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Should I go to work to escape difficult baby

(11 Posts)
weetabixmini Sun 19-Oct-14 00:12:22

Hello. I was wondering if anybody could help me. I have a nearly twelve month old boy. He has never been an easy baby and always needs constant attention, but has slept very well from 3 months old ( sure I would have killed myself by now If he did not sleep). The last four months I have found looking after him very difficult. He seems continually frustrated and miserable. He has intermittent good days, where he is cheerier, but generally he is extremely hard work to keep entertained and keep content. He makes straining, grunting and growling noises nearly all the time. He can also make babbling noises when he is happy, which is rarely. I don't like going out with him because people look when he makes these noises, I do not see other babies making those noises. All I see when out is babies sitting happily in their pushchairs, placid and docile. While mine squirms and kicks in his sling. He refuses to go in a pushchair, will cry and scream if we try to take him out in it. He is not crawling or walking. He is pulling himself up on furniture but only when I sit him on my lap and encourage him.

I am very worried about him, I think I might have created a monster. A future psychopath. I am particularly worried because I became very depressed in pregnancy with him and had to go on anti depressants. My dad was dying of cancer at the time and I was helping my mum to look after him. He died three weeks after my son was bored. I adored my dad.

I have always suffered from depression and anxiety but before pregnancy and motherhood I have been able to manage well with low dose anti depressants. I have a lovely supportive husband. I know how lucky I am to have him. He is offering to give up work and look after our son while I go to work. I earn less than him so finances would be tight but we could just about get by. Should I try and stick it out or just accept that I am not up to the job?

I try as hard as I can with my son, I play with him constantly through out the day. I cuddle him, I make a huge effort to smile and be positive but I usually run out of steam by the afternoon and end up in tears. When my son has a rare happy day, I am so happy and filled with hope. Then invariably he goes back to being angry and miserable and I go down again. If he was more content I know I would be fine. I am still on anti depressants and I am under the mental health team.

Sorry for this extremely long post, I just feel so hopeless that things will ever get better. I've been hanging on, hoping it will get easier, but the fact that it has been a year makes me doubt any future happiness. Has anyone had experience of post natal depression and a very difficult baby? Did it ever get easier? Can my baby ever be happy or have I permanently damaged him? Thank you in advance for any responses.

Casmama Sun 19-Oct-14 00:17:36

I'm sure you have t damaged your baby and am also sure that his frustration will be reduced when he can crawl or walk.
Would it be possible for you to look for something part time and use childcare for those days rather than your partner giving up his job?
Sorry things are tough.

Sapat Sun 19-Oct-14 00:26:50

My DC1 was a very difficult child (still is!), very similar to your description, and tbh returning to a job I loved and excelled at was a welcome relief. Being a working mum is hard though, and my argument is that the advantages of working need to outweigh the negatives. If you can, maybe try working part time? Weekends? Or maybe put your child at nursery 2-3 mornings a week to give you a break? Give it a try and see how you get on, nothing needs to be set in stone for the next 20 years.
Good luck!

rootypig Sun 19-Oct-14 00:27:10

Ah weetabix. I'm so sorry that you lost your dad flowers

Have you discussed your concern with your mental health team? I ask because I wonder if your anxiety about your son, and your pregnancy, are related to your depression.

If you have concerns about his development, then speak to your health visitor or GP (though nothing that you say sounds like cause for serious concern - they will be able to see him, and perhaps allay your fears). I agree with Cas, some babies just seem to be frustrated by being babies, and when he does walk he may be much, much happier!

To answer your original question - yes, absolutely, going out to work and your son being with your husband, or in nursery or at a childminder could be really positive for both of you. Is there a reason you wouldn't consider him being cared for outside your home? Many small children really enjoy the busy-ness and structure of childcare.

unclerory Sun 19-Oct-14 00:36:27

OK. I think your son is probably completely normal (that still can be very hard though). However, I think your depression is affecting how you see things. Have you told your mental health team how you feel, a different anti-depressant or alternative therapy might help.

FWIW I have a friend who had very severe PND who ended up in a mother and baby mental health unit (she was psychotic so much sicker than you). She had a lot of support over years and did get over her depression and eventually bonded well with her child. She went on to have another child and didn't suffer from depression (there was a lot of support in place in case she did) and I think that was a healing experience for her, she carried a lot of guilt for years because of her depression the first time round (she's a lovely person who is in a caring profession, last person you'd ever expect to have PND IYSWIM).

Going back to work might help or it might make things harder. How about a staged return to work and your DH working part time for a bit as well rather than one of you being at home all the time, it allows some flexibility between you while you deal with your depression.

weetabixmini Mon 20-Oct-14 14:19:32

Thank you for your responses.

A question for Sapat: Did DC1 get any easier at all? How do you cope with a very demanding child?

Sapat Tue 21-Oct-14 21:53:07

DC1 is getting easier, as she grows and matures, each year is better than the last, though she is still a pain in the bum.

