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I thought it would be easier by now. I am still struggling!

(12 Posts)
emmyloo2 Mon 06-Jun-11 07:17:25

Hello,
I have a 6.5 month old DS. I am just having one of those days I guess where I am wondering what I have done to my life. I really struggled with the first few months of his life. I found the lack of control very difficult and was very anxious about everything. My husband was overseas at the time and while I was living with my parents, I was still essentially being a solo parent.

I am now back at work full time, my husband is back home and we have plenty of family help, yet I still find it difficult. I get anxious at night that he is going to have trouble sleeping or that he will wake up in the night and we won't be able to get him back to sleep. My anxiety then keeps me up at night and that makes it even worse. My husband doesn't have any issues at all. He thinks it's all wonderful and he doesn't really stress about things at all.

I guess I just don't understand why I get so wound up and anxious about the whole parenting thing. My stomach is in knots now thinking about coping tonight because my husband is away for the week and so I am looking after the baby by myself, although my Mum has come to stay.

I sometimes wonder whether it's my hormones playing havoc with me as well because I often have days like today where I am very tearful and don't feel like I can cope. This is usually on days when I am home (today is a public holiday) whereas during the week when I am at work, I cope very well.

Does anyone else find motherhood this hard? Other people seem to breeze through it, yet I find myself a bundle of nerves!

Thanks

Emma

Makinglists Mon 06-Jun-11 07:27:57

My thoughts are with you I found the whole first year with DS1 a real struggle even though I have a supportive and around DH - I remember probably being at my lowest at about 6mths. The whole sleep/feeding thing you to stress me up so much (partly because I was terrified that DS1 wouldn't sleep - when we knew he could and I can't function without sleep - to me its more imp than food!). Things that used to help me we're getting out and meeting other mums and realising I was not the only one stressed and also being around mums that we're quite chilled out - I had a friend who took most things in her stride and being around her used to chill me out. It does get better - honest - I don't know if its helpful or not but for me about a year was the real turning point. Have DS2 now and he's 7mths and can say that this time though I do have my stress moments its been a whole lot more relaxed.

Good luck and all the best.

juneau Mon 06-Jun-11 07:31:23

I think it's normal to have a certain level of anxiety with your first child - I know I did. I just had my second four weeks ago and I'm delighted to be able to say that I really am not anxious this time and it makes sleeping and just being relaxed around my LO so much easier.

You sound like you could be depressed or suffering from something more than just normal new parent anxiety, however, and I would really urge you to go and talk to your doctor or health visitor as a matter of urgency. Have you been assessed for PND? It can strike anything up to a year after a baby is born, so you're still well within that window. It must have been really hard coping without your DH for long periods of time and I'm sure this has made your anxiety worse, but please talk to a professional and see if you can get some help. You don't have to feel this way, although wondering what you've done to your life is, IME, part and parcel of adapting to parenthood. My DS1 is 3.5 years old now and I still miss my old, child-free life at times. It was just so much easier ...

Besom Mon 06-Jun-11 07:38:20

Hi Emma, sorry you're going through this.

Yes, I did find it extremely hard when dd was the same age as your ds and I also thought I had made a terrible mistake. I thought I was a crap mother and I felt completely trapped tbh. Many, many people find it very hard and don't be fooled by people seeming to breeze through. Some people do, but most don't and people struggle with it at different times. You just have to spend a bit of time reading MN to see what a difficult job it can be.

I don't feel at all like that now - now I love being a mum and life is good, so don't despair it will get better.

However, I wonder if you need to seek some sort of support for your anxiety from the HV or the GP? It sounds as if it's really getting to you and affecting you really quite significantly. You need to find some way to cope with it and there is no shame in looking for outside support to do this. Also maybe you should get checked out for hormonal problems as well if you think this could be the cause. Have you thought about doing this?

emmyloo2 Mon 06-Jun-11 07:45:19

Thanks for the responses. I don't think I am suffering from PND although I think I was pretty close to be honest, during those first few months. I think it's really a result of my personality. I am a very driven, A-type personality and I do suffer from anxiety about sleep and not getting enough sleep and coping with work the next day. I used to suffer the same type of anxiety when I worked in a very stressful job with long hours.

I guess I really just thought by 6.5 months it would be easier. But it's not. It really is so hard and so exhausting. And I only have to do it full-time 2 days a week because I get to escape to work from 9am until 5pm Mon-Fri. I never thought work would be an escape but it really is so much easier than staying home looking after my son.

