Baby’s First Month

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.

23 Weeks

I’m on 23 weeks pregnant as of today. Way past the half way point.

On the 14th of March was my partners birthday. He’s 27. It was a good day, we went bowling and had cake and ice cream. We were supposed to go cinemas but I was way too tired for that which I felt guilty about and promised we’d go at the weekend but he didn’t want to. The day after was my perinatal psychiatrist appointment.

The place to go for appointments is way out of the way for me. I tried to figure out what bus would get me there if I needed to get there on my own but couldn’t figure it out. Luckily, this time I had my dad taking me. I’d been to this hospital before, the year before for the crisis team.

I was waiting and it was about 10 minutes past my appointment time when I was called. The woman didn’t look that nice. Dr L looked kinda down and miserable and just had one of those faces where you think she looks miserable, will quote everything out of a book verbatim but was surprisingly okay. That appointment was never going to be comfortable anyway. Lots of questions about my mum and the past but I answered them about as honestly as I could. That appointment was basically about assessing my risk to develop a mental illness or relapse after the baby and turns out the chances for me are pretty high (yay!).

I do get upset though whenever I’m faced with the reality of my mental illness and the baby. There have been a few times especially since that appointment I’ve just sat, rubbing my stomach and thinking “my baby would be so much better off without me”. A mother with bipolar, PTSD and borderline personality disorder is not something a child should have to deal with. I’m pretty sure my own mother suffered with one – if not more – of those illness so I don’t want to put my kid through that.

A few weeks ago however, if I ever brought it up with my partner, he’d tell me that I should just focus on the fact I’m okay now. That seeing scans of my baby seemed to have gotten rid of the feelings of disconnect and I should be okay. He asks me in these times: “Well you love the baby, don’t you?” And it’s actually a pretty complicated question. I know I should say “Yes!” without any addendums but the truth is “I don’t know.” Maybe I do love my baby and that’s why I don’t think she should have me but on the other hand I sometimes just want to cut the baby out my stomach and get it over with.

The cutting the baby out my stomach has only be a frequent thought recently. Since my level of stress has been pretty high recently. A lot of stuff with housing has changed and fallen through.

Last week, my partner, myself and our dog stayed over with my dad with the idea it would be a trial run of living there since it would make it easier for my dad to take us to the scan. Half of our boxes are there, it sounds like a good idea! Except on paper it is a good idea, it practicality – not so much. It was fine in the day but in the night – again not so much at night. The dog isn’t used to sleeping by herself so at about 2-3am I hear scratching at the door downstairs. I can hear this but my partner is fast asleep. Knowing how pissed my dad would have been if she scratched paint off the door, I went downstairs and opened it. There’s a stairguard so as to not break the rules my dad said (one being she isn’t allowed to sleep upstairs) I just let her out so she could walk up to it.

But then she sat at the bottom on the stairs whining and I didn’t want her to wake up my brother who had college the next day so I went and turned on a light. Then a little while later, I hear scratching again – she had managed to lock herself into the sitting room. I let her out and back upstairs I went. By this point it was 4-5am and I’m really tired so the next time I’m forced downstairs, I let her up and let her sleep at the bottom of the bed.

The next morning I go downstairs to get cereal and my dad’s giving me the silent treatment. I knew he’d probably be mad but I figured if I explained about why I did it, it’d be okay but he told me he didn’t want to hear it and didn’t talk to myself or my partner to the scan or back or the entire day and so we just didn’t talk about it except if HE wanted to make sly comments that then upset me and yes, I’m ashamed to say, make me cry.

When he took me to this college to pick up some distance work, I expected when I mentioned the idea of going home for him to argue a little and say no. But he actually agreed. GC (my partner), when we got home, told me how he didn’t like how my dad was treating me. He was being manipulative, he didn’t like seeing me upset and we couldn’t live there. I agreed. My dad can’t treat me like this anymore especially in front of my kid, I couldn’t risk it. So we’re not moving in.

