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Overwhelmed with new baby: an update

(39 Posts)
neuroticlady Sat 30-Aug-08 04:35:29

For those of you that stuck with the 20-odd pages of this original thread and held my hand through the terrifying PND diagnosis and early weeks, I wanted to come back on here to bring you an update.

Our baby boy is seven months old now. I can hardly believe it. He and I have come a very long way in that time.

I still can't bring myself to read my original thread as I am sure I sounded as if I was bordering on insanity (and for a time I think I was). It all feels so surreal now. Did I really have a hospital mental health team calling me each night, probably to check I was still alive? Did I actually have a parent support worker glued to my side because she was so worried I was about to harm myself or my four week old baby? Did I honestly wish he'd never been born or that we'd had him adopted? Did I really break out in a sweat just trying to get to the corner shop? Did it all really happen?

I feel as if I am talking about a different person. I feel ashamed and stupid for reacting in the way that I did, although logically I know I couldn't help it. I regret so very much that those precious first few days in hospital saw the beginning of the slide into mental collapse, instead of what it should have been; a happy, happy time surrounded by flowers and cards, cuddling our precious son. I wish, how I wish, I could have enjoyed bringing him home, being with him, getting to know him. I wish I could change how it all began, but I can't and I have to live with that.

But at least now I know it's how it should be. It's normal. Sometimes it's amazing and my heart sings and I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. Other times it's a drag and it's boring and hard and frustrating, but even on the worst days the underlying love is there and it's unshakable.

Seven months down the line, what have I learned? That, for me, postnatal depression was less about hormones and more about my circumstances. I was isolated, afraid, inexperienced with babies and without any family in the country to help me. I was used to a tidy house, an ordered life, money and the freedom to be spontaneous. I am more of a perfectionist and a control freak and certainly more selfish than I'd ever cared to admit to myself. And I went into this pregnancy with emotional baggage that came back to bite me on the bum in monumental style once the turmoil of a new baby and sleep deprivation was thrown into the mix. So if ever there was a prime candidate for postnatal depression, it was me.

But I've also learned that you do come out the other side, as so many of you kept telling me over and over again. You do survive, you do get your sanity back, your sense of self, your ability to think straight, your sense of perspective.

It's still tough without any help. I still miss my family. I still get frustrated that the house is a permanent tip. I still wish I could do it all, and do it well. I hate that I look like shit most of the time. I yearn for more time for me. But doesn't that just come with the territory? That's not PND; it's normal.

I can't imagine life without him now. You were right. It does get better.

THANK YOU for being wise and wonderful!

meandmyjoe Sat 30-Aug-08 05:28:46

That's so lovely to read. Thank you for updating us. I was thinking of you a couple of days ago actually and wondered how you were getting on. I can't believe that 7 months have passed! It's probably felt like an age to you though.

Anyway, it's 5:20am over here, Joseph has been waking at 5 every morning this week, urrrgh. While his milk warms I thought I'd pop on here and was so pleased to read your post.

I think what you feel now is totally normal, yes we all long for a tidy house and more me time but it's just part of being a mummy. That too will get easier as he gets more independant. My ds is 12 months now and has been walking for the past 3 weeks. With the exception of teething, he is a complete delight to be around and I wouldn't change him for the world. I never thought he'd bring this much joy to our lives, especially not in the early months when all he ever did was scream incessantly!

It's lovely to hear that things are back on the right track for you and that the love we all talked about did come like so many people assured you it would! We all have ups and downs though but try not to let the downs take away from the ups. You have done brilliantly and I'm so so pleased for you. Well done on being so strong and like I said before, I'm sure your original thread will help and guide so many new mums who feel exactly as you did. I think you were very brave for recognising you felt ill so early on and so strong for getting help when you needed it.

Well done! Enjoy your gorgeous little boy, I can say from experience now that before you now it he will be a toddler and then the fun really begins!!! (Still not a big fan of the baby stage but my baby was notoriously grotty!)

Are you still planning on moving back to England? Whatever you decide and whatever happens I hope things work out really well for you. Good luck with everything NL.

X

DustyTV Sat 30-Aug-08 05:56:05

How lovely to hear a success story. I didn't see your original thread NL but I am so glad that things are so much better for you.

