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1st time mum, think I'm doing it all wrong

(21 Posts)
Jennipants22 Sun 26-Oct-14 21:02:24

Hi. I'm a first time mum to a week old baby boy. The pregnancy itself was very traumatic and I spent nine months convinced I was going to lose him followed by an incredibly traumatic birth (both for me and baby) and thought I was going to lose him again. My husband has been amazing, really taken care of both of us and seems to have taken to everything like a duck to water. I meanwhile feel like I can't do anything right. I don't sleep because I'm terrified that he's going to stop breathing and I'm constantly worried that he's not eating/sleeping/pooing enough. My mum keeps telling me I'm doing fine and that baby hasn't read any of the books so how should he know what he "should" be doing. I just cry all the time and feel so out of my depth. My husband is going back to work tomorrow for a week and then having another week off and I'm so scared. I always knew having a baby would be hard but feel like I'm rubbish at it. I love my baby but I just don't feel like I can do this. Is this normal to feel this way with a newborn? Will it get better?

cogitosum Sun 26-Oct-14 21:05:55

I felt really similar to you when ds was tiny. Actually I found when dh went back to work things improved - I coped because I had to and that showed me I could iyswim. A week is so tiny - you're sleep deprived and it's so hard but I bet you're doing well. The fact you're even worrying shows you care. There is no wrong or right way at this time. If you manage to survive the day and you've both eaten, slept and are vaguely clean you've done well!

cogitosum Sun 26-Oct-14 21:06:47

And it's controversial but I found an angelcare monitor helped me calm down about the breathing.

callamia Sun 26-Oct-14 21:12:25

It was normal for me. I slept with the light on for two weeks with DS in the bednest because I was worried that, what? He'd stop breathing in the dark? I don't know. I worried constantly about whether he was feeding enough, and sometimes I still do (he's a year old). It got easier. I worked out what was normal, that he was piling on weight and that we were all still ok...

You're not rubbish, you're going to be great - just give yourself a break. Make no demands on yourself other than to be vaguely clean, well-fed and snuggle up with that lovely new baby. Huge congratulations!

If you do feel over anxious, or really not coping, do talk to someone. You've been through a lot, get as much support as possible.

Jennipants22 Tue 28-Oct-14 12:49:59

Thank you for replying. It's comforting to know these worries are normal. The logical bit of me knows I'll get there but the hormonal, sleep deprived bit of me can shout a bit louder sometimes! I've had flashbacks of how traumatic the birth was but having cuddles while he's fast asleep in my arms definitely helps.

Mamalandy Thu 30-Oct-14 20:59:33

You are not doing anything wrong. I am on number 4 and I still spend half the night making sure she is still breathing!!! And we have an angel care (which if you forget to turn off in the middle of the night wakes everyone up!) Even when she is totally inconsolable wondering what on earth to do!! When he is hungry feed him (which may feel like all the time) change him and then snuggle up in bed or on the sofa together and enjoy him being little and not having any others to run around after. Try and have a snooze when he does and don't fret about the washing, hoovering, lack of unit space!! I find it quite therapeutic when my others are in bed and my other half is holding the baby to do my whirlwind tidy up session ( and believe me it is amazing how much you can suddenly get done in twenty minutes!!)
It can feel totally overwhelming but you will eventually find yourself slipping into a routine and a little normality will return. Just remember, there is no right or wrong so long as he is loved, warm, clean and not are doing great!! Xx

millyvanilly1 Sun 16-Nov-14 01:00:02

Im on my first child an feel at the moment never again! He's 2 weeks old, im constantly worrying im doing things wrong, cry and feel terrible. I thought it was meant to be the happiest time ever but I dont feel that way. I love my baby to the moon & back just feel like a failure :-(

ColdCottage Sun 16-Nov-14 01:06:36

Even the most self assured confident people feel insecure and worried. It's normal.

Can you get to your nearest children's centre for some tea and talk? You will feel less alone. You are doing a great job thanks

ColdCottage Sun 16-Nov-14 01:07:21

Even the most self assured confident people feel insecure and worried. It's normal.

Can you get to your nearest children's centre for some tea and talk? You will feel less alone. You are doing a great job thanks

AlpacaMyBags Sun 16-Nov-14 02:49:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummyBeerest Sun 16-Nov-14 03:26:33

It does get better.

I have totally been where you are-don't be afraid to ask for help. Children's centre, family, friends, Samaritans, GP, midwife-talk about how you're feeling.

You can love your baby and be scared, sad, stressed. It's normal, so don't be afraid to talk about it.

Congratulations-and cuddle as much as you can xx

Bellyrub1980 Sun 16-Nov-14 19:57:18

I was directed here from the November antenatal thread.

jennipants I could have written your post. I'm on day 6 and just feel so overwhelmed by the responsibility for this little life.

