The first month has been rough. Today my daughter is a month old and it’s been a tough experience. My partner went back to work on Tuesday and so for the last 3 days I’ve been looking after my daughter on my own.
In all honesty, I spent most of my partners paternity leave secretly pissed off. He took a month off (two weeks paternity and two weeks holiday unlike most dads who just take paternity) to help in case I developed mental health issues. One of the biggest triggers to that is lack of sleep but I found myself with majority of the night shifts and sleeping 1-4 hours a day. My partner in that whole month maybe did 3 night shifts and that includes the first night in the hospital where I was in too much pain to walk or stand. The next was a few days later and there was an odd one during that month. That’s because the night he did it out the hospital (where he was fairly caught up on sleep) in the first week, he got annoyed and told her to shut up and later admitted he had been feeling down about everything and it sounded like he was describing postnatal depression. I could cope with less sleep so I took over.
When she was 8 days old, we took her to see my partner (GC) family. I was working on very little sleep and we spent 1 and a half to 3 hours at 3 different houses with his family. The first house I coped well, actually enjoyed it despite the fact it was his SIL. Second house was his sister who wouldn’t give me the baby back for the time we were there except for a feed. Her kids held the baby which was nice. But there was barely any talking so my partner found it boring. We then went up to his aunties.
Everyone was forewarned we were coming up.
We came up and she had her at least 6 cats in the same room as where myself, her, my daughter and partner had to sit. The cats getting cat hair everywhere and jumping in the pram. Despite the fact she’d promised if we came over, the cats would be out the way. So I was pretty angry and then one of the cats snared my jeans (which doesn’t sound like a big deal but they’re the only ones that fit well so don’t need them ruined). Coupled with the lack of sleep, postpartum pain, lack of food and drink, how angry I was and the fact I hadn’t actually held my daughter in about 4 hours. I just didn’t want to hold her. I feel horrible about that but it’s true. I didn’t want her near me I felt so down and like the bond between us had gone. Whenever my partner handed her to me I passed her off back to him or just held her like Rachel did Ross’ son in FRIENDS.
When we got home, rather than ask how I’d like to feed my child, he went and used one of the bottles of expressed milk. I went upstairs, but angered myself and came back down and told him if he thinks I’m doing such a bad job he can do it all and I’ll move the moses basket to his side of the bed. He told me he didn’t think I was doing a bad job but we should move the basket. So I went upstairs and chucked the basket onto his side. Laid down for a few minutes and then just got up and walked out of the house.
I never told my partner I thought about getting on the bus or the train and just not coming back. I just walked down to the shops with half working headphones and brought a ribena before heading back. I was gone about half an hour and as I was heading back GC met me and I told him off for coming – “arent I allowed to go and get a drink without being hassled”. GC tried to talk to me but I didn’t want to hear it. We came home and I just went to bed, rushing past my daughter. GC followed me up and we talked. I can’t remember what was said. All I remember was ending up crying because I wanted my daughter and ended up cuddling her most of the night.
I had a few wobbles but it was easier with my partner taking over the mornings and getting some sleep without waking, worrying if my kid is okay. I don’t think I truly appreciated it until he went back to work. I also don’t think the added stress of trying to not wake him up helps.
But since he went back to work, the tearful episodes have increased. I’ve felt more overwhelmed and upset, overprotective, sad… I guess depressed. I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ depression or postnatal depression but I’m really struggling.