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Postnatal health

Is it normal to miss my pre-baby life this much?

26 replies

Jade2022 · 24/10/2022 08:59

I’m just wondering if how I’m feeling is a normal phase for a FTM….

My LO is coming up to 9mo & she was very much planned. It took me a while to bond but by about 3-4mo I felt I really loved her & was enjoying my mat leave. We still go to baby classes most days & swimming every week, however as time goes on I find myself grieving my pre-baby life more & more. I’ve started to really resent LO for taking away my ‘freedom’ & I feel absolutely awful for saying this but I’ve recently started thinking if I could go back in time I would never have had her.

I do have a lot of support & my MIL has started having her once a week ready for when I go back to work. I find as pick up time approaches, rather than looking forward to seeing her I start to dread it. I feel like I’m enjoying spending time with her less & less and do everything I can to avoid it. This is starting to cause arguments with my OH as I’m always in such a bad mood.

I really hate feeling like this & wish I could go back to enjoying my time with her. Has anyone else been through a phase like this? How can I help myself?

OP posts:
Cornishmumofone · 24/10/2022 09:37

I know exactly how you feel. DD is nearly 6 and I still miss my old life. It's getting better now that she sleeps through and can hold a conversation, but I'm still wishing my life away.

Brieeeeeeeee · 24/10/2022 09:43

I think this is very normal and because it’s seen as taboo to talk about it, no one does! The narrative is always about how much children change your life for the better, give your life meaning, etc. Those of us who had a lovely life before children, and miss it very much, don’t get much sympathy - it’s a thought experiment of course, but still helps to talk it out if you can, with an understanding friend or maybe even a counsellor?

You may feel a lot better when you return to work - I did. Also make full use of the support you have, especially babysitters or an extra pair of hands.

RandomMusings7 · 24/10/2022 09:49

Your feeling are entirely valid. It's taboo to admit it, but i'd wager a significant percentage of mothers feel that way. Parenthood I'd massively oversold to women by society and it's ok to realise it's really not all that it's cracked out to be.

RandomMusings7 · 24/10/2022 09:50

Parenthood is*

Anneofwindypoplars · 24/10/2022 09:58

I did feel like this, but it did get better. The things that made a huge difference were going back to work - it’s not for everyone but I did find a few days a week where I didn’t have DS on me helped. Plus I am a teacher so I get a bit of downtime in school holidays.

I also found DS sleeping through and having a predictable nap in the middle of the day helped. He goes to bed around 7 and sleeps around 12-2 so I get ‘me time’ then.

Unlike some replies above I don’t regret DS. I wouldn’t change a thing. But it’s full on at this age. I’ll be honest here and admit I don’t have the most supportive partner: he isn’t the worst, he is simply a bit useless in some ways (as indeed I am.) But it gets easier and although there have been new challenges along the way as I’ve got more confident in my parenting I feel better placed to deal with them.

Above all be kind to yourself. That does mean it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes.

Haggisfish3 · 24/10/2022 10:05

I also went back to work and enjoyed dd more as a result!

RedAppleTree · 24/10/2022 10:13

It's completely normal to really miss your old life, interesting that no one warns you about that feeling though. It does pass and someone wrote somewhere that it can take three years to make the transition from 'maiden to mother' (not my words) but true for a lot of us.

MolliciousIntent · 24/10/2022 10:21

I think this is particularly true of people who let motherhood subsume their entire existence. I didn't really miss my pre baby life because not much really changed, I just took the baby with me to the things I used to do.

The modern trend of baby classes and strict routines sets the scene for mummy martyrs and it's miserable. Reclaim your life a bit!

Anneofwindypoplars · 24/10/2022 10:22

You can do that up to a point with babies as they are portable but you really can’t with toddlers - and by nine months most babies are starting to edge that way.

If you don’t like baby classes, don’t do them, but many people do like them, so do them.

Toloveandtowork · 24/10/2022 10:25

Mine are 16 and 11. Pre-kids life was better, more enjoyable, more varied and involved having a sense of self and personal ambition.
Now I've been on kid's timetable for years, supporting and facilitating their lives in so many ways that I've become submerged in it.
Trying to find my way out though. Motherhood can be oppressive to individuality. You have to work at keeping yourself going as a person in your own right.

