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Finding motherhood so difficult, wondering if I am cut out for it...

(28 Posts)
rosycheeks81 Thu 18-Jun-09 14:02:29

I am new here (aside from a couple of posts about feeding), I usually post on another board but know people very well there and feel a bit ashamed of what I am about to say, was really hoping for impartial advice as I feel I am cracking up

I have a 16 wk old DD and I just feel things are getting harder and harder. In my darkest toughest moments I wonder what the hell possessed me to have children and reminisce over my old childfree life. Don't get me wrong, I love DD more than anything in the whole world, but it's just so difficult

It was tough from the start as due to f**k ups at the hospital and generally rubbish support and advice DD didn't latch on to feed - it became a majorly big issue for me and the first 4 weeks were a blur of expressing, bottle feeding and trying desperately to get her to latch on as she screamed at the breast

Then she did amaingly latch on and then despite the expressing my milk supply wasn't enough so I spent 3 weeks doing various things to increase my supply. It worked but all I can remember about the first 7 weeks are the feeding issue, it overshadowed everything. Then when she was eventually exclusively breastfed her sleeping was so messed up she fed every 1.5 to 2 hours round the clock (as opposed to going 3-4 hours when she was bottlefed!). It has been every 2 hours at night since then and to say I am exhausted is an understatement.

Before I just kind of got on with it and the daytime made up for the lack of sleep, however last week we had a reprieve and she slept 7-1, then waking at 4 and then 7, to me absolute heaven. I was really happy, DD was happy and I thought we had come through the tough start

This week however she has become like a child possessed, waking up completely at night to play and not going back to sleep, grumpy nearly all the time in the daytime unless I'm holding her, I can get her to nap but she wakes up after 40 minutes, obviously still tired but I can't get her back to sleep no matter what I try so I get her up then she needs to go back down 45 minutes later. The smiles and playing and happiness that made it all worth while seems to be gone and she just grizzles continously. I wondered if she had an ear infection or something else wrong but been to drs and she is fine.

I know these are all phases, but one difficult phase seems to be replaced with another and I seem to be continuously wishing time away. my friends who complain that their baby only sleeps from 7-4 are really getting to me as well. I just feel like I am continously doing things wrong, especially when the books I have read(you'll be able to guess the ones!) tell me that I have got into bad habits, or am making mistakes

The worst thing about it is that my DP who was keeping me calm and sane is now really getting down by the broken nights and the general grumpiness so I don't even have him to cheer me up, in fact it's become the other way round!

Please someone tell me it all gets better and is worth it, I feel like a bad person for even feeling like this when I have been given such a gorgeous gift. I just never realised it would be this hard

Sorry for the length and general rant, just makes me feel better getting it all down

pagwatch Thu 18-Jun-09 14:04:41


there are HUNDREDS of mothers who could post exactly the same post in the early months of motherhood.
It is overwhelming and daunting and every time you get one thing right there is a new thing to figure out.
There is nothing wrong with you. It is just so much harder than anyone can make you imagine before you do it.
It does get better.

pagwatch Thu 18-Jun-09 14:07:34

Dh and I were talking last night about DS1 waking constantly for months and both of us arguing in the middle of the night concluding with my shouting at him " I don't know why he won't sleep. They didn't slip me an owners manual on the way out and i chose not to tell you !"

DS1 is 16 tomorrow. We have two others aged 12 and 6 and without doubt those three people are the best thing we ever did, the best parts of ourselves - and ( you might find this hard to believe) more fun and joy than we could have ever imagined.

You are tired. It will be fine. It will eventually be great.

bettyjack Thu 18-Jun-09 14:10:44


Sorry to hear you are feeling low.

I think your little ones is realsing a few things, for instance if I cry mum will pick me up.

I had my 2nd last year and she was a crying in the beginning and then calmed down. About 6 months old she started screaming when it was bed time, so I just left her. It was so hard to the point i had to go in the garden and chill out for 30 mins, she would have stopped by then. This went on for 3 weeks every night.

