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Shattered expectations and PND

(22 Posts)
SashChops Fri 12-Jun-15 15:16:30

Sorry this might be long, and please don't judge me - if you don't have anything nice to say, please don't comment.

My little boy is four months old and I love him in a duty-bound way, but I feel as though everything is just not as it's supposed to be.

I had a horrid pregnancy with hyperemesis, SPD so bad I was in a wheelchair by 30weeks and I was given an ELCS because I was diagnosed with a narrow pelvis. Great, I thought. At least something can go to plan. Well, apparently nobody picked up on the fact I had a huge baby. Just over 10lbs in fact, and that was at 39+3. I didn't have GD - measuring normal. As such, I had a dramatic blood loss, wound up in critical care and needed a transfusion. I didn't feel that rush of love when I saw my son, just shock at his size and then a strong urge to fall asleep (blood loss).

After recovering the section, my husband took a prolonged time off work which helped, but I was still diagnosed with PND at four weeks post partum. I've been on antidepressants since then (and had them upped once). Despite getting past the trauma of pregnancy and birth, everything just feels wrong. I see other people with babies the same age and they smile, giggle, and even nap in their parents arms. My little boy is a screaming ball of rage. He's been to several doctors, a dietician, and a couple of different HVs. Eventually it was just decided he's 'a difficult baby'. He sleeps ok at night (one or two wake ups that are over quickly), but he won't nap during the day and if he's not screaming or crying from being overtired, he's just grizzling/low grade crying. Had a few smiles, but they are VERY few and far between. He's meeting development milestones, and feeds absolutely fine when he's hungry.

Don't get me wrong, please. This is a planned and very much wanted addition to our family and I fear what my husband would think if I told him that as it stands, I wish I could go back in time and tell my former self not to want this so much. I knew it would be hard, of course I did. But I always thought there'd be the love, the rewards of a little happy baby shining through. But no. Even complete strangers comment on how grumpy and whiny he is and it just makes me feel like a failure.

I'm on the waiting list for talking therapies, but even as a rushed case I'm looking at 4-6months wait. I'm also at maximum dose of antidepressants, though I stress I don't feel at all suicidal, nor aggressive towards my son. In fact I just feel overwhelmingly desperate to make him happy, but he's so, SO difficult I can't do anything. I'm stuck at home, miles from family.

I don't know what I can do. Everything I expected from this experience is broken. I feel like I spend 12hrs a day trying to find ways to stop my LO crying, I get half hour break for a shower when husband is home, then after the two-hour bedtime struggle (yep, he screams blue murder then, too) we finally have time to take a breather, but we're both far too shattered to even hold a conversation.

Has anyone out there dealt with such a challenging baby? Am I doing something wrong? I just feel like it's so unfair.

Pancakeflipper Fri 12-Jun-15 23:22:46

My DS2 was very much like your baby. He was such hard work. He would sleep for 20mins at a time but only laying on me. He raged, never smiled, had awful reflux so going out was a nightmare with his projectile vomit.

I struggled to bond with him. So had huge guilt about that.

When he was 18months old I was at the stages to try anything. Took him to a cranial osteopath specialising in children. After session 2 he slept for 2 hrs at a time. After session 4 he was sleeping for 5 hours.

And the next month we discovered he had food intolerance.

The bond happened - hit me like a ton of bricks.

He's 6 now. He's still a challenge. Life with him will always be a challenge. And he's wonderful.

Just keep telling yourself things will change, it won't be like this forever.

I think there's things that can cause a baby to be 'hard work' but because they are babies it's bloody hard to find out what it is. Maybe keep a diary and sed if any patterns emerge.

And talk to your health visitor or doctor. My HV was amazing.

I wouldn't relive the first 18months of my DS'2's life for anything. It was utterly miserable.

CosmicDespot Fri 12-Jun-15 23:43:52

It's not your fault. You aren't doing anything wrong. You had a very traumatic birth and you are dealing with a baby who cries A Lot. My advice would be to get out of the house with him as much as you can, baby clubs and groups, anything. This will pass, he will become able to communicate in other ways, and your depression will lift. Keep talking to your doctor and HV, accept all offers of help. You aren't alone, motherhood is not all chubby cheeks and cute socks for everyone.

