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Is it worth it?

(13 Posts)
StepfauxWife Thu 06-Feb-14 13:44:27

I've been lurking on here for a while. Am a mother to a lovely 7 month old DD. She is a bright healthy little thing most of the time but prone to screaming fits when overtired. She catnaps all day and has taken to waking three/four times in the night when before it was a more manageable once or twice. I'm currently sat in a dark room with her in a sling with ear plugs in and Ewan the Dream Sheep balancing on her head. Just so we can both get a bit of a break.

I love my DD and can't really imagine life without her. I love watching her grow, I love how incredible my DH is with her and it's lovely to see the joy she has brought everyone.

But.

The early weeks were pure hell. I've not had an unbroken night's sleep since she was born, I can't remember the last time I finished a cup of tea. I hate my post-baby body, my skin is awful, all I talk about is the baby. I'm getting a little bored with the monotony - soft play to coffee with other mums that I barely know to home, repeat ad nauseum... I had a great but demanding job before baby, I miss my (non-baby related) friends and I'm terrified of how I'm going to juggle everything when I go back to work.

Does anyone else ever feel like this? Am I just not cut out to be a mother? Will I ever really relax again? I just don't understand why people put themselves through this more than once!

Please tell me it gets better. And please be gentle - it has taken a lot to admit this to myself let alone write it down.

Pigeonhouse Thu 06-Feb-14 13:58:50

It gets much better, OP. Don't beat yourself up - I felt exactly the same at the 6/7 month stage. I think it's a combination of prolonged sleep deprivation and the worry of a newborn taking its toll, and the fact that its a frustrating developmental stage for the child, too - lots of desire to move around, but they can't yet.

My son is 22 months now, and I can honestly say that the bit you're in now was much the hardest. When they start being able to sit up/crawl/move around independently/walk and talk, it all becomes much more fun and interactive, as you see their personalities emerge, and you can do far more with them, and they can communicate their needs, so you're not second-guessing a fit of screaming.

I sit around admiring my stroppy, charming, livewire of a toddler these days, as if he was the Messiah. This time last year, we were newly living in a small village in snowy weather, I was on extended mat. leave, he wouldn't nap and I couldn't take him out anywhere (non-driver and too cold to be outdoors with a non-walker), and it just felt very lonely and strange. Now he adores his childminder, is ferociously sociable and great fun to be around, has a huge vocabulary and is a decided personality.

Don't give it. This too will pass! (Having said that, I'm not planning to have another child...)

Pigeonhouse Thu 06-Feb-14 13:59:52

Don't give up, that should say...

anklebitersmum Thu 06-Feb-14 14:26:34

Hi Stepfauxwife.

Everyone feels like this from time to time. I have had four, so trust me, I've had my share of 'darker moments' and can more than sympathise with the 'repeat ad nauseum' you describe.

Your post sounds to me like you desperately need a little 'me time'. Even just a few hours a week out of the house can make a huge mental difference, be it window shopping, going to the gym, swimming, a weekend lunch with friends or whatever floats your personal boat.

May I also humbly suggest making the daytimes bright and busy? Thus reducing the potential for random cat-napping and increasing the liklihood of a half decent nights sleep for both you and DD.

Most of all take the time to talk honestly to DH and explain how you're feeling. (Or just let him read your post if it's easier).

It sounds trite but a happy, relaxed Mum really does make for a happier, more relaxed baby. flowers brew

nibbysmum Thu 06-Feb-14 14:41:48

Got to say I feel like that and my lo is 4 months. I guess for me and I don't know if you feel same..I'm not really me anymore. ALL my days feel to be devoted to my son. If not my son, my partner. He's great btw but I feel more comfortable if I'm the one who's needs come last. My son is gorgeous and I mean he bowls me over but free time? I get an hour on an evening iF I don't go to bed shattered. Would i trade? No never .. God knows how I'd actually fill all that time but like you I'd love to finish a cup of tea, surf the Internet. Hell I'd rather like to go to work a day a week tbh (not worth it as I'd get less than maternity pay). I feel guilty too but I think it's totally normal to crave time to yourself...and a full nights sleep!!!

