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Postnatal health

5 week old baby - mental health is suffering

7 replies

Honeyhoney2 · 25/04/2022 17:04

My DD is 5 weeks old, and she is super fussy right now. I know this is all to be expected at her age and I’m really really trying to soak up the cuddles like people tell you to…but honestly I’m just touched out and stressed out. It was okay when DH was on paternity leave as we could share her and I could do even small things that make me feel like a human like having a shower or popping to the shops, but now he’s back in the office 9-5 Monday to Friday and I just feel so trapped and alone with my baby. I feed her, change her, and she sleeps on me on repeat all day. She wants to feed every hour and a half so by the time those things are done she’s ready for a feed again. I can’t put her down anywhere without her screaming and I’m still in too much pain from my emergency c section to wear the carrier as it pushes on my lower stomach. I feel like I don’t even have a moment to get myself together, brush my teeth, get changed, so often I stay in my pyjamas all day and don’t go out anywhere which makes it all feel even more isolating.

I’m so bad at this. I don’t feel a deep sense of nurturing, I really just dread the day alone with my baby knowing she’ll be crying all day unless feeding or sleeping on me, I’m barely eating anything and I just feel miserable. I love her loads, and I can’t believe I’m here wining about my beautiful newborn baby when we tried for her for years and almost lost her in delivery.

But there’s that too, I’m not over the delivery mentally at all. She came out not breathing and had to be resuscitated at birth and I think about it all day, every day. I replay the moment the room went completely silent and we were just left behind a blue screen feeling sick with anxiety and not knowing what was going on. I now watch her breathing like a hawk and am filled with anxiety when I’m home alone with her thinking something will go wrong and I won’t know what to do or I won’t catch it soon enough (which is probably why she’s so unsettled too). I know I probably need some therapy, but where do I find time to do that?

she sleeps okay at night in her crib for some reason, and things are much better when DH gets home at 5 and I can pass her to him and sort myself out a bit, so there’s that, but still. I pictured myself on long walks everyday, joining mum groups and soaking up every second of her, but mostly I just sit at home upset and alone and waiting for DH to get home.

I’m sorry for the ramble, I just need to get it out there. Am I an awful mum? Please tell me somebody else has felt this way… I am filled with guilt because I just want to be present for her. So often I just cry and hold her because I love her so much but I’m just finding this so, so difficult :(






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Lacedwithgrace · 25/04/2022 17:08

It is so normal and okay to feel like this.
Speak to your midwife/HV/GP whoever is caring for you postpartum. Ask to have a 'meet the matron' appointment where you can go over your hospital notes and experience giving birth, it might make you feel better to understand and have your feelings validated.

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Jimbo98 · 25/04/2022 17:31

What you are feeling is so normal when you have been through what you have.

It makes it so hard to go out when or even sit comfortably when you have had major surgery and it will take time for your body to recover. But it will do given time.

You need to be kind to yourself right now and be aware that there is no such thing as a 'perfect mother' and that we are all just muddling through as best we can under the conditions were in.

The first few weeks left me wondering whether I'd done the right thing and I was so completely low once my DH went back to work and I failed miserably at breast feeding with an infected episiotomy which meant I couldn't sit down.

Believe me when I say, it does pass. Things do get easier and babies get less fussy as the weeks and months go on.

It's a massive change to your way of life. It changes the household dynamic and it's a lot for a couple to come to terms with and find a new normal (especially when you have tried for a baby and you now feel like you do).

When you feel ready, go and join some baby groups as it's important when your not at work to have a structure to your week and to have other mums to talk to. 5 week is very early to be at groups so don't feel that you should be.

You also need to keep talking about how you feel. It takes the strain off when you share it.

And don't worry what your health visitor thinks. They see it with lots of mums and they can be very helpful.

Take your time, rest when you can, shower when you can and smell the rest of the time as it's one of the few times in your life that it's socially acceptable to!



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Honeyhoney2 · 25/04/2022 19:19

@Lacedwithgrace thank you - I didn’t know about the meet the matron appointment, I’ll bring that up with my HV as that would be so helpful to have!

@Jimbo98 thank you so much, that was so lovely and validating to read and I really really needed that today ❤️

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RedHerring24 · 25/04/2022 19:55

I could have written your post, minus the c-section bit.

I had a traumatic delivery. Baby was fine, me not so, and I had a very long drawn out recovery.

I felt exactly the same as you during the days. DH had alot of paternity leave which was great but I still felt like a failure and that I wasnt good enough.
My HV was awful and made me feel like a terrible mother because I couldnt breastfeed and my mental health declined.
I wasnt offered a birth debrief either but it may be helpful.

When DH went back to work (all be it from the kitchen table, locked away) I struggled.
I had hopes of going to baby groups and going for long walks every day but it hasnt happened 5 months down the line.
I feel like i was knocked so far back that ive lost my confidence with everything and I feel worried about leaving the house with DD alone.