Iwonderif Sat 13-Jun-15 17:04:44

Didn't want to read & run. I second all advice given in previous posts regarding the cranial osteopath especially. Is it possible for you to go to some mother & baby groups....if it's your cuppa tea that is? The cranial osteopath is deffo worth a shot? I can relate to a hard/miserable baby.....he's now on my lap enjoying a cuddle. He's now almost 5! But good lord he was such such hard work when he was a baby so you have my full sympathy. I hope you get some break from it all soon and your DS turns that corner. Hugs of support. X

Brightonmumtoatoddler Sat 13-Jun-15 22:03:07

I definitely agree with the cranial osteopath advice. People do rave about that. Demand a food allergy test from your gp to rule that out.
I would say maybe avoid baby groups for a while as it may stress you out taking a grizzly baby to a group with calmer babies. You may come away feeling worse seeing happier babies and happier mums! Just for the time being. Maybe find a kind friend to go on walks with or something outdoorsy.
Also insist to your midwife that she join you up with other mums with PND. It's a massive relief to talk openly and honestly in a room of people who are also going through ten shades of hell. I speak from experience.
ALSO don't beat yourself up about the love thing, I had a relatively easy birth and easy baby and I didn't feel proper love for her for ages. I felt terrible, what the hell was my excuse?! You are fully excused from not being in baby bliss yet.
Please let us know how you get on xxx

Brightonmumtoatoddler Sat 13-Jun-15 22:04:54

Not midwife, health visitor!!

Fugghetaboutit Sun 14-Jun-15 07:09:44

Poor you, op. I wish I could give you a hug.

Whereabouts are you? If in London I know a fab pnd support group.

I came on to say please try cranial osteo too!

icklekid Tue 16-Jun-15 04:36:01

Firstly it sounds like you are a good mum, you are aware that this is a very tough time and are seeking help. I can totally relate to the duty feeling. 6 months was a real turning point for me- I felt like something changed and I went from having a very fussy, hard work, clingy baby who I would dread spending all day every day with to a baby who could be put down. A baby who was able to sit up. A baby who would occasionally smile and giggle. I used to get out and do something every day from as soon as I could. I had awful spd, sickness throughout pregnancy and a fairly traumatic labour. Recovery was slow and painful and I think all of this didn't help me bond with a colicky newborn. He is now nearly 1 and I have days where I am reminded what he was like (on sun he wasn't feeling well and very clingy, only wanted mummy) and dispair. Find what works - a sling, a dummy, walks in the pushchair, naps in the car, feeding as soon as waking and do it for as long as it works without feeling guilty. Things will change and what once worked will not but something else will. You will get through this- be gentle on yourself, I ate a lot of cake and tea which helped!

JontyDoggle37 Tue 16-Jun-15 04:43:33

Don't know if you're breast or formula feeding, but it might be worth a try on a Comfort milk, especially if he is grizzling a lot.

EvenFlo Tue 16-Jun-15 05:20:18

I felt much the same as you OP and had similar (albeit at a lesser degree) difficulties around the birth (2 day labour, EMCS). I felt I was a terrible mother because my DS cried all of the time and I mean ALL of the time, he didn't sleep either which made it even more wonderful....
I don't have friend locally and simply couldn't go to baby groups as DS cried so much. I also has raging PND.
I wish I could say there was a magical cure but for us it was just time. It all just suddenly stopped. And on reflection that was when DS could do more. My HV was lovely and in the midst of the crying she said 'some babies just don't want to be babies'. It meant nothing at the time because I was feeling so awful but now I see some truth in that. As DS got more independent he just got happier. Don't get me wrong he still cries (we are in the throws of terrible twos) but on the whole he is a very happy boy now.

I also have my own theory that ba uea are born with an inbuilt agenda of what they want to do first. So for some it's walking or moving around, for others it's about eating really well and moving onto solids. For my boy it was about communicating. I say that because now at 18 months he has the speech patterns of a 3 year old!

As for the guilt about no rush of love for your DS. Don't beat yourself up about this, I don't think it happens for everybody but nobody talks about it because it's not the done thjng. I for one definitely fell in love with DS rather than just have that instant rush. We have so many expectations put on us as mothers that it can be soul destroying at times. But think about it, you have this little person in front of you who is crying, demanding and causing you pain - it's been said before but if you were in a relationship with that person you'd leave! And there is a reason that the body produces a hormone that helps you to forget stuff around the time of childbirth. It's because it's hard and often a bit horrid.

