The first year….
They say pregnancy is the most magical time any woman can experience, I am, now 41 weeks pregnant and the experience has been anything but, it can only be described as a leech feeding on all of my energy, and destroying my sex life.
I was also diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (an extreme case of morning sickness). And with my heightened sense of smell, every little thing made me sick including my husband’s natural scent. I like sex, I like sex a lot but I have gone from having sex nearly every day with my husband, to sleeping in separate rooms for months at a time.
Since my baby had decided to make her appearance late, I decided to take my mind off it and keep active. A trip to Croydon with my mum should be alright, right?
Fast forward two hours, I’m standing in costa coffee with a dead phone, having contractions while my mum is in Primark buying bed sheets….It was at this moment I knew I was in for an interesting journey into motherhood.
When Lemlem made her dramatic entrance, the midwife immediately placed her on my chest. Hearing stories from fellow mothers I expected to feel a sudden gush of love and affection for this little baby, instead, I stared blankly at her thinking, “ok…what do I do now?” I felt nothing. That night was hell. I kept calling the midwife in as she was not latching properly and wouldn’t stop crying, and I immediately thought it was because I did not love her. She was then diagnosed with jaundice. What have I done to her?
My first week at home, I am woken up by a screaming baby, it is almost 4am, my husband is fast asleep and I can’t get her to stop crying. I sit down on the bed and just look at her crying, tears roll down my face, I cannot feel that ‘bond’ that everyone raves about nor can I comfort her. It is in this moment that I think to myself, I can’t do this, I am not ready to be a mother.
I’m now six weeks in, I’ve had my post-natal check-up and everything seems to be fine with me, however when my doctor asks how I’m feeling emotionally, I simply respond ‘I don’t know, I know I should be happy but I’m not”.
I smile everyday so that no one notices but I don’t feel like myself, I should have lost the baby weight by now and my stomach should be flat.
For the past few days my husband has been asking me how I feel and if I’m ok – what he really wants to know is if I’m ready to have sex again – something I have been dreading!! I do not feel comfortable naked. I know it’s been a while now for my husband, so I start to feel guilty. Maybe I should have waited a little longer because that night can only be described as how I felt when I lost my virginity. How can sex be this painful? I felt awkward and embarrassed, yet I still asked him “how was it?” To which he replied, “Your body feels different”. Oh my gosh, maybe he’s no longer attracted to me. Insecure thoughts begin to enter my mind, “Will I ever feel or look the same again?
Sixteen weeks in and I feel more confident and comfortable as a mother.
I’m pretty sure I’m in love with her now.
I know what each cry means and I can almost recognise myself again, time to get my life back, well that’s what I thought.
My child is now suffering from ‘separation anxiety’ or so they call it, I thought children only go through this from nine months old….
I can no longer leave the room or the house without her screaming the place down. No one else can settle her, including her dad. “What did I do to her?” is the constant question I get from people. They say, “I must have breastfed her too much, I must be carrying her too much… bla bla bla. I just cannot win! I now feel like a prisoner in my own home, with no support, whilst my husband carries on with his day to day life as if nothing has changed. He is free to go out whenever and wherever he wants. This is the main thing we fight about. With everything, I keep telling myself “this too shall pass” however this phase seems to be lasting a lot longer than any other phase.
She is one year’s old today and she is still very ‘clingy’. I am now starting to resent her slightly. She has sucked all the love out of my marriage, I have no time for anything else. My husband is besotted with her yet she won’t let him comfort her or play with her when I’m not around. I feel he is now jealous of our bond. I am secretly counting down the days until I go back to work, I will have ten whole hours a day without her – absolute bliss! Someone else will need to worry about her, take care of her and console her until I get back, with any luck all the crying will wear her out and I won’t have to do much in the evening.
My daughter is the best thing that has happened to me, that is true, but that does not mean she hasn’t brought challenges and doubt into every aspect of my life, including my marriage.
When people ask about baby number two, I tell myself that maybe, just maybe one is enough for me.
P.s As you know I retell stories from my life; honest and vulnerable stories. I wanted to do a series sharing stories from other people’s lives, so I will be working with people over the next month or so, as part of this Sharing Circle Series, to help them tell their stories in the most honest and vulnerable way.
Let me know what you think by commenting below, love hearing from you guys. Make sure to sure Linda some love below, as this wasn’t an easy story to share!
Happy birthday, Lemlem 🙂