I should note that my husband is truly wonderful and my Mum is also great. So this makes me wonder why I still find it hard even with this support. Others must have it so much harder than me.

Why didn't I ever listen when people told me how hard it would be??? smile

Makinglists Mon 06-Jun-11 09:59:01

Don't be hard on yourself being a parent is exhausting - its probably an over used phrase but it does get easier - honest. It dosen't happen overnight but it does happen every so often you stop and look back and things that were stressful a month or two ago will have gone. First time round I loved going back to work - for a start you have the potential for lunch breaks - even if for only 10mins or so and even the commute can be a bit of me time so don't be hard on yourself for finding work an escape. I think you can also grieve (if thats the right word) for your child free life - the days when you can just pop out the house without it being a major operation - for me it took a long time to adjust but you do eventually. Be kind to yourself you will be doing a great job as a parent

chocolatecrispies Mon 06-Jun-11 12:55:45

I felt similarly for about the first 18 months! And I think lots of people do. I'm reading a book at the moment called 'What Mothers Do' by Naomi Stadlen which talks a lot about feelings like this - it's based on discussions she has had with mothers in mother and baby groups. I'm finding it really useful, really normalising, particularly about the shock that becoming a mother is and how long it takes to get over that and to accept the new life you have now. You are not alone, nor are you unusual - and you probably haven't got PND although that is a possibility.

WinkyWinkola Mon 06-Jun-11 13:02:04

Emmyloo, it is harder than anyone can tell you. Especially that first year. You've made a MASSIVE adjustment and, yes, you have to get used to relinquishing control.

I remember thinking around the same 6 month mark if the anxiety knot would ever leave me - various issues all linked with baby - and it did. Slowly, slowly, your confidence emerges and soothes that anxiety.

It's a very gradual process as becoming used to the role of parent is a big task.

Other people do breeze through it. Others only seem to breeze through. And others like you are very honest, hold up your hand and say, "It's not that easy, is it?"

Take your time and be kind to yourself. It's not a good feeling, being anxious all the time. I remember it well and you have my every sympathy. But take heart, you love your baby, you hug your baby, you give him everything a parent can give - you're doing a good job. It will be ok.

I think if you worry about the baby waking up, then what's the worst that can happen? You all have a terrible night's sleep and you feel bad at work. That's not good but it's not catastrophic (unless you're a brain surgeon) and you have an early night the next night to compensate. If you can.

WinkyWinkola Mon 06-Jun-11 13:02:45

And I think all new parents should be forced to read What Mother's Do by Stadlen. It's a brilliant book. So comforting.

Tgger Mon 06-Jun-11 13:28:41

First year is REALLY HARD. I think we think that after those first 6 weeks of chaos that a newborn brings that it's supposed to be easy sailing.

IT's NOT!!!! First year is REALLY REALLY HARD......... this is normal.

Then, you're back at work too- that's great, but adds a layer of complication.

Hang in there. Get all the support you can, it will get easier- a year and then 18 months, then 2... much easier....

Try to grab a bit of time for something like seeing a friend/going swimming BY YOURSELF. This makes the world of difference- try to do it every week or every 2 or every month. Organise it now, even if you don't feel like it! Promise you it will help!

emmyloo2 Tue 07-Jun-11 08:10:58

Thank you everybody for your responses. It really does help to hear that it will get better. I keep hoping that it will. I guess I just thought by almost 7 months I would be coping perfectly well and he would be less demanding. I know, it's ridiculous right? I imagine he will be demanding for the next 30 years!

I am going to buy that book.

Today I am back at work and feeling more positive. Last night was hard but I got through it and he slept perfectly.

I do wonder though if I knew how hard it would be, whether I would have had a baby? Is that a terrible thing to say? I love him with a ferocity I didn't know was possible, but I really am glad I didn't comprehend the sheer relentless of it all because I don't think I would have signed up for this baby business!

And Tgger - good suggestion on taking time out. I do go for a run or to the gym most mornings before he wakes up and this is my time. I really don't do much else for myself but I am very very conscious of making sure I do my morning exercise!

Mondaybaby Tue 07-Jun-11 10:22:12

I second the advice to read 'What Mothers Do'. It made me feel sane in the early weeks with my dd when things felt absolutely crazy.
My dd is not 9 months and things feel slightly easier than at 6 months as she can sit well and play by herself for longer and naps more reliably at home.
Yes, it is hard and relentless and demanding and no one can ever understand what it is like to be a parent to a baby unless they have done it.

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