Good luck for the future for you and your family.

wb Sat 30-Aug-08 09:48:03

Thanks for the update. I don't think I ever posted on your original thread (you had better advice than I could give) but I did read it. Am so pleased things are going well now.

paddingtonbear1 Sat 30-Aug-08 09:52:59

hi NL, I didn't post on your original thread either but I did follow it. I'm so pleased things are going better for you, and thanks for updating us!
best wishes x

LeonieD Sat 30-Aug-08 09:56:07

Message withdrawn

Thomcat Sat 30-Aug-08 10:00:18

Oh my goodness. I wasn't aware of your PND but have been moved to tears by your post.
How wonderful. You're an inspiration to all mothers going through PND or yet to go through it sad. What a lovely post and I'm so happy for you smile

MarlaSinger Sat 30-Aug-08 10:04:59

Hi neuroticlady. I was on your original thread, but I've been through a couple of namechanges since then.

I can understand why it might be hard to read your old posts but please don't feel ashamed - your openness and honesty touched so many of us and it's what has made me think of you often, a stranger on the other side of the world who shared her suffering intensely.

I am so, so pleased to read this If you find time tell us about your lovely little boy - is he crawling? What's his favourite game or toy?

My own son is 10 months now and while I did not go through anything like you, I look back on the early days with a real sadness that it wasn't how it was supposed to be. I can only hope that it blurs in time.

You mentioned that you and your husband were sort of thinking about the idea of coming back to the UK - is that still a possibility?

Thank you for updating us x

meep Sat 30-Aug-08 10:06:23

neuroticlady, I remember your original thread. I am so happy that you are now in a happy place.
Enjoy your lovely little boy - 7mo is a fantastic age and they really become such little people who amaze you more and more each day!

Buda Sat 30-Aug-08 10:15:43

You sound so well now! Well done you for getting through it all.

You write very well. Have you thought about writing a book about your experience?

miffymum Sat 30-Aug-08 10:31:18

Hi NL,

I was so happy to see your update this morning. It's wonderful that you've come out of your PND and well done for articulating it all so clearly. I'm sure reading about your experiences has helped others. Best of luck for the future.

neuroticlady Sat 30-Aug-08 13:07:05

it's great to hear from those who were there with me on the original thread. I think of you often and what you did to help me. And it's really nice to get well wishes from people who didn't see it but get enough of a sense of the turmoil from what I wrote here!

Meandmyjoe, I can't believe your baby is now a little boy who is walking! I'm so pleased to hear you're out the other side of those tough grotty baby months, as I know how much of a challenge it was at the time. Mind you, 5am waking... hmm. You make me almost (almost!) look forward to the next few months and to my bub being mobile, eek.

Marla, thanks for asking about the baby. He's definitely becoming a little person now and more entertaining all the time. He has a great cackle, is fascinated by his father's stubble, loves our dogs (especially their ears), thinks bath time is great (can't imagine that will last into boyhood) and loves his food, especially fruit. He has two books that are his absolute favourites and he grins every time he sees them. He gives the biggest grin when I go into his room (unless he's having a grotty day in which case he has his dad's frown off to a tee) and he has recently become totally fascinated by all his cuddly toys and delights in knocking them all off the shelves. He isn't crawling yet but he loves sitting up and in fact that's pretty much all he wants to do (so much for tummy time). He loves going out and about in the sling, especially on long walks with the dogs, and he really enjoys being out in the garden with me, helping me to water the plants while in the sling (again, can't imagine that will last long so I'm making the most of it!).

He has his father's beautiful dark eyes and long black lashes, a wicked grin and a dimple on one cheek which I love. He has the most kissable, big, rosy cheeks and gorgeous full lips. I know everyone thinks their own baby is the most beautiful creature on earth but when people look at him and tell me he's going to be a heartbreaker I really do believe it! (Well, his dad was and they are like peas in a pod when you see their baby photos next to each other).

As you can probably tell I can go on endlessly about him - and this is coming from someone who swore she would never become a baby bore. But I think you get the picture...

Yes, Marla and Meandmyjoe, we are still thinking about making the move back to England for a while, but as with everything I now have some perspective on this and can see once more what a truly amazing place Australia is to raise children. I'm starting to make some good friends through mothers' group and I'm definitely feeling a bit more settled, but that's not to say I don't miss England and our families desperately. It's lifestyle versus family. It's a really tough one. I don't know what the answer is.

Buda, no I've never really thought about writing a book, though I think I'd like to one day. I guess I feel the shelves in the bookstores are already groaning with baby books (I should know; I own most of them, much to DH's despair) and that there must be countless PND books out there already. But thank you for suggesting it. Who knows...?

I forgot to add one more thing that I have learned since having a baby: That it is possible to sit on the loo while entertaining him in his sling and folding the washing all at once wink

Hope the sun is shining in Blighty (about time it made up for the rubbish summer I've heard all about!). A big hug to you all from downunder xxx

unknownrebelbang Sat 30-Aug-08 13:12:36

I remember your original thread, and was only wondering how you were a week or so ago(maybe a month ago).

