One of the things that really get to me during my so-called maternity leave is that it can get awfully lonely during the day.
Picture this: I’m home alone with Aidan all day. If we are not nursing, I am trying my darnest to get him to nap. That can take HOURS, during which he can be screaming the house down. I’m walking, rocking, soothing, singing, patting. And when he finally caves and falls asleep, I heave a sigh of relief and go settle my basic human needs like PEE or SHOWER or EAT. But because the little bugger is such a shitty sleeper, he is up 30 minutes later and I have to shovel the last bit of instant noodles or rice into my mouth and go comfort him. That takes 30 minutes or, hmm, another hour. Maybe TWO. Sometimes it works and he goes back to sleep. Sometimes it doesn’t and we end up wrestling till it’s time for him to have his boob juice again. And then the whole cycle happens all over again. In between, I change his diapers, wipe his ass clean, bathe him, burp him and kiss his cute cheeks.
By the time Mr Thick arrives home, I am exhausted beyond belief and ready to drop the baby into his willing arms.
Rinse, repeat, for the past nine weeks.
It’s not surprising that many women suffer from postpartum depression, really.
These past nine weeks have been like an extended roller coaster ride for me. The highs are rewarding and exhilarating but the lows are debilitating and painful. Some days, I find myself curled up in a fetal position next to my crying child, wondering what I can do to make this go away. When he is fighting sleep for the third hour, I wish he could just close his eyes and slip into slumberland.
And in the past nine weeks, there have been moments when I felt so stupid and anti-intellectual. I don’t know what is happening in the world, my hours and minutes and seconds center around my little man and I haven’t cooked or baked at all.
So no. Maternity leave is not LEAVE at all and it gets me mad when people automatically assume that new moms are having cushy lives.
And motherhood can be a very lonely journey.
7 thoughts on “Two is the loneliest number”
I can only imagine how difficult and yes, lonely that is. Am not sure if that makes me a bad mum-to-be, but I am terrified of losing my freedom and right to basic needs. I salute all mums who go through this and definitely salute you too. Hang in there sweetie, it will get better eventually. *hugs*
I remembered how lonely it was. It was scary and depressing. And for the longest time, I thought life was, well quite meaningless. I was jobless when I was pregnant. So you can imagine. I felt I existed solely for the purpose for the unborn child. After that, it’s just better, and worse. You get what I mean. The thought that there have been countless mums before me who went through this unscathed, got me through. I know it doesn’t seem very comforting right now but it’ll get better… and probably much worse. This is e bored and lonely and tired beyond belief stage. After that, at least for me, it was honeymoon for a while, then the run to the room to cry a few times a day so your kid doesn’t see you breakdown stage. But that’s because I stayed home with a most persistent little girl. Anyhow, get better soon and hang in there!
Hey…I can identify with the loneliness and sheer exhaustion of being a SAHM sometimes, especially on days when the baby is finicky or moody. Big hugz… totally did what Kei did too – run off to the room/toilet for some me-cry-time when you can’t take it. Best option at this stage, when he can’t even roll over yet :b Love from us.
There’s a new mum in my family and I am very eager to help her out. This post was very useful. Also wanted to ask in what way you would ask people to help out, if they were to volunteer? I also don’t want to be too intrusive. Nice to hear from a young mum herself.
I remember the first few weeks of my first baby’s life as being a blur of depression, feeding, changing shitty diapers and catching precious forty winks on the rare occasions that the baby did sleep. It can feel like a vortex, but there IS light at the end of the tunnel.
Hugs. You really have my highest respect. I’ve only found myself alone with the baby once – for just an hour – and it was the loneliest and most insecure that I’ve ever felt.
I know what you mean when you say there are times when you feel dull and closed in during maternity leave. Well, maternity leave made me love and appreciate my job even more! Not because it presents an escape from the baby (okay, I admit, it does) but because it opens my world beyond all things baby, just as how motherhood has opened it in ways I could never have imagined.
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Yes, Jean is right, it feels like a vortex. And I know that eventually I will get through this. It’s just tough right now.
bookjunkie: So sweet of you to think of helping! I think the best way to help a new mum is just to offer simple things like buying/bringing over a meal or even looking after the baby so that she can rest or have some “me” time. 🙂