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Not adjusting to motherhood

(42 Posts)
She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 20:42:55

had my first baby this year. She is 7 months. I have delayed having children (I'm 35 but married 7 years) because I was terrified of being a mum. The thought of never having any time to myself again, feeling down when I've another wee person to care for. Unfortunately it's all came true. I love my daughter so much but most days I just feel sad and anxious. The days seem so long. I'm trying to do the best I can but my life now has changed forever and I'm struggling. Not having any time to myself. I sit terrified while she sleeps just waiting for her to wake, praying I can cope when she does hoping I'll know what she wants and how to do it. My husband works days and I watch the clock waiting for him to come home. If he's delayed or has other things on I go into sheer panic mode. He's been great and does more than his fair share but still I feel I'm failing and almost like I'm babysitting until he can take her and do it right. The thought that I will not ever adjust and continue to feel like this is scares me so much. All I want is to be a good mummy and to relax and enjoy my beautiful daughter. I hope someday soon I can.

LuchiMangsho Tue 12-Dec-17 20:50:29

What's your routine like? My son is 8 months (and my older one is 6) and we are on the go a lot. Wake up, have breakfast, play on the mat while I do chores, morning nap, wake up and milk, off for a class or an activity, back home for lunch, nap, and then we have the school run (or play on the mat), dinner, and bed/bath/milk/stories not long after. Don't feel you have to engage with her all the time. I leave him on the mat and get on with it. They will whinge but will soon learn to play independently.
Also, how is her sleep? When she is asleep at night you can get some semblance of your life back. Or on weekends when your other half is there.

MayFayner Tue 12-Dec-17 20:52:43

Sorry to hear you're feeling this way. The first few months are so lonely and isolating, I found. Have you got any friends with babies?

SilverLinings2014 Tue 12-Dec-17 20:57:01

It is the biggest adjustment you will ever have to make. And as babies change so rapidly it feels like a constant state of flux. Don’t beat yourself up for not feeling like you have it nailed, you don’t need to. Just remember it won’t be like this forever. There will be better periods and less good periods where they are very intense/clingy, but it will get better.
Ageee with pp too, don’t pressure yourself to interact and play all the time. As long as she’s comfortable (warm enough, fed etc) it’s done to let her just play on her mat or whatever whilst you sit and have a cuppa.

SilverLinings2014 Tue 12-Dec-17 20:57:19

It is the biggest adjustment you will ever have to make. And as babies change so rapidly it feels like a constant state of flux. Don’t beat yourself up for not feeling like you have it nailed, you don’t need to. Just remember it won’t be like this forever. There will be better periods and less good periods where they are very intense/clingy, but it will get better.
Ageee with pp too, don’t pressure yourself to interact and play all the time. As long as she’s comfortable (warm enough, fed etc) it’s done to let her just play on her mat or whatever whilst you sit and have a cuppa.

Codlet Tue 12-Dec-17 20:57:26

Having a baby is a huge change and can be scary, but the bit about being terrified she’ll wake doesn’t sound good. Is it possible you are suffering from PND?

Are you planning to go back to work? Some of us aren’t cut out to be SAHPs. You might find that’s a way of regaining confidence and feeling less alone.

MortalEnemy Tue 12-Dec-17 20:57:34

I loathed every second of the small baby stage, and genuinely felt I had wrecked my life. What made me much happier was (1) returning to work and rediscovering my unchanged professional self and (2) just DD getting older, less immediately dependent, and far more interesting than a baby. Babies seemed to me to have three modes — happy, irate and unconscious, and to switch between for largely mysterious reasons..

The days feel long for you at the moment because they are long, and it’s a bit grim being the 34/7 handmaiden to a volatile small person. Things will get better anyway, as your baby grows, but for me returning to work ASAP was key.

woofmiaowwoof Tue 12-Dec-17 21:01:01

Have you got a list of things in your area? Our local library runs a baby session, there are a few nice playgroups - I found it helped to get out although it took me ages to realise my mh was better when I was out.

Do you have a job to return to? I couldn’t be a SAHP, I would’ve found it too lonely with under 3s, although one they start taking a lot j found it easier.

Be kind - it IS a huge adjustment and a massive lifestyle change. What time to yourself are you getting? I used to love going out on my own a couple of times a week to feel free for a bit - everyone needs it!

LuchiMangsho Tue 12-Dec-17 21:02:23

Yes also I loathed the small baby stage and went back to work gleefully. This time around I know how quickly it all goes so while I am still bored I have tried to savour it more.

KaliforniaDreamz Tue 12-Dec-17 21:03:20

Is there anyway you can return to work part time?
full time motherhood is not for everyone.
and there is nothing wrong in that xxxx

MortalEnemy Tue 12-Dec-17 21:03:33

Just noticed my own typo. I meant ‘24/7 handmaiden to a volatile small person’, but when I was on maternity leave, the days easily felt 37 hours long. grin

woofmiaowwoof Tue 12-Dec-17 21:05:01

You can also post on mumsnet local for meet ups - there’s an app for parent meet ups in your areas too, meet a mum on Facebook. Making friends helped me a lot. I remember hearing another mum saying she was scared to hold her baby for the first weeks in case she did something wrong and it was a lightbulb moment to hear a normal looking competent person saying that as I’d had those feelings too.

