“What do you want?” This is something I’ve found myself uttering to my baby at all times of the day and night. It comes off a bit harsh, so I try again: “I don’t know what you want” or “Mummy doesn’t know what you want”. Because I don’t. I have no confidence and find myself feeding him every 2 hours during the day because I have nothing else in my toolkit. Sometimes I correctly guess that he’s tired. And so to give him the relief of sleep, I need to feed him and rock him to sleep. Oh and he needs to be on me and have his dummy. Often though he’s overtired. Poor little guy. Sometimes it’s fine. I have nowhere to be and nothing I (really) need to do. But now at 12 weeks, the ideas of things I could be doing are piling up in the ‘yeah but you can’t’ pile.
Then there’s my 2 year old who says “Mummy can you put baby down so you can help me?” And my most common reply is: “no I can’t, he’s just gone to sleep” or “I’m trying to get him to sleep”. That goes to the top of the pile of shit I’d like to do but can’t. Speaking of, my 12 week old haemorrhoids are another thing I’m short of time to mitigate effectively. Yikes.
Advocates for attachment parenting might say so what. He’s only little once. Enjoy it. And that’s fine, but he only catnaps on me anyway, so he’s getting crap quality sleep and it’s starting to impact on his night sleep. I babywear sometimes but what I crave is some hands free (body free?) time. I’ve made it so that he’s entirely dependent on me for sleep. Which means no one else can help me. Experience tells me this won’t get any easier. I feel so frustrated. And it’s starting to boil over.
I possibly have Post Natal Depression. But what’s the difference between PND and being sleep deprived with (I don’t want to say no support, but I don’t feel like I’m able to be supported, if that makes any sense?) Sometimes I say through gritted teeth “I hate my life”. If I’m home during the day, it feels like an unrelenting groundhog day. Because I feel like I don’t understand my son and I’m failing my daughter. I totally lost my shit today. I didn’t hit her but I think my anger harmed her and the lump in my throat won’t go away. It’s such a shit feeling. I tell my kids I love them all the time. Probably trying to reassure them that although it seems like my heart isn’t in it, it really is.
Now I’m sitting here trying to figure out why my son’s grizzling after another sub-2-hour feed and after I’ve half heartedly tried to put him down in his bassinet. I’m tired and thirsty and pretty sure my body can’t spare the moisture coming out of my eyes. My boobs are feeling flat and empty and I don’t know if it’s a growth spurt or if my supply is running out again. I don’t have any problem with introducing formula, but I just need to know what I’m dealing with. Mum guilt knawing away in the background.
This is what I vow to my kids: I need to sort myself out. I need help. I need to find the confidence to parent how I need. Because I know how good this mum life can be. It just seems so close but at the moment I just can’t get there.