So I don’t want to like complete ignore the fact that I have called this post untitled, to be honest I didn’t know what to call it…hey I’m back..my month off..these just didn’t fit to me. I haven’t blogged for quite a while..for the longest period ever…even after having Arch I only went a few days before I started up again. But I needed this month. I’m kind of contradicting the subject of this post with pretty spring pictures. I really have no idea how to go about it..but hey let’s just start with a few facts. Firstly Parenting is HARD AS FUCK.
I love Archer, but it’s not been an easy ride this motherhood thing. When Archer was 10 weeks I had a meltdown. I wouldn’t let my sister leave, I didn’t want to be left alone with him, and while expressing every 2 hours which led to just 1 bottle of milk, I was exhausted, devastated and defeated. I spoke about my breast-feeding journey, or more importantly lack of, but I didn’t go in deep about my mood and the aftermath. I gave up expressing 3 days later when one of the health visitors came out to talk to me about my mood. Richard was called home, at the time by my rather worried sister, and we decided on a new plan of action to help boost my mood. I was visited a couple of times for a few weeks, for chats, and my friends rallied to cheer me up. It took a while for the guilt of not nourishing my baby with my own milk to go, but it did and I started to feel better in myself.
But parenting was still hard work, but let’s be honest. All parenting is hard work. I was burning the candle at all ends. Doing commissions, nurturing Archer, doing the blog and sometimes doing this on my own while my other half worked stupidly long hours. Not helped that both set’s of family live a fair distance away. During Richards late finishes I was finding myself having a mere 40 minutes break (where I would normally shower/ do jobs) each day between Richard getting up than having to go to work again..I was a mummy machine, killing myself to get sponsored posts out and cling onto some identity which didn’t label me as ‘just a stay at home mum’. I’d have mini meltdowns of exhaustion and upset every month or so. Me and Richard would emotionally vomit, get in some help from the family, then I would be on a high for the next couple of weeks till the next burnout.
Second fact, mum guilt is REAL. I was doing my blogging work at midnight, showering at 9 in the evening when Archer was in bed. I’d then deal with Archer’s hourly wake up calls before bringing him into bed with me at 2 am. I’d go to groups, do baby activities with Archer, cook him healthy food, sing dance and everything in between. I never neglected Arch, and I would never want to. But if for a few days I didn’t have the energy to take him out, and I just put cbeebies on, man the worry and guilt that I’m not nurturing my child would sink in. Comparing Archer’s progress to other kids didn’t help at all either. We really shouldn’t compare but let’s be honest all mums do this at some point. I have the overly hyper/destructive child out of the group, this being especially noticable at soft play. Something I came to hate. Why? Because it makes your heart beat fast, your face bright red and your patience completely deplete. As I looked at other mums around me, enjoying their time, looking all-powerful and mighty in their honest motherhood state. It occurred to me, and though I hate myself even when I type this..I don’t enjoy being a mother.
I love Archer, I wouldn’t give him up for anything, but there was a point when I was really struggling with this idea that my main thing in life was being a mother, and I wasn’t enjoying it. I found myself thinking, maybe this is kind of normal, Archer was having a particularly bad period regarding his behaviour..and well parenting is hard right..but this feeling didn’t leave…and with it came overwhelming guilt and sadness. I wanted to enjoy Arch. I wanted to be the best mummy to him.. I wanted to enjoy this special bond..this gift that some people go there whole life wanting and sometimes can’t have..
Something wasn’t right..I mean this wasn’t normal right?..let’s cue 5 more months of me battling this unbelievable sadness and guilt. After a very difficult weekend at the beginning of this year, my mum witnessed a meltdown, and expressed concern for my mood. With some hope I came to think, oh maybe this isn’t normal, maybe this is just a hormonal inbalance..maybe I could begin to enjoy motherhood. Did I go to the doctor..no. Let’s just say the stigma attached to post-natal depression was something I didn’t want to deal with, and I was convinced that with better eating and excercise and regular emotional vomiting with Richard we could cope and work through it. Just as a side note, emotional vomiting is talking not actually like being sick…just so you know.
Anyway the next few month were brutal. My monthly meltdowns became weekly, then daily. Me and Richard called quits on my attempting to deal without help, just over a month ago. It was a morning where I had been watching Arch downstairs, and suddenly something switched, and I didn’t want to be in the same room with anyone. I went upstairs gave Archer to Richard and pretty much hibernated for a few hours. Something had to be done. The next morning we were at the doctors.
I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. In hindsight I should have gone back to the doctors after the meltdown after the 10 week episode. But I didn’t. I can’t get that time back with Archer, where my patience, happiness and attitude might have shaped different memories. But I can’t think about that stuff. Because there were good times, it wasn’t all dark. It was more that the sadness encroached more and more and became an annoying little niggling feeling. But I can tell you something. The last month has been quite possibly one of the best. We have made the effort to see more family, enjoy the sun and many flowers. I DO enjoy being Archer’s mummy. And I have waited 20 months to feel that.