I am not sure I really have found solutions, we cope.

I work full time because I love my job but also because I get a sense of accomplishment that I do not get at home with the kids. It does, however, bring a lot of stress and tiredness to the equation and it means I am not very emotionally or physically available.

We had two more children. They are lovely and easy (any child would be easy after DC1), and in a way they have redressed the balance of normality in our household.

When I was on maternity leave with DC2, DC1 continued to go to nursery full time. I feel a bit bad now, but at the time she was too difficult. DH and I look after her in shifts, giving the other one a break from her. Not sure it is ideal, but one of the quotes that has struck me most from parenting books is the following. "You might be making a rod for your own back. However, at times, a rod in your back is the only thing that is keeping you upright."

Acceptance. This is the hardest. We have to accept she is not the child we would have chosen, and that we are not the parents that she needs. I fully expect that we will have to have some counselling at some point. I dread the teenage years.

Good luck! Xxx

Andi65 Fri 24-Oct-14 11:41:11

You are being far too hard on yourself Weetabix, and it sounds as though you have not had sufficient support to help you with your very recent bereavement. It must have been really painful to have been suffering throughout your pregnancy with the prospect of losing your dad; no wonder you were depressed. Your depression and antidepressants will not have harmed your baby, but it is likely that he is picking up on your ongoing grief and anxiety now, no matter how hard you try to cover it up; it will be hard for him to be happy when you are not, and as other mums have pointed out he sounds quite frustrated in addition. But you seem to be describing a vicious circle where he gets upset and then you get upset and then vice versa. However you will not have created a psychopath I can assure you! Psychopathy is caused by extreme trauma in childhood, not normal life events and experiences like bereavement and grief. Have you considered counselling to help you with your feelings of loss and your anxieties about your son? With good therapy you can recover from depression and eventually come off your antidepressants. Good therapy will also help you with your self esteem � it sounds as though you doubt yourself and your abilities as a mum. So yes things can get better and easier, and both you and your son can be happier but do get some support with this. I'm not sure that returning to work is the solution as you do sound quite vulnerable at the moment and it could put you under further strain - unless you really enjoy your job that is.
Don't lose hope - you sound like a very caring mum who is understandably struggling with a major loss.

weetabixmini Sat 25-Oct-14 18:25:13

Thank you for your lovely message Andi65. I really appreciate your kind words.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Sat 25-Oct-14 18:32:59

You are being too hard on yourself, parenting is very hard. My DD was a dream baby, she was so easy to look after and I was so smug when I saw moms with difficult children. Them reality slapped me in the face when DS was born who was a nightmare from 12 hours after he was born - guess what, I went back to work when he was 7 weeks old to get away from him!! It was only 1 day a week but it was bliss. Sounds awful and Im sure I should of felt guilty but I felt great, my arms got a rest and my brain was filled with things other than frustration.

You do whatever you have to do to ensure you are a healthy happy mommy, 1 day a week a week away made me just that. Could you put him with a childminder for a period of time, maybe a few hours a few days a week so you can recharge your battery's?

zurafakiz Mon 03-Nov-14 13:45:42

It sounds to me as though you are being extremely hard on yourself and if you don't mind me saying, might you, in being critical of yourself, be being a bit harsh on your ds?

I have one ds (now age 4) and like you suffered from PND. I remember feeling like he was more difficult than other babies appeared too - his screams seemed to be louder than any other baby, he seemed the least co-operative and he also made strange noises. I was mortified once when in a rare moment in a shop I was enjoying looking at something and he made a noise that I didn't notice when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said "your baby's growling"! I also used to feel like he would be happy and burbly with other people and then get grizzly and difficult when they handed him back to me. It's definitely got a lot easier as he's grown older and to be honest as I've felt better and gotten over the anxiety of that first year. Now he an still be a challenging kid - he's more independent and confrontational than lots of the kids his age that he plays with but in other ways he's delightful and makes me laugh every day.

I went back to work four days per week when he was a year old and felt a lot better for doing so. Being away from him made me really appreciate him and I really enjoyed picking him up from nursery and spending our three day weekend together after I'd gone back to work. (I also loved being back in the office where It was quiet and peaceful and I could enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. )?

It sounds as though things are really tough for you right now and having a new baby after suffering a bereavement must have been so difficult. But you are clearly thinking about the best way to move forward and it sounds like you are a terrific mum who wants what's best for your ds and your family.

It's great that your dh is supportive and has offered to change his work. Might you look at arranging child are for a couple of short sessions a week to see if it helps before taking steps that might affect your dh's employment? Maybe you could arrange for dh to take ds for half a day on a Saturday or Sunday regularly to give you some time off? Things might feel a lot better if you we're able to take a break regularly and do something for yourself. Caring for a small child is such hard work emotionally and physically and doing it full time is relentless. I think if you can get away for short bursts it can really help give some perspective and you might feel differently when you're with ds if you've had a break.

I really hope things feel better soon.

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