However, despite feeling like this I can say things do get easier.
DD is now bottle fed 4 times a day. Breast feeding didnt last more than 4 months. I put way too much pressure on myself to get this right but finally accepted that i didnt have the supply and DD being fed was better than being unhappy.
She sleeps better now and were trying to get proper day time naps in at set times.
Were working on a routine and its getting there.
Shes now more engaging and has this little personality which is amazing.
She is absolutely my world.

Youre not a bad mum.
Its bloody hard. Nobody ever tells you how hard it is and youre never prepared.
But it does improve. The first few months were the hardest for me.
Just wait til you get that first little smile, all of the early worries and feelings will seem so distant.

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Honeyhoney2 · 27/04/2022 14:51

@RedHerring24 I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult recovery, I really wasn’t prepared for this newborn stage on top of how the birth and recovery would leave me feeling ❤️ You also shouldn’t have been made to feel like a failure from your HV, breastfeeding and all its challenges is another thing I was totally unprepared for.

I really relate to what you’re saying, before I would just pop out to the shops or for a walk but now I have to literally psych myself up all day and often I end up putting it off and not going, especially if DD is being fussy (even though these things calm her down).

I’m glad to hear it gets better and thank you so much for the words of encouragement ❤️

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UpToMyElbowsInDiapers · 27/04/2022 15:08

I always warn new mums about the period from 5-7 weeks. It’s the point where all of the adrenaline rush from your life-changing experience of giving birth has worn off (regardless of whether the birth experience was positive or negative… most mums still have a big rush of energy from the novelty of it all). By 5 weeks, the sleep deprivation has begun to accumulate, the help you may have received at first has for the most part retreated, it’s one of the baby’s all-time fussiest periods, and you don’t yet have a routine or feel in the least bit competent.

ALL THESE FEELINGS ARE NORMAL.

While I do think it would be great to get yourself on a wait list for therapy, that’s not going to be a good short-term fix. If you start ever having thoughts about harming yourself or the baby, then that’s an immediate call to the GP or trip to A&E. But if that isn’t an issue, then you need to do a few things:

  1. lower your expectations of what you’ll achieve in a day - this is for 2 weeks, not for 2 months. Housework and even hygiene to an extent can wait. Only do the amount that makes you feel good, don’t do the amount you feel you “should” do. 2) get yourself outside for at least 30 minutes every day - you don’t need to be going for long walks, you could just be sitting on your front steps. It will be good for your mood, your baby may settle, and at least crying doesn’t sound so loud outside ;-) 3) go for a walk or meet a friend for a short time WITHOUT THE BABY when DH gets home, a couple of times a week. Not for long (don’t sacrifice sleep!) but even 45 minutes makes a world of difference. 4) Wait. Wait Wait. You’re at the lowest low point in babyhood right now. You’re in the depths of the “fourth trimester”. Things will markedly improve over the next few weeks. 5) Be compassionate to yourself. If your friend told you about feelings like this, would you tell her she’s a shit mother? You absolutely would not, because deep down you know it’s not true. Feelings of ambivalence about newborns are 100% normal. You can love your child with all your heart AND wish you’d never had them AND look after them brilliantly AND have no f*ing clue what you’re doing. You are figuring this out, and you will be ok.
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UpToMyElbowsInDiapers · 27/04/2022 15:16

Honeyhoney2 · 27/04/2022 14:51

@RedHerring24 I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult recovery, I really wasn’t prepared for this newborn stage on top of how the birth and recovery would leave me feeling ❤️ You also shouldn’t have been made to feel like a failure from your HV, breastfeeding and all its challenges is another thing I was totally unprepared for.

I really relate to what you’re saying, before I would just pop out to the shops or for a walk but now I have to literally psych myself up all day and often I end up putting it off and not going, especially if DD is being fussy (even though these things calm her down).

I’m glad to hear it gets better and thank you so much for the words of encouragement ❤️

One other suggestion, re: getting out… take it or leave it because it’s not for everyone…

In the depths of the newborn stage with my 3DCs, sometimes when my DH got home at the end of the day I would eat, shower, get dressed in comfortable but presentable clothes, put on some eye-liner, and then go to bed fully dressed and ready to go out. That way in the morning after a night of feeding, I could roll out of bed, brush my hair, rinse out my mouth (too much effort to brush my teeth!), slip on some flat shoes with no laces (too much effort with laces!), plop the baby in the stroller, and head out the door, no prep required.

I would go buy some broccoli at the corner store, or meet a friend for coffee, or just call out greetings to elderly neighbours as I did a loop around our area. I’d come home around 9 or 10, and even if I’d achieved nothing, objectively, I felt SO accomplished at having got out, and the fresh air first thing worked wonders for my mood. I would feel like I didn’t need to accomplish anything else for the day and it was really freeing.

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