Monday, 24 February 2014

The brutal reality of Motherhood

In all the times I visioned myself as a Mother, not once did I see myself sitting in a gutter trying to breastfeed a hysterical baby on a busy street. Mind you, I also never saw myself freaking out that my baby had suffocated or dropping them in the bath but reality is different to fantasy.

Saturday morning I woke up and checked on Sticky only to see her muslin totally covering her face. I hesitated a moment before removing it to say a silent prayer she was still breathing. My heart was beating a million miles when I lifted it. She was lying there calm and happy, deep in sleep. I was a nervous wreck! 

I decided I had had enough of muslin mishaps and pulled out the zip up swaddle sleeping bag I had been given. Only now does it fit but it means I don't have to worry about something else similar happening.

That night I decided it was time I gave bathing her a go. My husband has done all the bathing duties to date but it was my turn to learn. My husband filled the bath and put the soap in before the water which created all these bubbles. This made her very slippery so I didn't feel comfortable and we should have emptied the bath and started again but I persevered. 

I held her in one arm while I washed her with the other. She slipped out of my grasp and went under the bubbles. I screamed and quickly pulled her out and watched her spit out bubbles. She didn't cry or wail, she just coughed a bit. I was beside myself and she was shaken so I quickly finished so we could both calm down.

That evening it hit me. I felt like I had nearly lost my daughter twice in one day. I burst into tears and sobbed for several hours. It became clear that my grief over losing Peanut and Babs is still simmering under the surface. Not only do I have this immense fear that I will loose her, but my confidence in my Mothering abilities had taken a heavy hit. I told my husband it was time for me to go back to the counsellor as I felt like I was becoming dangerously close to entering post-natal depression land and I'm doing everything I can do avoid that.

After the trauma of Saturday, I was looking forward to a calmer Sunday. It wasn't to be. I've been trying to take Sticky for a walk in the pram in the afternoons. After not being able to do my walks for so long, I was eager to get back into it. I had visions of us doing these great walks together but again, reality is different to my fantasy. Only once have we managed a walk without her screaming at some stage.

I think she screams because she's hungry so I try to feed her and make sure she's full rather than just having a snack. We hadn't been for a few days as it had been too hot so I decided to give it another crack. We got off to a great start with her talking to herself as we went along. I was encouraged by this so decided to go a longer way.

10 minutes later the screaming started. It's not just a gentle cry, it is a blood curdling scream where she reaches such a state she becomes breathless and hoarse. I picked her up to see if it was a burp but there was nothing forth coming. I considered holding her and pushing the pram but holding her didn't stop the screaming like previous remedies. I was still 15 to 20 minutes from home and knew I couldn't handle listening to her for that long - I was already in tears.

There was no where else for me to sit but the side of the road so I found a shady tree, parked the pram and pulled out a spare muslin to cover myself up. Given it was a busy street I didn't want to freak out passing motorists by flashing them my boobs. This wasn't practical as it was quite windy so it kept blowing away. I managed to tie a knot in it over my shoulder and tried my hardest to get her to latch on. She was so hysterical she couldn't. I had no choice but to put her back in the pram and get home as soon as I could.

I thought I had done well by not becoming too over whelmed by the whole event. I got home and passed her to my husband. I broke down in tears and quickly washed my hands so I could feed her. I told my husband I was done. Walking was supposed to be relaxing for us but it was becoming too traumatic and I didn't want her developing a bad association with the pram. Maybe she's too small for the pram still, or it's just too hot, or the exercise makes her hungry. I don't know but clearly our afternoon walks are not good for either of us.

I'm not totally giving up. I might try walking in the mornings when the weather gets cooler or take a bottle with me. I refuse to be defeated by it but need some time to recover from it. I'm going to look at doing mum and baby Pilates as I need to do some exercise to try and loose some weight and shrink this stomach so I can fit into my normal clothes.

I woke up at 4am this morning realizing I had set my alarm for 2:30pm instead of am. Sticky had slept 6 straight hours which meant I had too. As I got out of bed, I appreciated my mistake for letting me sleep but this was short lived when I found her with the blanket totally covering her face. Again, my heart stopped as I checked to make sure she was still breathing. The frustration enveloped me and I couldn't get back to sleep. 

I never thought these things would happen. I was so unprepared for them and the fact they are not just one offs. All I can do is stay aware and do my best to prevent it. I now know what all my friends meant when they told me you constantly question yourself. But, I've also realised that a successful day is one that ends without us both in tears and Sticky alive! I'm glad today was a successful day!

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