The Struggles Of The First Weeks After Birth

Babies are adorable, everyone coos at them and I treasure these moments, but life with a newborn isn’t easy. This is the truth about how I have been feeling.

I gave birth 4 weeks ago and I’ve felt physically rough ever since. The tiredness and actual post birth recovery I expected but I’m fed up with everything else. I was lucky that I had a good birth and I didn't have much damage to heal from however over the last 4 weeks I have struggled with headaches, migraines, a bad cold and a bruised coccyx from falling down the stairs. None of that was an expected part of my postpartum recovery. My body needs rest, nutrition and for my toddler to stop bringing home germs from nursery and spreading them around.

Sitting on the sofa cuddling a sleeping baby in my Tea and Triumph sweatshirt

Then there is Baby Boy, most days he is pretty fussy. Understandably for a newborn he wants to be held (awake or asleep) and although the content awake periods are getting longer it isn’t long before he decides he would rather be asleep (me too kiddo). To get to sleep he wants to suckle or be walked around in the sling. There is no point giving him endless milk because it just comes back up if he feeds too much so we’ve introduced a dummy. Which is fine until it falls out and he gets grumpy again.

Oh the challenges of getting a baby to sleep and stay asleep with a loving 3 year old big sister around. The majority of the touching is almost certainly due to affection, while a few are cheeky attention seeking pokes, but the end result is repeatedly ending up back at square one on the settling front. And she’s given the baby her cold too.

A selfie of me and my two youngest children

Neither of my older children seem to listen to me when I speak to them, but at the same time they are increasingly clingy and they want my attention. I understand having a baby brother is a big transition for them both and I am trying to give them as much attention as possible, but it tries my patience when they ignore me. Even if I ask a simple question like “do you want a drink?”. The last week I have had a croaky voice so it’s been a struggle to talk in the first place.

Everything has started to build up and get to me and I’ve only had to spend 4 days parenting on my own. First I had G around and then my mum so while I was primarily attached to the smallest one there were naps and a few quiet moments. The past week when I have been alone most of the day I have barely left the house except for the school run. It's been too cold and we haven't felt well enough, but lack of fresh air isn't great for us.

I can’t help thinking “what have I done?”. I always knew 3 children would be hard. All through the months of trying, the miscarriage and nearly giving up hope I always knew. I’ve always questioned if I have it in me to be a mum of 3, knowing I lack patience and need an abundance of sleep. Am I up to it?

How am I meant to do bedtime, give each child enough attention or even just keep my temper when I’m tired and no one will do as I ask?  I can’t even get the toddler to bed at night without it taking forever and there being lots of tears.

So many people said “the third child just slots right in, they have to”. I haven’t seen any signs of that just yet. I don’t want to leave anyone to cry, but I just don’t have enough arms at times. All my children need me more than ever. And I need my partner more than ever yet I barely see him.

A baby holding on to mum's thumb and sucking on a dummy

I love my beautiful baby, I love all my children, but the triple whammy of Baby Boy not being the easiest of babies, the ongoing health/ stupidity bruising issues and older children’s challenging behaviour is pushing me to my limit.

I need to work, to write to balance myself, but the time I could have used while I had additional support has been lost and that frustrates me. As does the constant crying.

My patience is waning. I’m shouting more. I’m doubting myself more. What have I done?

The term “post natal depression” gets thrown around, but really wouldn’t anyone complain about having had enough when they have been feeling unwell for weeks? When they are tired and their children are unwell too? When the housework has built up and the weather has been rubbish? The feelings are normal and while I am frustrated I recognise it’s less than a month since I gave birth so I’m not expecting much from myself. I am being kind to myself, honest.

The feelings of struggling and frustration aren’t constant and there are many moments of happiness. There are moments when I look at my children with my heart overflowing with love, a feeling of completeness filling me. But those are the moments everyone shares with the world and the real life fourth trimester isn’t just about those moments of snuggles. It’s messy, it’s hard, it’s an adjustment for everyone. Whether it’s recovering physically from birth, struggling with motherhood or just a series of unfortunate events, it’s a lot to deal with. I want to share how I really feel because I know I’m not the only one.

So this, this is how I am feeling. 

No comments

Thanks for your comment (unless it's spam in which case, why?)