For now, focus on getting through each day because it will get better. Ask the GP for a switch of antidepressant for you and some meds for DS's reflux. Have a bit of time away from your DS every day, even if it's just half an hour on your own in he garden. Also, have you tried a sling? My DS did sleep if in a sling (and moving) during the day. Help him to learn to move about. And don't feel bad about wanting to turn the clock back sometimes -that's normal too!
Whereabouts are you? I'm more than happy to come and give you a helping hand if you're nearby.

lolalotta Tue 16-Jun-15 05:34:09

My friend had a very unhappy/ grizzley baby, it took the health professionals ages to find out what the matter was. She was BF and it turned out baby had some sort of dairy/lactose intolerance. She changed her diet, he became a different baby virtually over night. She never looked back. Like previous posters have said please get any intolerances looked into. Good luck, it must be incredibly hard xxx

paxtecum Tue 16-Jun-15 05:40:44

A cranial osteopath changed my friend's DD from a howling horror to a happy baby.

Are you taking any vitamins?
You would benefit from a good quality multi vit and mineral.

LHReturns Wed 17-Jun-15 13:55:45

OP you sound absolutely lovely and very self aware. You are still in the middle of your journey, although you naturally want to speed up to the enjoyment bit very fast.

In brief I had it easier than you (Hyperesemis yes, SPD no, smooth elective c section, really quite placid happy baby as a newborn). I had nothing to complain about but frankly I was a mess. I was in shock with a newborn from the start (as you say 'duty bound' only), but when I stopped breastfeeding at 3 months, I literally hurtled downhill. I developed hideous post natal anxiety and depression, which I didn't address with a proper SSRI (escitalopram) until my son was 7 months old. 6 weeks later I felt much better, and a few weeks after that I felt cured. I probably didn't truly feel a glorious, besotted, connected bond with my son until he was 9 months old. For you that will seem an age away, I promise it isn't.

My son (just turned 1) is actually much more troublesome now than he was as a newborn...he is very stubborn, very bossy, and gets so angry so quickly. However it doesn't matter one jot now...I am a well and happy mummy, and can cope with anything he throws at me.

You are doing a beautiful job. Your baby is just 4 months and he is very demanding. When you are well again none if this will matter any more, he will just be your little character. I agree with everyone who says to get out with him...I have always found that mothers at baby groups barely hear the screaming that I was so stressed by. Especially mums of more than one baby...they always tell me they can't even hear babies crying anymore! Just go, and show off what a little nutter you have! You will find an environment that relaxes him soon enough.

Your experience is NOT broken. Newborn stage is not for so many of us, me included, and as you get better you will find your feet. For me, just as I felt better, I took my son on holiday to Turkey alone for a week. This was an enormous challenge for me as prior to this I would never have gone anywhere with him as the travel anxiety and lack of sleep would have killed me. This trip was our turning point....my little boy helped me, and I helped him. I am so happy that while it took me 10 months to get there, we had the time of our lives together on the beach. I felt my journey was complete. You gave this to look forward to OP.

It took you 9 months to grow your son inside you, so accept it may take 9 months to find your special, unique balance with him. I promise you he will be fine, and he will be waiting for you, whenever you are ready.

Please write more, and tell us how you are feeling. Do you feel the ADs help somewhat? When did you start them, what are you on and what dose?

SashChops Thu 18-Jun-15 13:20:51

Thank you so much for the responses, I'm honestly so grateful people took the time to read my post; I am actually able to finally respond... DS doesn't nap well at all and it's got even worse recently. I'd convinced myself he was going through this 'four month sleep regression', but pretty much everyone in my family laughed and said it's rubbish, helpfully suggesting that I'm doing something wrong (can you see why I moved away?) Is sleep regression real or am I kidding myself?

ADs do help, but I really don't want to increase my dose again, for fear of feeling like a zombie. I'm completely on edge with anxiety, I don't sleep when he does, I'm just waiting for the inevitable moment when he snaps awake and screams like he's been dropped.