To make matters worse, the weekend we were supposed to move in GC sister CC broke up with her partner of 8 years and to keep a long story short, is now living here with her two kids. So if anyone is keeping count, there are 4 bedrooms with 5 adults and 3 kids living under one roof plus she’s pregnant and so am I. Plus because of how things still are, a week later, with my dad. I’m staying at home more. I have some distance work I’ve got to do plus other chores I could do but I’m confined to one room because not only is SIL1 on that side but so is SIL2 and 3 kids and I’ve been pretty down recently and don’t want to deal with it.

I got a letter off my psychiatrist to say we need to move due to stress and boy, is it stressful.

Busy week

I find it funny as you get older your opinion on things change. For example I used to love when the holidays came up at school but now I don’t want the school’s on holiday because SIL1 is about more and if I go into town before 4pm, town is full of teenagers.

Last week was half term. I liked it because I was given the opportunity to hang out with my brother. I didn’t really know what I was going to do though because any movement I make in the morning SIL1 would have commented on and it would have stressed me out and my dad wasn’t picking me up because he wasn’t coming into town. He offered to pick me and GC up every morning, take him to work and me back to his. He did which was awesome. The week in that respect actually worked out really well.

Monday, GC had the dentist and had a surprise tooth out (we thought it was just for an x-ray). Tuesday, I had the dentist which I am glad for because my gums have been bleeding a little bit and the wisdom tooth that got a cavity because I couldn’t brush it due to it not coming through the gum surface yet has began to come through and is sensitive but thankfully my teeth were fine and I’ve gone from an appointment every 6 months to one every year. On Wednesday I had an appointment with my psych nurse. Thursday, I had a baby first aid course from 9am until midday and GC had the dentist again later in the day for another tooth out. The baby first aid course went really well, I passed but GC had given me a cold which weakened immune system and has opened me up to an ear infection and tonsilititus. But thankfully Friday and the weekend I can rest.

I try not to get too busy in one week and only have one big thing per week. But I seem to manage to have a week or fornight free and then just coincidentally book everything in the one week. Sometimes I like it because it gets rid of the stress in just one swoop with no weekend of worrying but other times I feel very tired or sick and wish I had a few days to recover.

Though Monday I had a lot more energy to move about. Instead of napping during the day, I got up and sorted of the bed I would be living in for the next few months. That includes moving light furniture, tidying the floor, unpacking clothes and basically just moving things around. But for the last few nights I’ve been having pretty intense nightmares so I’ve not been sleeping too well. It does begin to add up. I’ve found myself being more snappy and irritable than usual which isn’t necessarily just down to no sleep, add in pregnancy and that’s not exactly a recipe I’m happy about.

I have an appointment for the 15th March with the perinatal mental health clinic. I know they’re the people who help you before the birth (as well as for a year after) with mental health but that’s pretty much it. I googled the service but only found the local address. When on the phone with them they told me they would send me a questionnaire but the paper work they sent me was more just about correspondence rather than a mood questionnaire.

The physical aspect of the pregnancy varies. Sometimes I feel not too bad, a bit of energy and a more positive outlook on pregnancy and the baby and how both of those things relate to myself. Other times I feel quite depressed. I get told it’s normal to feel that way, that worries such as “am I going to be a good mother?” and “is the baby going to be okay with me as it’s mum?” and such doubts like that. They say that normal and I do believe to an extent it has to be but it’s gotten so bad that I’ve debated getting rid of the baby. I never would because I know I would regret it and when I feel it’s heartbeat or the baby moving, I know I care and probably even love the baby but I still feel bad about those thoughts and the fact that sometimes I feel very disconnected with the baby.

A doctor told me once to think of the baby as a parasite, taking everything I need and making me sick and how would I be expected to always love something like that. You put it like that and I understand why they aren’t so worried but I am worried and surely that has to count for something.