Thanks for posting this lovely update.

nooonit Sat 30-Aug-08 13:23:55

neuroticlady - so lovely to hear that you've come out the 'other' side. I followed your original thread but never posted - my DD2 is about the same age as your DS. So much of what you were feeling I felt with DD1 and to a lesser degree with DD2.

I think you were so brave to post so frankly about a very difficult time in your life. So much of what you wrote struck a chord with me - I think when you are used to going out to work, being independent, having a full night's sleep etc those first months are so hard.

I'm sure your posts have helped so many women think, thank God it's not just me!

Your DS is lucky to have such an articulate, funny, honest Mummy.So glad things are looking up for you. Continue to enjoy your DS, I wish you all the best!

chez33 Sat 30-Aug-08 21:44:23

I've thought about you often applauds

angel1976 Sat 30-Aug-08 22:11:07

Hi NL,

WELL WELL DONE! My DS just turned 6 months and his first 3-4 months is a period of time I never care to repeat again (I don't care what all the people say about how precious those early days were, I HATED them!). I don't know how I survived but I did and it helped to read your story. I remember calculating how much older your LO was just so I know what I can look forward to with your posts. My LO is absolutely beautiful and what a cheeky monkey but we do love, love him to death. GL for your future! Are you ready to tell us now what his name is?

Ax

Wade Tue 30-Sep-08 20:50:25

Hi NL, kept wondering how you were doing and was so pleased to see this. Well done, I'm so glad you've come out the other side! So are you staying in Oz?

McGill Tue 30-Sep-08 21:25:31

So glad you are feeling great and loving being a mammy! Have to say you have a real way with words...you should definately think about putting that talent to use - you describe things perfectly and beautifully...even when you are talking about how shit you feel! I work with depressed people and I would certainly recommend any depressed mums to read your thread as I think it could really help them....anyway, when I see your award winning books on the shelf of the local waterstones, I will remember where it all started....! x

komododragon Tue 30-Sep-08 21:59:18

Hi there neuroticlady, been there myself and it's a toughie, well done. Maybe it's time to change your name - something more positive, maybe?

cheerfulvicky Wed 01-Oct-08 10:35:04

Yay! So great to read your post NL, I was also wondering recently how you are doing, and its brilliant to know you are out the other side of PND and enjoying your baby lots. I followed your other thread for a while but don't think I ever posted...
He sounds absolutely adorable, give him a big kiss from me! My son is almost 5 weeks and I have to confess I'm looking forward to when he's a bit bigger and communicative - even a cheeky smile from him will be great

trishpops Wed 01-Oct-08 10:39:36

didn't see your original thread, but have been moved to tears by this op. you have articulated your experience so well. you shoud write a book about it. (if you ever get time) inspirational that you have come so far, you should be so proud of yourself

Turniphead1 Wed 01-Oct-08 10:57:05

NL - I didn't see your original post, but your update is inspirational.I wonder are there any PND charities who keep testaments from people who have been through it and come out the other side. I am sure reading that could help someo women who wonder will there ever be an end to it.

Don't ever feel ashamed of what you went through. Your boy is so lucky that you got help and got through it (the pnd support in OZ sounds pretty great too).

Take care - and enjoy! I love that 7 month stage. Has he got chubbins and pudgins yet? (My sister's name for a baby's fat arms and legs they get at the pre-movement stage!)

wobbegong Wed 01-Oct-08 11:34:24

I am so pleased to see your message, and sorry I missed it a month ago. I have wondered about you over the summer.

Back in March I wrote:

"One day you will tell us more about your little boy, what he is called, what he does that you love, maybe post some pics- and that will be a great day for all of us."

and now that day has come, and I could go all soppy, thinking about how far we have all come and about the fantastic MN support community. There will be lots of people who have benefited from your thread, so thank you for starting it. I have linked to it on a few occasions.

My DD is 10 months old now and I am so glad that I have her, even after all the dark days at the beginning. She too loves knocking toys off shelves!- all over the world babies are delighting their mothers with this trick!

Now, as komododragon says, namechange please!

Littlefish Wed 01-Oct-08 11:43:34

How lovely to hear from you NL. I didn't see this thread when you started it. It's wonderful to hear you sounding so grounded and realistic. Please don't ever feel ashamed or stupid for the way that you felt in those dark, early days. You were doing the very best that you could in those circumstances.

I'm so, so pleased to hear from you. I've thought about your thread often, and kept it on my "watch list" all this time in case you came back. smile

Habbibu Wed 01-Oct-08 19:42:23

Oh, so so happy to see you posting again - and such a great post! It's just wonderful - and you did it! You! You have been an inspiration and a marvel, and I'm so happy to see things are on the up. You need a namechange, methinks...

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