Wednesday 8 August 2012

The first few weeks... ~ ups and downs

I think I probably made the labour sound aweful, for me it wasn't that bad and I quickly forgot about all the trauma, I think Rich is still traumatised by the whole thing!  I think often how the father feels isn't taken into account enough.

I saw the midwife a few times, I was in quite a lot of pain from the stitches initially, made everything harder, but it did get better and in a couple of weeks I was pretty much pain free.  We then saw the health visitor a couple of times and that was it, we were on our own, like every other Mum, the same challenges.  Breast feeding was going ok, we had some problems, a bit of pain and mastitis but worked through them and by 6weeks we were sailing.  Was so practical, didn’t need to worry about bottles, so was loving it.

My friends had cooked me some meals which was fantastic, such a help.  Especially when Rich went back to work.  Unfortunately my friends little boy came round and then got chickenpox so we were isolated from other children for a couple of weeks which was hard.  She also got a nasty cold at 8weeks which wasn’t very nice for her and a bit of a challenge for us, she was not a happy baby.

The first few weeks were really hard.  I loved her with all my heart but I was also still upset about my Grandad, he was such a huge part of my life so when he died my life changed, but I never got a chance to adjust and come to terms with life without him before Riley arrived changing our lives forever.  I just missed him so much, everything reminded me of him and made me cry, all the hormones, sleep deprivation and crying I’m sure didn’t help but I just felt so guilty, having Riley was supposed to be a happy event, Grandad would have wanted me to be happy but I just felt so sad.  I started to think it was post-natal depression, but then I decided to write down all my memories of Grandad and make a photo album of all the photos from the slideshow we made for his funeral, I started to feel happier, started to remember all the happy memories of Grandad rather than just missing him.  Just writing this gives me a lump in my throat but I have so many special memories of him and now we have Riley I like to think there’s a bit of him in her.
I also wanted to add something about bonding with your baby.  I think a lot of books and people paint the picture that as soon as you have a baby there is a completely unconditional truly amazing bond that forms between mother and baby.  I think when you don’t get that feeling often people feel guilty and I think that probably plays a part in postnatal depression.  I have now read many books which say it is a bond which forms over the first few weeks.  At the time Riley was born I loved her and wanted to care and provide for her but it wasn’t the magic bond people had spoken about, the first couple of nights when I was exhausted and in pain I found myself relieved when they took Riley away for a few hours but then felt guilty and like I’d let her down.  Now 9weeks on, I am devoted to her, would do anything for her, it is truly unconditional love, even when she’s screaming in the middle of the night and I’m totally frustrated with her, I love her with all my heart, but that has grown over time, no-one should feel guilty if it takes time to bond with your baby, it is totally normal.

She is growing so quickly, she has amazing head control so looks older than she is and she is very inquisitive and alert now.  She also had her first proper smile a couple of weeks ago and seems to smile more and more each day.  We now go to a baby group once a week which my friend runs.  It’s great to meet other parents and share experiences and advice.  We also go to a sensory group which is amazing, she is so alert during it, it gives her so many different experiences and gives me some ideas for things to do at home it has definitely helped me feel less isolated.  We have also been out with friends and on days out which has helped me realise life hasn’t completely changed we just have to take our beautiful Riley into consideration when we do things.

The most amazing moment so far is when she started smiling at us! We have a beautiful healthy baby girl, I still can’t quite believe it but I feel so lucky to be her whole world and for her to be such a big part of ours.