She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 21:06:38

She still wakes in the night for a feed and can be restless throughout but my husband now deals with this as I also have epilepsy and was having fits again due to lack of sleep. So I'm lucky I do get a decent sleep. She is up at 6.00. I give her a bottle, we play for an hour or so then I put her back for nap, usually 20 mins. I get breakfast, quite tidy up. Then most days I try and get out somewhere to put the day in. But I just have this constant feeling on being on edge. Like I don't know how to interact with her. I look at other mums with their babies and they look so comfortable and competent while I feel like an imposter! My mum is good and loves having her but she tires easy then I just feel guilty that I've worn her out. I've spoken to my doctor and she thinks I should return to work! I would be paying for childcare and would feel I've had no quality time with my wee one. I'm just so confused though as to what to do.

She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 21:08:52

Thank you all so much. This is my first post. Your support and kind words mean a lot xx

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 12-Dec-17 21:09:10

Would you be able to work part time?

She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 21:14:27

I will have to chat to my employers but I should be able to return on reduced hours. Just don't like to think that I'm ditching her cause I can't do it but the reality is I can't!! I don't want to make myself ill either. So maybe I just need to do what's best for my mental health. Surely a happy mum who works is better than a sad sham?

woofmiaowwoof Tue 12-Dec-17 21:16:23

Yes part time work is ideal. I found it gradually got easier - I remember being terrified of weaning, terrified dd would choke, scared of every new illness, scared of trips, bumps and accidents but that receded gradually month by month. If the worry is anxiety that you’ll do something wrong, it does lessen as they get more robust and independent before your eyes.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 12-Dec-17 21:18:30

Yes, definitely! No one is giving your partner a hard time for returning to work so you shouldn't give yourself a hard time either. My two both went to nursery at around 12 months and had/have a great time there.

MortalEnemy Tue 12-Dec-17 21:20:29

It sounds utterly familiar, OP. For some people maternity leave is blissful, but I remember mine with horror for all the reasons you give — isolation, anxiety, boredom, worry about whether having had a baby was a mistake I could never rectify. To me that’s a quite rational response to exhaustion, loneliness but no solitude/independence, a major change, and endless time alone with someone non-verbal you haven’t necessarily yet bonded with.

Does the idea of returning to work appeal? Forget maternal guilt and childcare costs for a second. What do you actually want?

She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 21:23:20

Yeah I think that's what I need to do then. Actually feel so much better for writing this down and getting it off my chest lol. I'm surprised the worlds so populated!!! This shit is hard 😬

inthekitchensink Tue 12-Dec-17 21:24:03

I felt exactly the same and it’s a hellishly hard place to be. The guilt can be overwhelming but once you’re getting more sleep you will enjoy it more. It gets easier, and you DO get used to it, you will get used to your new life. Give it time, be kind to yourself and your family, embrace being good enough and don’t push to be your best. Ask for help, get rest when and where you can, scoot off for a night on your own if you can to sleep and rest. See your GP for the questionnaire on anxiety and PND and remember those can be helped and managed. Book times away to see friends in the next six months. Book a few hours to yourself. It passes and suddenly you’re not mourning your old life anymore - you’re sleeping, eating better, getting exercise and more time to yourself. But it’s a fucker of a life change at the start, and you’re very much at the start, breathe and let it all happen one day at a time. It goes get easier, especially if you can ask for help when you need.

MazDazzle Tue 12-Dec-17 21:30:27

I feel the same as you, and I’m on baby number 3!

The baby/toddler stage is just not for me. I much prefer it when they’re little people I can have a conversation with. Babies are exhausting and boring. Some people enjoy this stage, some don’t. Don’t feel bad.

Could you afford to put your baby to a childminder so you could have some guilt free/no strings time to yourself?

BifsWif Tue 12-Dec-17 21:30:31

Found myself nodding along to everythingMortalEnemy has written. I hated the baby stage, nothing can prepare you for how hard and lonely it can be.

Going back to work saved me, and it’s much more fun and a whole lot easier now that my youngest is a toddler.

She77y Tue 12-Dec-17 21:30:45

Yes I enjoyed my work. I have friends there and feel like I'm doing something of value which I'm good at. Since becoming a mum I've totally lost my identity! It's all about the baby. I miss adult company and conversation 😢 in my work all the other mums seem to stay off a year on average before returning! I'm thinking why am I different.

WarmestRegards Tue 12-Dec-17 21:31:54

Hi OP, I felt exactly the same as you. Maternity leave was not the hazey blissful experience I imagined! It was long long days of a 50/50 mix of really bloody hard work and sheer boredom.

For me, going back to work was the turning point- I could be me again. Also, just DS getting older. The baby stage was not my favourite but he is really great fun now and I have a good balance of being a mum and being me.

Hang in there. It’s ok to feel how you feel, but it will get better I promise.

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