Now she goes straight to sleep when I say bedtime and wakes up at 7.30am. She now knows crying will not get my attenion. The first year is always the hardest as their are so many things they need to learn and there are so many things that you need to try and establish as a parent, so you get a better child etc etc etc .


FairMidden Thu 18-Jun-09 14:12:59

rosy I am dashing to work but just wanted to say very quickly that what you are feeling doesn't make you a bad mum, it makes you normal.

I say to people now (DS is nearly 2) "Babies are shit, aren't they?" - because it's true, just nobody remembers/admits it and then you feel weird for finding things so hard and unrewarding.

Mark my words, this time next year things will be so, so different you won't be able to imagine feeling like this. Keep posting on here and getting the support you need. This is tough, this being a mum thing, but it gets so much better with time. You're doing great

HensMum Thu 18-Jun-09 14:13:41

It does get better. Tiny babies are hard work for precious little reward at the time, but it slowly gets easier as the baby gets bigger, though you always have hard patches.

Your DD just sounds like she's not getting much sleep and is tired. Not your fault at all. Keep doing what you're doing.

Will she sleep in a buggy/sling? Long walks saved my sanity when DS was tiny, he got a big sleep, I got thin grin

I felt a lot like you when DS was tiny and spoke to my HV. She did the PND checklist and was a bit worried so sent me to the GP. I don't think I really had PND but just talking about how I was feeling really helped. Can you talk to your HV or GP?

FWIW, DS is 20 months old now, still incredibly hard work, but loads and loads of fun too. You'll get there.

Seeline Thu 18-Jun-09 14:15:22

As Pagwatch syas - most of us have been there (and I believe those that say they haven't are propabably lying!!) It does get easier but I know that's not much help now. Have you got any family/friends to help out. even if htey just take your LO for a walk while you can relax in teh bath it can help. Even better if someone can take her while you have a nap. Are you getting out and about during the day. It helps break the monotony and takes your mind off how hard things are. The are lots of mother/baby groups - try your local librabry or church where groups often meet. Have a good walk each day - I used to find being outside calmed my two down, and occassionally they fell asleep. As it's getting warmer now, if they do fall asleep in teh buggy, you don't even have to worry about getting coats and things off when you get back, just leave them to it. Try to imaging yourself in 3 months time - it will be better and easier.

catrin Thu 18-Jun-09 14:15:50

We tried for years for dd and were thrilled when I got pregnant. I loved being pregnant and was so excited about finally being a mum. Then dd was born...
It wasn't that I was a nervous mum at all, or had had unrealisitc expectations, I just didn't like any of it. If I could have given her away I probably would have thought hard about it. I never had that instant rush of love everyone describes and I felt like the worst mother ever.
But then she got to about 5 months and she just was fab. My previously grumpy, screaming, can't put downable baby became the most enchanting thing I had ever seen. And it has just got better and better. People say it all goes so quickly, but I love every age she has been (now 3.6) and I can't wait for the next chapter. It does get better, more so than you could imagine. catrin

NoTart Thu 18-Jun-09 14:16:11

Rosy, I could have written your post and wouldn´t have admitted it was so bad at the time. I suspect it´s quite common but treated like some shameful secret. I agree with previous poster, things will soon be fine then become great! You will go from dying to have some time to yourself to actually preferring to spend time with your child.

Just as soon as you start getting more sleep things will get better. Use a sling to comfort your baby but get on with other things.. maybe try an automatic rocking chair for babies..

You´re not a bad mother, just a normal knackered one! You haven´t made a mistake, you will grow into the job ; )

Sycamoretreeisvile Thu 18-Jun-09 14:16:20

Hi Rosy,

When I had my first DD, I felt like I had sunk into some strange other world underwater. I could see the rest of society going about it's business the way it always had, but somehow I was completely separate from it - dislocated. I felt I was waking along under a giant roof of cellophane, through treacle. Things sounded different - I wondered if I'd ever penetrate back into the real world again and I was very scared.