Hungrycaterpillarsmummy · 24/10/2022 10:29

Me and DH wondered if other parents didn't tell us just how shit it was to pass on the same misery to us!

It is such hard work, I definitely miss my old life.. I guess I'm just waiting for them to get older and we can do some stuff on our own again . My 3 yr old won't sleep over at his grandparents or anything

TomDonaldson · 24/10/2022 10:30

My kids are older now and I love them dearly. I have thought quite a lot about if I was to go back in time knowing what I know now.

Honestly I'm not sure i would have any children. Having them has cost me a lot in physical and mental health (I had PND which got better but I am not the same person I was and I developed health issues which are directly related to the fact that I had kids). Also my relationship really suffered. We're OK now but were better before.

However as there is no time machine I make the best of it and try not to dwell because I can't go back.

I think it would be better if we could discuss these things more openly. Knowing others might sometimes feel the same way would really help me not to feel like a monster.
I name changed for this because I'm scared what people will think of me.

Hungrycaterpillarsmummy · 24/10/2022 10:30

Also op it sounds like you're doing a lot of baby classes....don't do that if you don't want to!

MolliciousIntent · 24/10/2022 10:30

You can do that up to a point with babies as they are portable but you really can’t with toddlers - and by nine months most babies are starting to edge that way.

you can, you just need to practice it and be flexible. We take our littles to festivals, out to eat, to exhibitions, abroad etc, and we prioritise a babysitting budget so we can still have time just adults. It's a mindset thing - if you believe that kids ended your life, you're much more likely to feel miserable about it.

Anneofwindypoplars · 24/10/2022 10:35

Even in my darkest days I’ve never felt that DS ended my life, @MolliciousIntent .

But yes you can do all of those things, should you wish.

However, for me, what I found hard at one point wasn’t related so much to what I wanted to do - there are usually ways around that if you have a burning desire to do something. I missed the slobby days of sitting around doing not much. Two year olds aren’t conducive to this!

Cherrytree77 · 24/10/2022 10:48

I really struggled with maternity leave but it felt taboo to say 'Babies are actually quite boring'. I would wake up and dread the long 12 hours ahead of me.

Going back to work was a game changer and now DD is a toddler I cannot wait to get home and have fun with her at the weekend.

I also found as she got older I was more comfortable going out and spending time on myself - meeting friends for drinks, getting my nails done or having a swim.

Its so so so important to still have time for yourself as you and not you -the mother.

MoreTeaLessCoffee · 24/10/2022 10:48

What is your friendship support like? Several of my friends are childfree, some by choice some not. I am lucky that they have accommodated my child on daytime meet ups and I have made an effort to attend things childfree when it's been Adults-only. I actually think it's not ideal for my child as she is often having to socialise with adults - she doesn't seem to mind yet but I am not sure how long that will last (she's 4). But maintaining those friendships that predated me being a mother and are not all about my child has been important to me.

I agree with an earlier comment about trying to avoid being subsumed by motherhood. I try to take my daughter to things we can both get something out of - I'll go to the woods, the zoo or a museum rather than soft play or a play date 9 times out of 10. Of course it's not the same as going back in time but it does make the hard days easier. Again as she gets older she might start to resist this but equally she is also becoming a bit more independent.

CookPassBabtridge · 24/10/2022 10:59

I've never felt as extremely as you but I do get it. I was a SAHM for years and lost myself, yes it's tedious.. like groundhog day with iggle piggle as the soundtrack.. But life as a mum is amazing now because:
-They are 5 and 8 (the ages have been easier since 3 and 6)

  • I work in a job I love
  • And a bit of an extreme solution but me and ex split and do 50/50 so we both can time to be a non parent, not responsible for anyone.. and it makes us better parents as we miss them and spend MORE time with them than before we split.

Going back to work and having some non mum identity will really help you.
Jade2022 · 24/10/2022 11:10

Thank you for all your messages, it’s made me feel a bit more normal! It’s definitely so taboo to mention anything like this that you do feel alone in how you’re feeling.

I go back to work after Christmas so hopefully that will help by the sound of things.

@Anneofwindypoplars hit the nail on the head, it’s more just being able to have a bit of time to myself in the morning to get ready or eat lunch in peace which I really miss. LO has recently started crawling & is going through a sleep regression which has just made things so much tougher!

