Feeling like I can't cope with 2 Dc's & getting it all wrong?

(11 Posts)
pixielove Sat 09-Nov-13 13:45:08

I feel like so pathetic posting this as I feel I should be 'coping' better and thought I had been but I'm feeling increasingly anxious and panicky at the moment, mainly I think due to a terrible night's sleep last night. Sleep deprivation really seems to get to me - especially as I have bipolar 2 disorder. My dd1 is 5.5 yo and my dd2 is 4 months old. I've been stressing a lot about the fact that I can't seem to get dd2 into a proper daytime routine although she has been sleeping through the night from about 7am-7pm (with dream feed at 11pm) since 13 weeks. This has obviously been great and when I have been able to sleep, I feel like I can cope much better. But last night she woke screaming at 4am - I managed to get her back to sleep without feeding eventually but then couldn't get to sleep myself and then dd1 came in at 5.50am and then again later. I keep waking up every few hours in the night (even when ddc are sleeping fine) and then can't go back to sleep properly and just have thoughts flying around my head and panicking about not getting enough sleep and it's a vicious circle. I feel so trapped at the moment but I feel that dd2 is very sensitive and needs a lot of sleep but when she doesn't get it during the day, all hell breaks loose. I can't keep to the same routine (she's started to do that typical thing of waking after 45 mins) and I feel like I've got no idea what she wants or what I'm doing sometimes. I'm trying lots of approaches and not sticking to just one. I feel like such a failure and like things will never get easier/better. I have no family around and feel so alone on the weekend day that my DH works and also when he does long shifts in the week. Going out with both of them is hard work because of dd2's sleeping/feeding needs and I just feel like I'm going downhill. I've been crying a lot today. I had severe PND with dd1 and really thought I was going to be OK this time (and kind of have been so far) but it's such a rollercoaster and feel like I go through so many different moods in a single day. I know things will work out eventually but really need reminding of that please!

juneau Sat 09-Nov-13 13:51:07

You're not a failure. It's hard being home alone with two DC and it sounds like you're home alone with them a lot. Please be kind to yourself. Your DD2 is sleeping through the night - that's great! Neither of my DC slept through the night until they were about 9 months old. Perhaps go and see your doctor if you feel you're getting into negative thought patterns that you can't seem to shake - I'm sure you know the signs for PND, having suffered before, but don't wait until things are desperate.

As for your not sleeping - it could be depression, anxiety or just that you're not that physically tired if you're not getting out much. Try and get out for walk every day with DD2 while DD1 is at school. It will help with your mental health and may also help you to sleep.

Again, be kind to yourself. This is a hard stage. Acknowledge that. Give yourself permission to feel sad and frustrated sometimes. Then take a deep breath and just do your best. It's all any of us can do.

LadyMetroland Sat 09-Nov-13 13:51:40

The first year with two is hard. Very hard. And chronic sleep deprivation can make it almost unbearable. Mumsnet is filled with threads like yours - you are not alone!

Don't be too hard on yourself. Relax your standards and keep in mind that in a few short months, things will be easier. Then they'll get even more easy the older they get.

redcaryellowcar Sat 09-Nov-13 13:56:57

Sounds to me that you are doing far better than you give yourself credit for, think as poster says above perhaps a good idea to see your hv or gp ti o chat through how you are feeling, especially if you have a history of pnd.
Not sure if this helps, but i think everyone at some point (or even most of the time) feels like they are getting it all wrong.
Be kind to yourself.

juneau Sat 09-Nov-13 14:07:23

On the subject of exercise - do you have a council gym near you? If so, do they have a creche? I found going to the gym to be my sanity-saver when my boys were little. I could put them in the creche for an hour and just go and put my headphones on and run or bike or whatever and totally switch off from being 'mum'. Of course, exercise is healthy too and it releases lovely endorphins that make you feel good afterwards, but those were just bonuses to me - what I needed was a break - even if it was just for an hour.

waterrat Sat 09-Nov-13 14:49:34

Most people with a 4 month old probably wish they had a better routine or better sleep pattern - I think in the first 8/9 months things will more often then not be unpredictable

Sleeping through the night at that age is amazing! I think you need to focus on relaxing enough to make the most of that - and give yourself a break from worrying about daytime routine for now ... 4 months is v young to have x proper routine - id say just try for a nap every couple of hours and if its only 45 mins then just try again 2 hours later ....