I also had a very traumatic birth experience. Crash section after a week in hospital being induced, waters broken - every intervention, I had it. When DD was born , I forgot to even try to feed her (and she never really latched so was FF in the end) and was so exhausted I dreamt I couldn't breath and was dying and made my mother watch me whilst I slept blush. I would wake up paralysed and unable to speak.

NO ONE prepares you for how hard it is being the mother of a newborn baby. It's like a big conspiracy lol! Or else we all take pity because what would be the point of telling a soon to be new mum just how hard it really is - it's not what we want to hear when we're full of excitement. But it is the truth, for many women.

What can I say other than yes, it really will pass. How soon things get easier for you will depend on the tempermanent of your baby. The only other things you can do is keep loving her the way you do, feed her when she wants feeding, and get her napping in the day so she isn't over tired and cranky at night time.

You're doing great. I already know that because you've taken the trouble to post this thread. Really good luck to you and hang around here because it's a great board for support and for much needed laugh when you need it too. smile

rosycheeks81 Thu 18-Jun-09 14:20:24

Thanks for your replies

I don't think it's PND, I have had depression in the past and don't feel like that, just completely worn out and fed up.

And actually getting her to sleep is fine, she doesn't cry, I can put her down and she sends herself off (albeit with a dummy, which she spits out before she drops off, I don't have to replace it)

She will fall asleep in the buggy, but like clockwork seems to wake 40 mins later and won't fall back asleep even if I carry on walking, it's so frustrating! Same with the sling.

Perhaps noone is being honest, but my RL friends all seem to be doing so much better than me with sleep, routines, feeding etc. Shouldn't compare I know as all babies are different, but it's hard...

rosycheeks81 Thu 18-Jun-09 14:20:31

Thanks for your replies

I don't think it's PND, I have had depression in the past and don't feel like that, just completely worn out and fed up.

And actually getting her to sleep is fine, she doesn't cry, I can put her down and she sends herself off (albeit with a dummy, which she spits out before she drops off, I don't have to replace it)

She will fall asleep in the buggy, but like clockwork seems to wake 40 mins later and won't fall back asleep even if I carry on walking, it's so frustrating! Same with the sling.

Perhaps noone is being honest, but my RL friends all seem to be doing so much better than me with sleep, routines, feeding etc. Shouldn't compare I know as all babies are different, but it's hard...

BEAUTlFUL Thu 18-Jun-09 14:25:23

Oh, you poor girl. And don't you dare feel guilty! Motherhood - especially that very early bit - is so often a long, unrewarding, back-breakingly, bollocksy slog. And if you can't have a good moan about that, what can you?

Like your DD, my DS2 went from being contented and happy into a squawly, screamy mess around the 3/4 month stage. He never slept for longer than 40 minutes, and spent a lot of his time looking just completely fucked-off. I felt SUCH a failure.

What finally worked for us was making his day-time naps earlier (not later, like you'd expect). So, at 9am he went back to bed, even if he'd only got up at 7am. The earlier he had that first nap, the longer he slept, right through the day. This saved my life.

Try that. And keep posting! Nothing you have posted is unusual at ALL and I admire your honesty and bravery for admitting how you feel. We all go through this bit, i promise you. Even those serene-looking Mums you see gliding round the park.

I think they can get overtired if you leave their naps too late. Try giving him less time between naps.

Theimperialcharliecat Thu 18-Jun-09 14:26:09

Rosy I am just going to reiterate what everyone else has said, you are completely normal and I don't suppose their is a mother alive that hasn't felt like this, I know I did!

BUT it DOES get better, although sometimes you feel like its one step forward, two steps back but only you know your dd so if it feels right it probably is. Use the books as a reference not as a rule and don't be afraid to use mn as
a place to get reassurance and help.