I was sleep deprived before she was even born (3 days in latent phase) so the labour was done on pure adrenaline. I really don't think I've shaken off that adrenaline since.

I feel shakey and panicky about 70% of the time and exhausted to the point of tears the rest of the time.

I love my baby to bits too but earlier today after she had thrown up her entire feed 4 times in a row and wouldnt settle I actually said to my DP that I was wondering whether we'd made a mistake. I could almost see his heart breaking. I feel so terrible for even thinking that, but quite honestly I just don't know if I'm good enough to do this job. But I do love her, it's because I love her so much that I'm feeling that way, if that makes sense. The main problem I have is that I can't sleep when she sleeps, just like you. It's like torture. My DP makes ME lie down anyway and practice ignoring all noises except crying. It's really hard, but I've had reasurrance from about 5 different midwives that babies will not choke on their own vomit and if they are sick they will cry. So I only need to worry if she actually cries. She makes so many noises that sound like choking or urging its unreal but I'm practicing and it's getting easier.

So I'm here with you, feeling the same anxiety. I feel like my personality totally changed about 12 hours after she was born. I'm normally a very rational person. I've looked after other babies before without feeling like this, Im sure you probably have too.

Maybe we can pull through the next few weeks together? I'm told feeling like this normally lasts a matter of weeks, not months. I keep thinking, 1 week down, 3 to go.

Does your MW or GP know? Mine both do. I was prescribed some sleeping tablets so my mum could do a night shift. It was really helpful at the time but expressing and dumping milk for 24hrs was disheartening and it's all caught up with me again.

Do you have anyone who could do a night or day shift for you?

I'm seeing my midwife again tomorrow and plan to tell her that I'm still suffering with anxiety. I'll update to say what she says to do next.

Right, my baby is asleep now so light off and deep breathing while I ignore her gurgles and snuffles. Hope to hear from you soon with an update (if you get chance).


icklekid Tue 18-Nov-14 07:31:57

Just to say in the middle of awful colic I knew I loved ds but he was very hard to love! The first few weeks are so so difficult. Surround yourself with friends/family who love you, be honest with them and try and sleep when you can as it makes such a big difference. ..

Bellyrub1980 Tue 18-Nov-14 07:37:36

I had a whole day yesterday with no hormonal break downs. I'm pretty certain it was linked to having 2 3 hour naps the night before.

But it reminded me (and DP) of the person I really am. I actually enjoyed yesterday. I even felt genuinely happy at one point!

We'll see what today brings after virtually no sleep last night. But I feel more hopeful now.

How are you now Jennipants?

Jennipants22 Wed 17-Dec-14 10:39:55

It's been a long time, I'm stumbling through every day. Existing really. I dread waking up in the morning facing an endless round of washing up, sterilising, making feeds (my son has colic so we're using Colief), feeding, changing, trying to stop the house from turning into a shit pit and somehow getting myself showered and sorted too. I'm utterly broken and my husband's solution is "sleep when he sleeps". He doesn't sleep, or it doesn't feel like it. I've started to really resent my husband too. He swans off to work every morning, stops for a beer on the way home and goes about life as normal while I'm not even a close representation of the person I was. I used to go to work every day and do a job I was bloody good at and where I knew exactly what I was doing. Now I feel completely clueless and completely alone. My health visitor said she'd made a referral for some counselling for me. I've heard nothing and that was about four weeks ago. People keep telling me it gets easier. It hasn't and where before I believed them I've now resigned myself to this being my life. I feel so anxious at the thought of leaving the house but I want to be anywhere but here. And to top it off I have to take my son for his eight week jabs this afternoon. The only person I want to be around is my mum and she's been so amazing but she works incredibly long hours and I don't get to see her much.
Wow, that was a much longer rant than I was expecting. I guess I'll just carry on waiting for it to get better.

Scaredycat666 Fri 19-Dec-14 09:33:09

It does get better, I promise. But that doesn't mean it isn't effing hard in the meantime. Jennipants, I felt the same as you after DS1, I thought that I'd never be happy again, and that I just had to suck it up and get on with it. I could see absolutely no joy, felt totally trapped and hopeless
The problem is, that it's difficult to cope with that and I ended up really down. The best thing I did was being really honest with my HV, going to the docs and getting a diagnosis of PND (I'm not saying you have this). I had some anti depressants and they completely changed my world. I'm not saying this is the answer for everyone, but they allowed me to see some joy in the world, and to feel like myself again. My DS is now 2 (today!) and I really enjoy him, even though he can be a pain in the arse.
I've just had DS2 and sadly those feelings came rushing back straight away, but I'm getting treatment and try to hold on to the fact that I felt like this before and things got immeasurably better.
Sorry for the extended post, but I wanted you to know that it won't be like this forever, even though it's difficult to believe otherwise. Ask for help, talk about how you feel, be kind to yourself (alive at the end of the day is a win!).
(Oh and resist the urge to batter anyone who says 'sleep when they sleep' - I used to say, through gritted teeth, 'I can't, I'll crash the flipping car'. The same applies to people who tell you that these early months are 'magical'!)