I don't think you should avoid going out because of naps etc - you all need to get out and better the baby has a little sleep in the buggy than you stay home worrying about sleep

pixielove Sat 09-Nov-13 17:11:11

thanks everyone - reassuring words. Ladymetroland, you're right that when the sleep deprivation gets holds, it can feel unbearable. I completely lose perspective on everything....logically I know that things are OK and could be so much worse and that I'm lucky she's been sleeping through for 3 weeks, but when I can't sleep that all seems irrelevant and I can't think straight. Dd2 has been very challenging today and we've been stuck indoors with awful weather which hasn't helped....I'm feeling a bit calmer now that the night is coming and hopefully I can get some rest. I found things a lot easier in the summer and up until the clocks went back because it was lighter and I would take the baby out for a walk in the afternoon and dd1 would come along on her bike, it was perfect but I can't do that now. I've found the wet horrible weather and the nights drawing in to be really difficult in terms of getting out. I do always try to go out for at least one walk a day with dd2 and it does help but it isn't always possible. I do feel tied to the house a bit because I know she sleeps better in her cot and it's impossible to transfer her from the car, buggy etc. without her waking up. I'm finding trying to have a routine very restrictive so maybe I should try and ease up a bit on that during the day. On the one hand I know that having a routine will make things easier and more predictable for her but on the other hand, it just doesn't seem to be working and is making me stressed and unhappy. I've thought about going to the gym juneau but don't feel ready as she's so young, I didn't start going with dd1 until she was over 1 and when she only needed the lunchtime sleep. I don't feel that I could go in the morning and she would just sleep there. It's something I do want to do but later on.....I'm trying to get through a day at a time and if I feel worse, I will speak to my GP or HV. thanks everyone...

Lifeiswhatyoubakeit Thu 14-Nov-13 18:49:29

I have 2 dc aged 3.6 DS and 9m DD. Sleep deprivation combined with the constant demands and needs of such small children makes me struggle to string thoughts together. And then theres the hormones! Any other stresses in life just increase the pressure. Like Juneau said, try to get outside every day, even if it's just a drive to th shops will help. Writing down a list of things you can actually do to improve things before bed (instead of just worrying) might help. But if youve had PND before maybe just go to th GP for a check to make sure alls ok.

BotBotticelli Thu 14-Nov-13 19:52:00

Hey OP, just wanted to tell you about my experience of PND and post natal anxiety: basically I become totally fixated on the idea of getting DS's daytime sleep right and obsessed to the point of mania about his naps and getting him into a nap routine to the point where I made myself very ill with anxiety and then depression.

I used to spend whole days working out when DS would need to sleep and wouldn't leave the house if a nap was due (every 2 hours), would cancel outings etc to fit in with his need for sleep. Until the age of 7mo he too would only have 45 mins sleep every 2 hours or so, and I thought I was getting something terribly wrong cos he wouldn't have a big long sleep in the afternoon like all the books Gina Ford said he should. No one told me this was utter bollocks and i drove myself literally almost insane worrying about it. I too suffered from insomnia and couldnt sleep even when DS was asleep, as I couldnt turn off my brain from worrying about how little sleep I was getting. I think in my case this stemmed from the fact that for the first 6 weeks of DS's life he just would not sleep at all from about midnight until 6am so I was up all night every night and i became terrified about things going back to being like that.