Like Hensmum I found walking with my dd saved my sanity on quite a few occasions and had the added benefit of helping me shift some flab (still got a way to go mind grin)

You are doing fine x

releasethehounds Thu 18-Jun-09 14:28:27

Haven't read all the posts but I just wanted to let you know that I felt exactly the same way when I had my first DD. In fact, things did progress onto PND for me and one day I literally found myself rocking in a corner unable to cope with anything other than the baby's essential needs.

I really wish MN had been around then because, like you, I thought I was the only one - that I was incompetant and selfish for thinking about my needs ie lack of freedom, yearning for my child-free days.

Like others have said it really does get better - for me, there's a big improvement once baby can walk, and from there it just gets better! (Until they start answering back grin).

Some moms love the newborn bit, but frankly, it was bleak for me. It couldn't have been that bad though because I went onto have a second one!

Chin up love - things will improve.

fizzpops Thu 18-Jun-09 14:32:24

I felt very similar, in fact DD is 14 mo and I still have days when I feel a bit like this.

Meeting up with other mums used to make me feel there was something wrong with me in that I wasn't finding it easier, but sooner or later one or other of them would have a vulnerable moment about something that was not a problem with my DD and I realised that we all get anxious just sometimes over different things.

Comparing is such a natural thing to do but really not a good indicator of 'normal' at all.

DD was not a good sleeper but was a great feeder.

She cried for hours for no reason a lot at one stage but she was holding things and passing them from hand to hand very early.

Doubtless your DD has her own talents and she has her own needs and habits.

legalalien Thu 18-Jun-09 14:34:50

what release the hounds said. you are certainly not alone.... see this thread from a while back old thread - will try and post more later (at work at the moment)

NoTart Thu 18-Jun-09 14:36:58

I agree with bEAUTIFUL. Your baby may just need significantly more sleep than you realise. Once they get overtired babies can´t drop off, despite being obviously exhausted. What do u think?

silkcushion Thu 18-Jun-09 14:38:37

Rosy - lots of mums feel exactly the same but it feels almost impossible to articulate it. The fact everyone around you seems to be doing better is because you have no idea how they feel inside.

Sleep deprivation is used as a form of tortue remember - it is normal for it to affect you so badly but it will improve.

HensMum Thu 18-Jun-09 14:43:09

That's so good that she can settle herself already, loads of babies can't at that age, had to bounce DS on the birthing ball to get him to drop off!

The 40mins sleep thing does suggest she's overtired, it's worth trying putting her down a bit earlier than you normally would.

weebump Thu 18-Jun-09 14:52:03

rosycheeks, you sound very normal, don't be ashamed!

It's very hard to recover from the birth and then take care of a crying baby, especially when you haven't slept! I think everyone goes through this - I know I did. I used to look at other parents and wonder how they were able to carry on with normal life! How did they manage to cook a meal and eat it?! How did they manage to organise a baysitter and go out?! How did they get showered and dressed every day?! How did they keep up with current affairs and have conversations about non-baby things?! Would life ever be the same again?

And then eventually, the dust settled and everything felt normal and life fell into a groove and our baby settled into a regular feeding/sleeping pattern. She was about 6 months old by the time I felt normal - which probably seems like such a long way away to you right now, but in the grander scheme of things isn't long at all.

I also followed a few books, and felt like I was creating bad habits I'd never get out of, and looking back I wish I hadn't spent so much energy worrying about that, but at the same time the sooner you can get baby to sleep better, the sooner you can sleep, the sooner things start to feel normal again.

I followed the baby whisperer's routine of Eat, Awake, Sleep, in 3-hour cycles. So if I fed dd at 12 noon, I'd keep her awake for a little while, then once she started yawning/ rubbing eyes I'd get her to sleep (by rocking at first, eventually at 3 months we did controlled crying) and then try and hold off feeding again until 3 pm. It didn't work out straight away, but it was a routine we aimed for, and by delaying feeding a few minutes each time (didn't like to hear her cry) I managed to eventually stretch out from 2 hours to 3.
This also meant not letting her sleep too much during the day. I rarely woke her, but if she slept longer than 3 hours I would wake her up to feed. When she woke at night I'd feed her, but then keep everything dark and boring, only changing her nappy if it was pooey. Also, we didn't co-sleep because I just couldn't sleep with her in the bed, so she was in her moses basket.

