Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Witch Hunt

Baby is 6 weeks old. Should I celebrate? There should be pattern developing.. The only pattern I noticed is: do not expect any patterns. If baby gives me hope over a day or two, it will change the next day.
Nights are not too bad. 3 or 4 hours breaks between feeds - success. Why is it possible? Because that child doesn't nap! Day naps are rare. Days are desperate. When husband is around and able to help I can shower, go to the toilet, do the laundry. I am able to do a quick clean. Husband has to sort cooking, dishes, hoover, garbage - and his full time job. For a while he did cleaning, too, but I took this responsibility of him as soon as I could. He doesn't do the best job and keep putting things of. So even my rushed 'quick over' is better than his best effort.
Anyway, my days are my nightmare. Baby is mellow in the morning, we feed, change nappy, feed some more and then I hope for some hygiene and breakfast. But baby is having none of it. My baby feeds a lot, falls a sleep on the breast, I try to burp the baby, but it just sleeps on me. I put baby down. Baby seems to be sleeping. I put the kettle on, start preparing food or rush to do some chores or into the bathroom. Baby starts to fuss. Baby wakes up. Depending on mood baby will be calm for a while or scream straight away, but whatever the situation it will end up with screaming baby and me desperate to finish what I started. If it is cleaning or laundry, whatever. If it is my food I am upset - I don't mean eating, I mean preparing the food. I am quite good at eating and drinking while breastfeeding by now, I am a one hand wonder. But if I am sitting on the toilet or just climbing into the shower, what am I to do?

Today I made a big mistake and googled: 'my 6 weeks old baby wants to be held all the time'. Good news: I am not alone, there are more of us in this situation. Bad news: the forums are pretty clear that any woman who expects to leave her baby alone for a while is a horrible woman and doesn't deserve a baby. I feel I have been judged by a jury of super mothers. How dare you ask for me time, they say. You have to answer to your baby's cries, baby needs come first. Who mentioned anything about me time? The post was written by a woman who is, like me, unable to put her baby down for a little while. Since when is bowel movement considered me time? Apparently little babies need a response and company. Yes, I did know that. But I didn't realize I am supposed to provide it non stop. And I should enjoy it while I can, soon my baby will grow and refuse being held. It is hard to enjoy the cuddling and holding when you do nothing else all day long. According to my baby I should either hold it or feed it, baby can be put down only to be changed but requires entertainment throughout. As a good mother, according to the forum, I should forget about doing anything else and respond to my baby's cries all the time. I know baby is too little to self soothe. But who are those women? How do they manage to be fully responsive all the time? Do they have super powers? Or are they simply mean witches who want you to feel bad? Because women do that to one another, they can be pretty mean.

So I am done googling stuff. The only positive thing is that I know I am not alone. Other women have babies who want to be held all the times, too. That is enough for me to know. As for the advice, they can keep it. Did I damage my baby today because I did take a shower, prepared some food and sorted laundry of its clothes so baby has clean nappies and stuff to wear? Only time will tell, but honestly I don't think so.
I keep ending my posts with saying that motherhood is hard. It is basically a slavery. There are moments I enjoy it very much but there are moments of desperation mainly triggered by exhaustion. I realized quite soon after I brought my baby home from hospital that sometimes I will have to tend to myself in order to be able to take care of the baby. Again, I am not speaking about me time, I mean meeting my basic needs: food, drink, toilet, shower. How am I supposed to enjoy those precious moments when I can smell myself, my bladder is about to burst, I am starving or dehydrated? Could the net super mothers tell me how they did it? I have to make sure I am physically and mentally able to do the mothering, so sometimes my baby cries because I have to wash, eat, or drink. I even had moments when I simply had to put screaming baby down and leave the room because I couldn't take it anymore and couldn't be with the baby. I needed few moments away, so I took them. Life is tough.

I think that these super mums who managed to ruin my day think back about their early motherhood and remember only the good bits. Now they are convinced that they managed it well. As with labour, we tend to remember the good outcome and forget about the pain and suffering. I am glad I don't have much time for internet forums. They can be useful but they can be pretty damaging, too. We should mother by our instinct instead and forget about what people think or what worked for them.

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