My main reason for going to baby classes is I drive myself crazy if I’m stuck in all day!! I think though a lot of you have a point about maybe not letting motherhood subsume me so much so I’m going to try other things instead.

OP posts:
Goldi321 · 24/10/2022 11:30

Yes OP I feel exactly the same. My baby is 8 months and has been waking every 2 hours for months now and I am struggling to enjoy her any more especially now the dark weather is approaching at least in summer we could just get out and about.

Why does no one tell you how shit it is? I haven’t eaten a meal in peace in 8 months, even when she is asleep she will suddenly wake up screaming at the worst times. She sleeps maybe 30 minutes max x2 times a day so all these lovely 2 hour naps other mums get are not a thing for us.

I can’t get anything done without her whining at me. All I’m asking to do is put the washing on or unload the dishwasher, I’m not trying to paint my nails or have a bath or something equally selfish and luxurious.

I struggle carrying a tiny mute around with me, I try to chat but often I forget as it doesn’t come naturally to me. We go to swimming class (what a fucking faff), baby classes but to be honest she could not give a shiny shite about whether she is there or not. She just sits sucking her thumb in silence.

I struggled last night as she was awake crying for 2 hours. She just wanted to suck on my boob but not actually feed which I hate.

I don’t think I could admit it to anyone in real life but I really do wonder why I did this many times a day.

CookPassBabtridge · 24/10/2022 12:27

It will get better ♥️ Just try and carve some time for yourself, leave baby with partner or family member, go out and have a coffee by yourself. For your sanity.
When mine were babies, once a month I used to take myself to cinema alone, have a meal beforehand alone, and it was heaven. Or I'd go for a walk alone. The years where you don't sleep properly and are so needed are so hard.

laurenGame · 24/10/2022 13:08

Mine is 17 weeks. Honestly, I switched to formula feed pretty quickly, and sleep trained my baby, so he goes down at 6.30pm and my evenings are free. Husband and I enjoy dinners, and relax in bed or watch a movie.

I'm free to enjoy wine (or 3) or a cocktail whenever I want to, without thinking of breastfeeding.

I take my bub on my lap and get pedicures.
I probably get judged but I still try to prioritise myself too.

It's still a hard slog, harder than i imagined.


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MissKittyFantastico84 · 24/10/2022 13:33

It does get better OP, I promise.

My son is 5 now but I remember feeling the exact same way. Like I lost myself, and just wanted to sit staring at a wall without guilt that I should be doing something else.

You will feel better once you get back to work and a piece of your old identity. Getting gratification outside of the baby/mum relationship and having a space that is all your own. My advice there is to avoid any other work mums who just want to talk babies!! There was one at my office who just wanted to talk about our kids and I shut that down FAST. I am here to avoid that for 8 hours thanks!!

I also always remember a piece of advice I once read - every life choice we make has a gain and loss. You had a baby, and lost a bit of yourself - but you have your beautiful child and a special relationship unlike any other that will change and grow with time. If you hadn't had children, you would have had all the space and time you wanted - but would you have missed out on having children? Would THAT have been your regret?

Basically, there is no absolute perfect choice - and the alternative would have had sad days too. You wouldn't be perfectly happy on the other side of the fence either. That offers me comfort - and helps me see the ebb and flow of it all.

Sending you a hug OP. x

Allthesweets · 05/12/2022 21:15

@CookPassBabtridge Going to the cinema and a meal alone! Amazing, definitely going to try and do this.

@laurenGame How did you do your sleep training? My 17 week old won’t go to bed before 10pm! So we don’t get an evening.

brookln · 07/12/2022 06:06

Allthesweets · 05/12/2022 21:15

@CookPassBabtridge Going to the cinema and a meal alone! Amazing, definitely going to try and do this.

@laurenGame How did you do your sleep training? My 17 week old won’t go to bed before 10pm! So we don’t get an evening.

Sleep training was great. I'm glad my husband insisted (I was worried as bub was only 3 months).

Husband had to be near the baby as I couldn't bear hear him cry, so I'd go out sit in the car or go to the shops. Took about 2-3 days and bub learnt to self settle and go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up.

Good luck. It was so so worth it for us.

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