressful things you can do, after having a baby and moving house (all of which I am doing in the same year) They were turning things around for me.

Alot of my coping mechanisms for anxiety have been developed over my 33 years of life… and you can’t just change overnight… but a baby does change you overnight and you have to adapt and find new ways to cope.

The problem is, I have not had a session for a while and my last one was cancelled and in the post-wedding, going back to work, buying a new house, fog… I can feel myself slipping.

Baby A is a ‘challenge’ at the moment. He seems to be good for everyone else. He cries when I leave the room, he hangs on the door gate, he cries after his naps, he refuses food, his teeth are bothering him, he is mastering standing – he has a lot going on. I feel myself slipping… back to those feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and confusion.

I feel that flat feeling…. that might or might not lead to that knot in my stomach.

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5 responses »

  1. I just wanted to say that you are not alone – i suffered with anxiety after the birth of my first son. In manifested itself itself at first in terrible insomnia (i did a post on it recently), i couldn’t sleep as i was so anxious about everything. I think i read too many baby books and i felt like i was doing everything wrong.

    I think i will always be an anxiety sufferer to some extent but it is so much better now and i have not had a panic attack in a couple of years now. I think to a certain extent i just had to find my feed as a mum and learn to adjust to such a big change. I also took a course of AD’s for a while but was not sure if they really helped or not.

    I’m really glad you found the CBT helped, please talk to people if you feel like you are slipping back, don’t let it get too bad first xxx

    • Thank you so much. The anxiety was always there I think, but I couldn’t cope with it very well on becoming a mummy… I always think I am doing everything wrong!

      I do talk and it definitely helps to share things – people come forward with their experiences and it really does make you realise that you are not alone… right down to people having the EXACT same feelings.

  2. You just described me! “He seems to be good for everyone else” is exactly what I’m saying at the moment and the knot I had at the beginning is coming back as Albie won’t eat anything I feed him, won’t drink his milk, doesn’t want to know what water is at the moment. I know that knot so well, it hurt so much at the beginning I just had to get pills to sort it out but now that I’m coming off them it’s all starting to creep back and I don’t want to go back on them I need some counselling I think, I need to close the chapter of a scary birth, of not wanting to cuddle my baby in fear that he will rely on me too much and we would become difficult when he’s older – why couldn’t I live in the moment and embrace the early days. I held a newborn today and it was so emotional, the baby started to cry but I was so calm, the baby wasn’t mine so I didn’t panic and I swayed a bit and the baby smiled and went to sleep I was almost in tears but tears don’t come anymore I’ve become so numb. I feel like I’m being so dramatic I need a chill pill without taking any pills. we need that coffee!!xx

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me Caroline. That awful memory of not wanting to cuddle in fear that he would always need cuddling to slepe… I mean what the hell…. where do they insecurities come from. Now I would cuddle him every hour of every day if he needed it … .but of course he doesn’t; he is too independent now.

      The numbness is awful. I spoke to my husband last night – after deflecting his questions about whether I wanted to talk and I cried for about 20 minutes. I looked like hell, but felt quite a bit better!

      We do need that coffee! xx

  3. Pingback: Lucky 7 | Dinky Thinks

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