I also don't take any vitamins at the moment, willing to try anything.

Sling works great for DH, but not me. I just get full on tantrums (this really doesn't help my state of mind because I feel like my son hates me). I'm now almost scared to go out in public alone with him, because he just cries.

We've tried relfux and comfort milk, both just make him REALLY pooey and make zero difference to sleep aversion.

I cry so much these days and I just want to be happy and enjoy this time, before I have to go back to work (which will be sooner than expected due to dwindling funds).

Heels99 Thu 18-Jun-15 13:28:38

Have you tried a paediatric chiropractor? Sounds like he could be in pain perhaps from the birth? It's not uncommon. Make sure you take him to one qualified in babies.

daisyrose1984 Fri 19-Jun-15 19:21:16

I didn't want to read and run. It sounds like you've had a really difficult time please don't think you are doing anything wrong, all babies are so different and being a mummy to a baby who cries a lot is really hard even without pnd. I definitely believe the four month sleep regression exists, in our antenatal group we all found that our baby's sleep went a bit hay wire at this age. I also don't know if you've come across the wonder weeks but if not it's worth googling as I have often found that when my lg is having a really challenging week and I feel like I'm loosing the plot, it often ties in with a wonder week which helps to remind me that it's nothing I'm doing wrong. I also had a very unsettled lg who cried a lot and it's really tough, I look back now and wonder how I coped. I found getting out of the house as much as possible really helped, whether it was a walk to the shops or a baby group. I also found each day to be so much easier if I had plans I've really enjoyed some of our local baby groups and have made some friends through these, though they may not be your thing. I also found my lg was often more settled just for being out of the house too. In my case I was lucky in that as we hit about four months she suddenly seemed to settle, I remember my Dad saying she was like a different baby though she still has her moments. At this point everything started to feel so much easier and I enjoyed my days with her so much more. Just before this happened I was looking at cranial osteopaths and read some brilliant reviews, so definitely worth looking at. Above all as hard as it is and although it may not feel like it I'm sure you're doing am awesome job, it's just really hard sometime but it will get easier. Hang on in there, keep talking to people and getting as much help as you can. Sending lots of love xxx

Rupert123bear Mon 22-Jun-15 12:22:46

Hi, I'm really sorry to hear what a tough time you are having and I think you are amazing to be coping with what has been thrown at you (and you are coping because you have to). I'm very new to all of this, my little boy is 3 weeks old and; luckily for me, is very chilled (most of the time). However I had a very traumatic birth as I developed severe pre eclampsia and had to have an emergency C section and 2 blood transfusions at 38 weeks. I was advised that if I'd left it much longer to get medical help I probably would have suffered a stroke. This has left me quite traumatised, and that coupled with getting over the surgery and coping with a newborn, trying to breastfeed, and all the challenges it brings, I am really struggling at the moment. I too feel that I should be happy for this gorgeous little boy, but all I can think about is what I've lost; my previous life, rather than what I've gained and this makes me feel awful and a bad mother, and I don't have half of what you are going through to cope with. I really don't like breast feeding either but i know its the best option for my son so im persevering but I'm finding it tough and can't imagine having to do this for another 6 months! I've cried every day for the last 3 weeks.

I've been advised by friends (who I find are much better placed than family to give advice because they've been through it more recently) to take it one day at a time and to not think too far into the future, its difficult but I'm hanging onto this as they have all survived (as will we), although this is difficult to visualise during an endless cycle of feeding and expressing. Do you have any close friends near by who can help out a bit, or even just pop round for an hour for a chat (and to remind you of life outside of your own current situation)?

I can't imagine how hard things must be for you right now, having a baby who cries constantly must be horrendous, I have no answers for you I'm sorry, but I hope that the advice from others on this forum will help in some way.

If nothing else, whatever crap life throws at you in the future, you will be so much stronger to cope with it because of what you are going through right now.

Take care and big hugs x

Banana82 Mon 22-Jun-15 14:56:36

I also didn't want to read and run. I also had a traumatic birth and although I wasn't diagnosed with PND I struggled for a long long time with this brand new tiny screaming newborn. He seemed to be crying constantly or just make low level general unhappy noses! I met 2 lovely ladies at a baby group and every time we went out I was the one with the screaming baby whilst their's happily sat on their mummies lap or napped in the pram. My son was a terrible sleeper which I am sure contributed to him being unhappy a lot of the time. I was always on edge when we went out.

