When did you come up for air?
Three months after birth?
Or are you still submerged?
My first born was three and a half months old before I emerged from the baby cloud. With my second, it was much longer. I’d say probably closer to five months.
For that period of time I was completely emerged in a baby cloud.
I showered three times a day for the first week while I recovered from birth, then after, only every few days.
I ate only when I could get a moments to walk passed the kitchen.
I slept sporadically throughout the day and night.
The house consistently smelt of nappies, breast milk and vomit/wee/poo on clothes, carpet and towels.
I was a shit friend. A shit sister. A shit wife.
I barely spoke to my friends and family as I spent the entire time expressing milk, nursing or trying to catch up on sleep. I missed birthdays, dinner parties, barbeques. I wasn’t reliable enough to meet loved ones out on my own because I didn’t know when the baby would wake and need a feed, and taking the baby to a bar wasn’t an option for me.
My husband and I were ships passing in the night. While for the most part we supported one another, any disagreements we had were left unresolved.
I barely found the time to send thank you cards.
Then when I had my second baby, it was worse.
I was worse.
I was a shitter friend, a shitter sister and a shitter wife.
While I knew what to expect with a newborn – the sleeplessness, the constant nursing, it was the combination of looking after two under two that left me completely shell shocked.
The jealousy from my first born towards the new baby.
My guilt of not giving my first child the time they needed.
My guilt (again) of letting my first born pretty much do what they wanted just so I could spend 20 minutes feeding the baby.
The sleeplessness of not being able to nap when the baby napped because I had another very needy human to look after.
The marriage that I essentially put on hold because all my effort was being put into trying to keep the family unit semi-functioning.
On one random day…
Up out of the cloud I came.
One day I woke and realised that the day was going easier than the one before.
There was the shower that I had where I ran out all the hot water, just because I could.
Those regular meals I began eating.
The conversation I had with my toddler about the difference between ‘toddler time with mummy’ and ‘mummy baby time with mummy’.
There was the spontaneous phone call from a friend who was waiting patiently for me.
There was that kid-free walk around the block with my husband where we talked about everything that we had swept under the carpet the last three months.
And when I had taken that deep breath of fresh air, I realised that I had survived the hardest few months of parenting there is – the fourth trimester.
When did you come out of the baby cloud?
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