When Lamb was born the effects of the pain relief prevented me from bonding with him as much as I should have. I didn’t realise the drugs I had during labour would do this to me until I had a conversation with my friend who was given the same pain relief and had a similar experience. We just didn’t want to hold them. Why, oh why, did nobody warn me this would happen?
Like all new mums who had just given birth I was physically and mentally exhausted and I just didn’t want to cuddle my baby. Saying that pains me. Firstly, I was scared of sleeping on him, or him rolling off the bed. That may sound a little crazy, but I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, so was too scared to hold my brand new baby. I left Joe to do all of the cuddling. I have to say, this probably helped Joe bond so well with Lamb. With me being so distant, this gave Joe the opportunity to to bond with him.
As the effects of the drugs wore off I started to feel like myself again, or so I thought. After a few days at home the baby blues kicked in. You can read my blog post on my experience with the blues here.
I won’t go into detail about the early stages of motherhood, I want to focus this post on how I’m feeling now, but just wanted to give you an insight on my first year as a mum to help you understand the extreme emotions I’ve felt throughout motherhood.
When Lamb was around 7 weeks old I remember the first gush of love I felt for him – yes it took this long. Obviously I loved him more than anything, but I hadn’t felt that sudden gush everyone talks about (I was starting to think it was a load of nonsense). But I eventually felt it and knew I was coming out of the blues.
Lets jump ahead to Lamb turning one. From around 6 months old, I felt like a super mum, everything was going smoothly and I felt in control. That was until he started walking around the ages of 1 (properly on his own at 14 months). This was when things started going downhill for me. Lamb changed – he was turning into a toddler and was becoming more opinionated. Wow, was this a challenge.
For most of last year I would say I cried as much as I laughed. I often wondered if I had delayed post natal depression, but after lots of chats with mummy friends and family I would always feel better and decided against professional help – it wasn’t that bad.
At times I really couldn’t cope, constant crying, arguing with my other half, feeling detached from Lamb. The worst feeling for me was guilt. When would this dark cloud lift and I could start enjoying my little boy?
Well, I’m happy to say the dark cloud has finally gone. I don’t know what has changed. Maybe my hormones took a lot longer to balance out, maybe I did have post natal depression and somehow I’ve cured myself, or maybe I just needed that little bit longer to adjust to parenting.
What I do know is Lamb hasn’t been easy. He couldn’t latch, couldn’t crawl. Suffered with colic until he was 6 months old. Wanted to walk very early, but couldn’t let go. Suddenly stopped sleeping though, and don’t get me started on his fussy eating. It’s safe to say I’ve had my fair share of parenting challenges, but you know what? I won’t let them get me down any more. If he wakes up in the night, it just means I get a few extra cuddles with my beautiful boy. If he doesn’t want to eat, then he doesn’t eat. I can’t (and won’t) force him to. If, when he turns 2 in 8 weeks, he decides to throw himself on the floor in the middle of Aldi on a hectic Sunday afternoon, I’ll stand back (with a smile on my face) and let him get on with it. Babies will be babies. Toddlers will be toddlers. Kids will be kids. And guess what? Mums will be mums! And sometimes that means locking ourselves away for a good cry, or having a laughing fit in the middle of Costa over a story about projectile vomit or leaky nappies.
No one can prepare you for the challenges of becoming a parent. It’s hard, I mean really hard. But the love you feel for that little person that came out of your belly is like no other. My emotions spiraled out of control, and they continue to spiral, but this time with happiness.
I know I’m not alone when I say, the love I feel for my son brings me to tears. Literally. You know the feeling, that feeling of unconditional love.