I did a lot of aimless driving around just to get him to have a nap and get a bit of peace and quiet myself. I constantly felt like a failure as he was very very much wanted but just didn't seem happy despite all my efforts!

He's not long turned one now and I am back at work part time and things have vastly improved. He can still be incredibly grumpy and is also a nightmare to have a nap in the day but its much much easier. Maybe me being back at work and not at home 24/7 has helped too. His personality is coming out and the immense love and bond I have with him is definitely there, even though it wasn't in the beginning.

I guarantee in time, he will get easier. Its just so hard to see that when you are right in the middle of it. Be kind to yourself and accept any help on offer, even if its just an hour to recharge your batteries.

sherbetpips Tue 23-Jun-15 12:45:34

Oh god honey, I remember that feeling so well. The guilt at not feeling anything towards the baby at all and the sheer hard work of trying to mother him perfectly. The relief I felt when he finally started interacting with me (grinning, babbling, etc) was amazing and the love soon followed afterwards. One bit of advice I gave a friend when she reached a similar stage of lack of sleep and anxiety was to keep a diary for two or more weeks. Note down only the following for both yourself and the baby on two separate sheets:
1. sleep including little naps, times and length
2. food how much and when
3. bowel movements/nappy changes (not for you LOL)

Being able to see in black and white that there is actually some rythym to yours and your babies behaviour can really help with the anxiety, it isn't easy to see it when your head is all over the place.

It also helps with planning your day, so you don't end up trying to go out for a walk just when baby should be doing something else.

Looking after yourself and eating well/taking vitamins, etc is very very important too. Do not feel guilty about taking time out if you need a break - there is no price for parent martydom.

I promise it gets better but be kind to yourself, you are not supermum and neither is anyone else, however good they look at it!

sherbetpips Tue 23-Jun-15 12:48:35

Forgot to say my SIL had a baby at the same time as me, problem free birth, breast fed perfectly, napped consistently throughout the day....... me nightmare birth, injured afterwards and immobile, baby awoke every 45 mins for the first 4 weeks with little naps, wouldnt feed, reflux, hell on earth.
10 years on and he is the most amazing son in the world, far more beautiful, smart and loving than I could ever imagine - I would do those first 6 months a million times over x

atticusfinchatemybaby Tue 23-Jun-15 18:20:10

It will get better, don't despair. 4 month sleep regression is definitely a thing - you're not alone with that! I would guess if he's grizzling all day it's due to him not napping and being exhausted. I'm sure you're doing all you can but I'd suggest trying to focus all your efforts on sorting out daytime naps and see if that solves some of the problems. Pay a sleep consultant if you have tried everything else. Everybody gets those 'I wish I could go back to my old life' feelings sometimes so don't feel guilty. And it really will get better so hang on in there.

SashChops Sat 27-Jun-15 12:14:33

Just wanted to check back in. I got a bit overwhelmed last week and begged my HV to come out and see me, because I felt so low. My other half took this week off work so we can sort out naps for DS, which so far is mainly going well, with the odd bout of resistance. I also had my antidepressants increased which isn't ideal, but I'm taking it a day at a time and just going with it for now.

I'm still hoping I feel that 'bolt of love' that I hear so much about. My little boy is so, so beautiful, and he makes me melt when he giggles and smiles at his Daddy (he's usually very grumpy for me), and I just wish I felt some kind of 'bond' with him.

I feel a bit guilty that I've handed over so much to my husband this week, especially since he seems to find it so easy. He's a natural; he was around a lot for the upbringing of his nieces and has a lot more hands on experience than I do. I'd never even changed a nappy before DS and I feel like a lot of the time I'm asking him what to do, which seems worlds away from every other thread I see online where Mums are the one with the instinct!

Daisy - I have the wonder weeks app and so far it's been spot on for his development, although he's usually a few days ahead. I still think my dates must have been wrong as he was so large and I didn't have GD.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, living so far away from friends and family can be very lonely and while I'm sorting my anxiety out it's hard to get out and meet people, especially when groups can be so cliquey.

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