Friday, 1 July 2016

The duplicity of 'fine'

I'm writing this from the other side of the desperation, anxiety and, I have to say, misery, of the early newborn weeks.

I'm not saying that's all they were - interspersed were moments of great joy - but the strength of my 'low' feelings really caught me off guard. They took SBB by surprise too - particularly as I didn't have any hormonal moodswings during pregnancy. SBB frequently remarked that the only way he could tell I was pregnant was the growing bump!

Breastfeeding was tough during those early weeks - it's still not pain-free either - and I frequently broke down in tears and even sent SBB out to buy a tin of formula I was that set on throwing in the towel. I developed mastitis on one side and the baby went through a ridiculous period of cluster feeding, spending 19 hours on the boob one day. It was exhausting and demoralising.

I think I've come out the other side and I'm glad off it, I couldn't stand feeling so out of control whenever I disintegrated into an emotional mess and I hate crying, it makes me feel weak.

It was worse when SBB went back to work - especially the first morning after a night of little sleep and I was faced with a screaming baby and suddenly without my support. I'm ashamed now of how I behaved; I shouted at my son and put him down on the bed, but immediately scooped him up, guilty for losing my temper with my beautiful boy.
I also found it difficult being around other people - we couldn't go to the wedding at the end of May because the thought of being around so many people brought me to tears and I had a breakdown at my parents' house when we went over to introduce the baby to my brother, his wife and my grandmother. I couldn't stop crying and just wanted to be holed up at home, away from everyone.

Feeling at such a low emotional ebb therefore put me at a bit of a loss when friends and colleagues text me to ask how I was. How could I reply that actually I was feeling awful and that at one point had even asked my husband whether we'd made a mistake having a baby? I couldn't, of course, and so inevitably replied that I was 'fine'. Such a word covers a great number of emotional sins...