It took a while, which is something they don't tell you in those books. They make you feel like it should happen magically straight away. It doesn't. But it does settle down eventually, and then you can really enjoy this beautiful person you've brought into the world.

My daughter is 1.5 years old now, and is the best craic! She gets excited by everything every day, and I have truely fallen in love with her. I have a life again, and she's a big part of it, and that's the way I want it now. I'm sure you'll feel the same soon.

DwayneDibbley Thu 18-Jun-09 15:36:21

Message withdrawn

rosycheeks81 Thu 18-Jun-09 15:38:27

the sleep thing - i try to get her down before she gets really tired. she is really only up for about 1.5 hours - 2 at the most, or only an hour if she didn't have a proper nap previously, so i am sure she's not overtired. she wakes at betwen 7 and 7.30 and is usually back down by 8.45am. Then today is a good example, she was asleep again at 11.30 but woke at 12.15, really grumpy after about 20 minutes but not tired enough to nap, got her back down at 1.45pm and she woke at 2.30 and has been grizzling and not letting me put her down to play since then! I'm going to aim to get her to nap again around 4ish so she wakes at 5pm.

It took us a lot of hard work to get her to fall asleep on her own, before i was feeding her to sleep and it took nearly 2 hours. now she is down at 7 and straight to sleep. I think this is why I am getting so down, I've tried so hard and I have no idea why she is still sleeping badly as I have implemented all the advice I've been given, the right sleep cues etc, and it improved things for a few days and now they are worse! OK so she goes to sleep easily, but will not stay asleep. If she was in a good mood I wouldn't worry about the length of the naps but the fact she is such hard work and will not let me put her down makes it all that much harder

I suppose at the heart of it all is that in my career I have always worked really hard, this has always paid off and I have always hated to fail at anything. Succeeding and being thought of as good at my job was really important. The fact I have now have no control over this despite working harder at both bf and the sleep thing than anyone else I know (I mean we were literally shhh patting for 20-60 mins everytime she woke for more than a week until she went to sleep without our help. Sometimes this was 4 times a night) has made it harder to deal with as I am used to getting out what you put in.

The constant grizzling is really draining

Janus Thu 18-Jun-09 17:04:50

rosy, my third was exactly like yours, the 40 minute sleep thing drove me nuts. It lasted for a while at around about the same age as yours until about 6 months. DD3 would happily go off at night, no problem, but the day just seemed to be so difficult. In then end I just accepted that she only needed 40 minutes and would psyche myself up for that prospect and as soon as she woke up I'd do something with her, walk around the park, swimming, shopping, anything. She was always happier when out and had things to look at rather than me putting yet another load of washing on!! My house was a mess but she was happier which made me feel much better. She just seemed to then progress to an hour's sleep and now will go for 1 to even 1.5 hours. My first 2 would sleep for 2 hours every time they were put down but for some reason number 3 was different. I think I thought it must be something I was doing but now I know she was just programmed different.
DD3 is nearly 13 months and now is a complete joy. She slept through the night from 8 months (we did controlled crying and it worked in one night, so no bf in middle of night, fab!). She has 2 sleeps, one long, one about 25 mins and nearly always wakes up singing away and happy. She is so chatty and adorable now but she really was difficult in those early days and I felt very much like you, I just could never get anything done!
I think we obviously have similar babies and all I can say is she is now a complete joy, a very happy and content baby and excellent sleeper! It will come but maybe just accept that this is her way for now and just keep walking! Good luck.

weebump Thu 18-Jun-09 17:07:19

It sounds like you have worked very hard, and I understand how the books make it seem so easy when it isn't. If only the babies had read them too!

You are not failing, and no one thinks you're not good at being a mum. You've done really well so far to get breastfeeding going, and providing your lo with the best start possible. Well done, and keep it up.

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