StepfauxWife Thu 06-Feb-14 16:51:28

Thanks for your replies. Anklebitersmum you are so right about needing some "me" time - I've had one afternoon off since DD was born.

I'm going to rejoin the gym and have a bit of time off every weekend.

I try and keep busy during the week. There's plenty to do around here and I'm The sleep deprivation is torture!

StepfauxWife Thu 06-Feb-14 16:57:25

Oops hadn't finished. Meant to say that there's plenty to do around here and I make sure I get out at least once a day.

I suppose the relentlessness is getting to me.

waterrat Thu 06-Feb-14 18:12:45

Toddlers are amazing and funny - babies are sweet but hard work and frankly life looking after them is not rewarding

Once your child can walk - and when they start to talk - it is amazing

Hang on on there. X

violator Thu 06-Feb-14 19:46:06

I did not enjoy the baby stage. I did have PND, but even after I'd recovered I was miserable at home.
The day I went back to work I was like a different person, I felt like 'me' again. I am most definitely not cut out to be a SAHM, although I persisted for two years with it!

My son is 2.5 now and I love spending time with him, he is a joy. He is hilarious, he makes us laugh every day. Give me a 2 year old over a baby any day.
Lack of sleep is brutal, really brutal. We did some sleep training with DS when he was 7-8 months old and it made life immeasurably better for all of us, he sleeps well and is in great form during the day, we sleep well and are therefore happier, healthier and enjoy this time with him.

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Feb-14 19:52:03

Yes it gets better. Mine were dreadful sleepers but partly down to reflux. If she's getting over tired I'd suggest getting a routine whereby you get her napping before the overtired window and do it by getting out and about eg walking her in a sling.

Will she nap in a pushchair? Sitting upright, wrapped up very warm (except when you go into the shops), she might sleep? That was a revelation for me once mine did it and I felt so much better not having to carry them in a sling or stay in a dark room for naps!!

With my first, the idea of trying naps in the pushchair seemed too daunting, as did a routine as did naps in the cot. With my second I had to (as also had a toddler) and actually it was fine.

BotBotticelli Sat 08-Feb-14 21:31:10

There's nothing wrong with you OP: 7mo old babies are relentless hard work!! I felt much better once I went back to work at 12mo...some time to myself, reading on the train, using my brain in my job etc was just what I needed.

Is there a crèche at your gym? Often council run gyms have crèches where you can leave a baby for an hour whilst you have a swim/cuppa in the cafe. And it's dead cheap to. You could make this part of your weekly routine once or twice a week and it might make all the difference?

BotBotticelli Sat 08-Feb-14 21:35:41

Ps regarding the sleep, some babies just are catnapper a at that age: at 6-7mo my DS was having a 30-40 minute sleep every 2 hours during the day.

He only settled into havig fewer, longer naps when he was about 8mo and he did it of his own accord. He still never really naps for longer than 1hr20mins though...not all babies do the 'Gina Ford 2 hour nap after lunch' thing unfortunately.

You say your LO is waking a lot at night at the moment...have you considered the followig:

- teething? Try a shot of calpol or baby nurofen when baby wakes in case she is in pain.

- hungry? How is weaning going? Try offering something hearty and filling at dinner time in the evening (maybe porridge??)

StepfauxWife Sat 15-Feb-14 11:29:22

Thanks very much for your responses.

The nights have got a lot better (a tooth has popped through so that May have been the culprit) but the daytime are still a disaster. I wouldn't mind her catnapping if she was happy in between but she just cries and cries. She only catnaps in the pram too. The only place she sleeps is the sling, which is fine but it means I don't get a rest.

It's really getting me down. I'm just fraught all the time, dreading the next nap time in case it's a disaster which it inevitably is.

I can see a little personality forming and she really is the most wonderful inquisitive child when she is on form. But I'm getting more and more tempted to go back to work so the daytimes are someone else's problem. sad

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