The Other Side of Motherhood – It’s Not All Black and White.
By Kathryn Stabler
Don’t know why I think that I have to be good at everything and why failure is so bloody terrible. I could kick myself about the fact that I just don’t let people in and don’t tell people what’s going on. I do it all the time no matter what the circumstance. The thought of people thinking I’m not coping or can’t handle things just doesn’t sit with me. I need to be able to do everything, I need to be an excellent mum, I need to be the number one girlfriend and I need to be the best employee,
However, now I just can’t take no more. I feel like I am going to explode. I feel miserable, lost,can just cry at anything and just feel like I don’t know what I am doing anymore.
Because I shut people out and kind of have the mantra where if you can’t see it, it’s not happening, people have no idea what is going on. I act normal, moody granted like most women but I laugh and I socialise and work and just get on with things. Nobody knows that when I’m up at half four in the morning I cry and when the kids go to bed I cry.
To clear one thing up my life’s good, my relationship is the best that I have ever known and I love my man more that I can possibly put into words and my kids are pretty awesome too – hard work but awesome; so why I feel like I do I don’t understand.
Since having my fourth child I knew from just a few days in of being this little boys mummy that I wasn’t right, something just was not clicking, but did I tell anyone no!
So I am going to start where my little Alfie was born, backtrack and try to make sense of the way that I feel, because if I cannot understand it, how do I expect anyone else to?
From the moment Alfie was born (literally) he cried, not just twisty whimpering it was full-blown red-faced screams. Having three other children I thought I had breastfeeding down to a “T”. A proper dab hand at it, so when Alfie wouldn’t feed from me I didn’t understand, how come the others fed and he won’t? It created and instant barrier and the more he wasn’t feeding the more he cried, the more I cried and the more I felt that I just could not do this. The pressure from the midwives was immense to continue and preserver with the breastfeeding, so I did and nothing changed. Alfie still cried and now just didn’t want to be with me. Daddy soothed him and daddy calmed him I just couldn’t do right for wrong and looking back now I believe that this was the start of my low mood, but did I say anything, no I didn’t.
Moving Alfie on to bottles didn’t help and he was now developing a “snore” like noise coming from the throat at all times and began struggling at times for breath. After pushing and pushing for answers with Midwives and numerous sleep studies and hospital visits Alfie was diagnosed with Lingual Malashia. A condition where a child is born with a floppy windpipe – the reason why he wouldn’t feed off me!
You would think that when this diagnosis came through I would feel less guilt on my behalf for not being able to feed my own little boy but no, I felt so much more guilt that I hadn’t noticed this or pushed for reasons to why he wouldn’t take my breast.
I felt that through all this Alfie had not bonded with me at all, his bond was with Daddy and as beautiful as that relationship was I was only concerned with the fact that my baby hated me. He screamed whenever I went near him and only quieted when Daddy had hold of him. But shit, Daddy was due to go back to work!
It was my worst nightmare I was going to be left with 4 kids one of which I felt hated me. I have never felt so terrified in my life but did I say anything, no! Instead I painted my face with make up and walked about pushing the pushchair around like lady muck visiting people just to get out of the house and not to be alone with him most of the time.
Now I hate myself for feeling like this, I mean how can a mummy feel this way about her baby? I had so much love for this little bundle but just did not know how to show it, I was struggling and constantly sat in the window waiting for Daddy to come home to hand him over. Still I didn’t say anything. It all just festered and built up inside me and I used to take on other people’s problems and help them so I didn’t have to talk about my own.
Alfie thankfully 10 months down the line has had the all clear and has progressed really well. He’s a delightful little boy who I love so much and who is my little bestie but I feel no better.
There is so much that goes on in a family of six so much to do all the time. Lee works away from week to week only home on a weekend and I have to manage four children, a household and a 40 hour a week job. Wow feel a bit of a release just saying that! But my mood and anxiety is increasing and I feel lost. I feel like I’m a bad mammy, I feel the two little ones take all my time and I am neglecting time with my two older children, I feel like my house is a mess and I can not keep on top of things, I feel I am a mess.
I feel so lost and so tired. I just can’t explain what his actually feels like. I cry every night and probably two or three times a day for no reason and nobody knows. I paint a face full of make up go to work and come home and everyone just thinks all is normal. To me everything feels dark I just can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
It all came to a head this week following a visit to the doctors where as soon as I sat down I broke down. Thanks to a very lovely and supportive young Doctor I was offered and given some help and I can only hope that this helps me sort things out.
I have never experienced depression of any kind and have had very little knowledge of it until now which is another reason why I wanted to write this. If I can help one person realise and admit they need help– wow.
I have to comment that I am very lucky to have Lee, without him I don’t know what I would do, the support he gives and the crap he puts up with I wonder why he is still around – certainly not what he signed up for. He is a truly amazing person and I love him so much.