If any of this rings true to you, please go and talk to your HV and get some help....I got some brilliant CBT counselling which really helped with the anxiety and a very frank talk with the HV also helped. She could reassure me that the fucking awful nights I had with DS in the early weeks were newborn behaviour and it was never going to be that bad again. He didnt start sleeping through till he was 6mo but she was right: it was never as bad as those early weeks again. we have of course had bad phases with teething and odd nights where I have been up a couple of times with him. but it's not like looking after a newborn which i couldnt fucking stand It was cope-able.

DS is now 11mo and I am still battling with my anxiety about his daytime sleeping on a daily basis and do to some extent feel like I have to use my CBT techniques daily to keep myself calm. Things have just gotten easier as he has spaced his naps out a bit more and started taking longer Gina-Ford-Style naps in the afternoon of his own accord (this happened at around7-8 months and I did NOTHING to make it happen, i think it's a developmental thing and they just do it on their own?....he just started being able to stay awake longer in between each nap and therefore dropped down to just two naps per day: one in the morning at around 0930 and one after lunch at around 1330). I do still plan our days around his naps to be honest with you: I think I am always going to be like that. But at least it's easier now there's just 2 of them to worry about!

Unlike most parents, can't bloody wait for the day when DS has no naps at all! Just not having to deal with my anxiety over this (even though I have been treated and I know its daft, it still lingers on...) will be such a relief.

Anyway, sorry for rambling....its just a lot of things in your ost struck a chord with me. PND comes in all sorts of funny shapes and sizes, and lots of women have post natal anxiety which is a bit different from depression but actually probably a bit easier to treat. Please speak to your GP or HV and be honest about how you are feeling and thinking about things every day. I hope they can refer you for some help.

BotBotticelli Thu 14-Nov-13 20:07:56

Ps- meant to ask: what was your DD2's sleep like as a newborn? Was it especially horrendous? I ask because I think that's what started this whole issue off with me: DS was a fucking hideous sleeper as a newborn. I know all newborns are pretty bad but he was another level of horror - he was nocturnal, and had colic so basically slept all day and screamed all night. And he was born just before xmas so we had loads of visitors and family things during the days so I got no sleep 'when he slept' during the day. I think for the first 5 weeks I was getting about 2 hours of broken sleep in every 24, and nothing would soothe him, he was never settled after a feed.

Anyway, I think I somehow got it into my tiny thick head that if I could just get his daytime naps right then his night sleep would follow. What no-one told me was DS's hideous might sleeping was caused by (a) his colic and (b) by basically being a newborn: both of which he grew out of by around 12 weeks. He just got better at sleeping at night on his own. But I somehow got it all twisted up in my head and thought that it would only continue improving if i got the naps right and thus put myself under hideous pressure every day, felt terribly anxious like the world was ending if someone knocked at the door and woke hi up after 10 minutes of a nap etc etc.

It sounds totally bonkers writing it all down here now but it all felt very real at the time. Looking back from the outside now, I can see that the sleep deprivation I experienced in the first few weeks scared and upset me so much, that I became terrified about 'going back there' and this whole anxiety about his sleeps spun out from that - totally without any grounds. I am now sure that his sleep just improved because thats what happens. Not because of my nap-mania! So you can ride out these short naps. You can do it. And as your LO gets older she will start sleeping in the buggy and things which you think she'll never do cos she doesnt do them now.

I really hope you start to feel less panicky soon with some help from your GP or HV - it's a shit way to live and you can and will feel much better with some techniques to stay calm.

SteamWisher Thu 14-Nov-13 20:18:50

Well you are doing well to get the nights so hang on to that.

At 4 months the sleep goes a bit shitty but you can start to aim for a loose routine of morning nap at 9ish, midday nap and afternoon nap. I found dd (my second) slept better in a sling at that age and I could fit it into our day. So out for a walk taking ds out, dd sleep in sling. Get home, lunch, stick dd in sling and walk around until she slept. Afternoon the same. Then from about 5 months I could rock her to sleep and stick in the cot and from 6 months she would be put down drowsy or asleep and sleep for ages in the cot. shengot self settling without proper sleep training. She also napped in the pushchair as well.

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