HollyJollyXmas Fri 19-Dec-14 09:47:08

It does get easier. Absolutely promise you. It does.

Your tiny baby will be a chunky, crawling, eating, laughing baby in the blink of an eye, and will be walking and talking before you know it. It all changes so quickly, although when youre in the thick of the small baby stage it seems that you're just a feeding/changing/rocking to sleep machine and you'll never have a life again. I remember it SO well. Hugs to you.

I found the utter shock of first time motherhood BRUTAL. I honestly couldnt believe how relentlessly miserable it was. I also resented my (mostly very supportive and lovely) DH for his continued life outside of the baby bubble, and mourned the loss of the old me.

For me, the low mood did flip into quite severe PND, so be vigilant. Try to talk to someone honestly about how you are feeling. Many, many women find it very hard in the early days. Its not unusual or anything to be ashamed of.

And keep posting here. Always a listening ear x

Just to add, in retrospect I can see that a HUGE contributor to my feeling awful were the big expectations I had of myself as a mother. I was going to be organised and dynamic and competent and was going to be out and about with my baby enjoying motherhood. The reality was feeling knackered, looking like shit and floundering a lot. I wish I hadnt been so hard on myself. I dont know if that resonates with you? X

Jennipants22 Sat 20-Dec-14 13:12:22

That absolutely resonates with me. I had all these grand ideas about what I'd be doing and because I'm hyper organised I thought I could do it. How wrong I was.
After uncontrollable sobbing for three straight days my husband called my mum for help who coaxed me into making an appointment with my GP. I nearly walked out while waiting in the waiting room but stuck it out and was as honest with her as possible. She diagnosed PND and prescribed anti depressants. She also warned me it could get worse before it gets better while I wait for them to kick in. I thought I'd feel like a weight had been lifted but now it feels real and I feel defeated.

HollyJollyXmas Sat 20-Dec-14 13:56:35

Ah, well done! Seriously. You took the hardest step.

Exactly the same happened to me when my first child was about 4 months old. I was supposed to be going to see some friends but found myself at midday on the sofa in PJs and floods of years with a screaming baby and feeling absolutely wretched. My mum popped in, found me like that, called my DH and I went to the GP.

In honesty, it DID get worse for me before it got better. The anti depressants took the edge off, but for me, it was the complete change in my lifestyle and identity that knocked me sideways, not just the hormones. I started to feel better once my baby was sleeping through the night, I had lost the baby weight, started to get back a social life and eventually returned to work. It was a process.

Do you have any friends or know any other mums you can talk to in RL? I think I delayed my recovery by holding everything in (bar huge sobbing 'my life is so shit! i am so rubbish!' Episodes to my DH and mum). I wish I had opened up and confided in close friends. I was phobic about baby groups etc as I felt so incompetent, and really isolated myself. I regret that now. So very many people have had similar experiences, I have later discovered. The shock of motherhood, I call it. It really IS like being in a state of shock/trauma.

You know what, though? Without wanting to sound patronizing at really have made the right move by admitting how low you are feeling and seeing your GP. Well done and I really hope you feel better soon x

Jennipants22 Sat 20-Dec-14 20:39:06

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. It's heart warming to know that complete strangers care enough to take time to stop others from feeling alone. And while I would never want anyone to feel the way I have been, it's also nice to know I'm not alone. I've been feeling like everyone else is doing an amazing job and I must be the only person who feels so shit. Thank you all for your honesty.
The idea of baby groups scare me shitless (yes I know that's ridiculous). I constantly worry that he'll have a meltdown and people will think I can't look after him properly. The logical part of me knows that babies cry but I constantly worry that people will judge. I have an incredibly good friend who has a two year old and although she knew at the beginning that I was finding it tough I haven't been able to tell her just how bad it's got. I've become quite the actress and painting on a smile while saying "oh you know, I'm a bit tired but that's normal isn't it" has become second nature.
I feel so sorry for my husband, he keeps trying to say the right thing. This evening it was "you don't even look like you've had a baby". Which was met with tears and "I don't care about my body, I want my sanity back"! Poor bloke!

Scaredycat666 Sun 21-Dec-14 09:54:41

I used to look around at baby groups and think that everyone had it sussed. I actually felt cross with people who had more than one child / childcare experience because I felt like they were cheating! It turned out that everyone had their own neuroses, be it food, behaviour, sleep or whatever!
Btw, these posts are therapy for me too, to remind myself on the bad days, that things get better.
I hope everyone has a good day today xxx

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