My baby blues and the moment it all changed
I'll be the first to admit I suffered from Baby Blues. The baby blues started as just that - something that I had been warned about in all the baby books - a lingering sense of uneasiness and the inability to laugh at peoples 'you'll never have a life now the baby is here' jokes. However, two weeks into being a new mummy, everything seemed to get a little bit worse (read as: a LOT worse) and I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.
It's hard to admit that.
And the reason? I always thought I was BORN to be a mummy. I just presumed it would all come easily and that I would excel in looking after a little baby. I never for one minute anticipated that, for several weeks, I might hold my new born 'bundle of joy' and just be overcome with a sense of panic. I never though that the cracked nipples, extreme tiredness and the baby's endless cries would actually bring me to my knees. But they did. And it was at that stage when I realised I needed help. (I'll talk more about my PND and how I overcame it in a later post) as today I really want to talk about:
The moment it all changed.
The night feeds have always been something that loomed over me with a feeling of complete dread. It was as though - as the evening got closer - I felt like someone was pointing a huge finger at me and laughing "you're in for it tonight. How will you possibly cope? This night feed is going to bring you to your knees..."
It was the first evening after our Maternity Nurse had left so was officially "the first evening just the three of us." I was on the 10pm- 5am shift, with Patrick doing the 5am and 7am feed so I could grab some early morning sleep.
I had already cried all the way through our takeaway curry - this time I was beating myself up about the fact we had bought Rupert into such a dangerous world - "what if ISIS bombed us and he was killed" was tonight's topic of conversation (me, not Patrick!)
But as I lay in bed, half asleep half awake listening to every small grunt and turn Rupert made, the Post Natal Depression started to subside. At 4am exactly Rupert woke and demanded to be fed. But as I lay there in the semi dark, bracing myself for a meltdown (me, not him) I looked down at my little boy, whose hair I was stroking, and placed my finger between his scrunched up fingers. He grabbed my hand so tightly and then a sense of calm seemed to go through him. His body stopped juddering with tears and he just relaxed.
It was then that those baby blues completely left my body. Why? Because I suddenly realised that not only was I his mummy, but he knew it. My touch could calm him, make him feel relaxed and content and, it has to be said, it's the best feeling in the world (even at 4am!)
It was then that all those doubts I had been plaguing myself with about being a good mother became less intimidating and powerful. Suddenly I had proof - right there and then - that although I may not be the most perfect mummy in the world (flashback to an earlier nappy change when he peed all over his just changed baby grow and I didn't notice for twenty minutes!) but I was "just right" for Rupert. He didn't judge me or laugh at my failed mothering attempts behind my back. He just needed me to be me - a mummy who feeds him when he's hungry, changes him when his nappy is dirty and cuddles him as much as humanely possible. That is literally all he demands from me and, with that knowledge - and the knowledge that I am more than capable of doing those three things- the post natal depression literally left me.
As long as my little man has me, and I have him, that's all that really matters.