Friday, 27 May 2011

Baby bliss or blues?

Image by Benjamin Earwicker
When I had Lil-lil, motherhood didn't rap me over the head with bliss as I was told that it would. I had this crying, non-sleeping thing that I loved dearly and thought was totally amazing, but the blissed-out-motherhood-thing? Not so much. I felt nervy, exhausted, out of my depth, worried, alone.

Everyone said: "Oh it's just because you're a first-time mother." (Here's a tip: if a first-time mum is having a tough time, never ever tell her it's because she's an uptight first-time mother. It's the very last thing she needs to hear. Believe me.)

Many times I thought, maybe I  have post-natal depression? Maybe I'm just not mother material? What's wrong with me?

When I was pregnant with Goosey, I was fearful of the whole new baby thing again. Very fearful.

Everyone said: "It will be different this time. You'll be more relaxed. You won't have time to worry."

Then she arrived and I had a couple of weeks of oxytocin-new-mum-bliss. Then the old feelings returned. I was coping fine, I wasn't depressed, I just wasn't jumping out of my skin with happiness at being the mother of two babies. This surely meant I was a terrible mother, at least that's what I told myself.

Then as the girls grew I began to enjoy it more. When they were both walking and talking and interacting, motherhood became great. I really, really enjoyed being the mother of a two-year-old and four-year-old, the blissed-out mother thing finally hit. It was then I realised, I'm not a terrible mother, I'm just not a good mother to babies (luckily, they're only babies for a short time). Then when people asked if I was going to have another baby, I found myself saying: "Yes, as long as it comes out as a 1-year-old." The thought of going through the baby stage again was just too much.

I've talked about this to a couple of other mums I know who struggled through babyhood and they agree with me. Then around the same time I was thinking about all this stuff, I read this post from Jodie at Mummy Mayhem and found myself nodding the whole way through it.

I hear other mums longing to have a tiny squishy baby again and I must admit, I shudder. I hear of lots of mums wanting to have another baby so they can have another baby. I'm not one of them. I'm sure there's lots of people reading this that must think I'm a monster. I'll admit that I'm planning to just survive the first year, I don't have any expectations on myself to be blissfully happy. It took a long while to feel ready to have another child and feel able to go through babyhood again. But looking at the bigger picture, I definitely wanted another child, if not another baby.

I am looking forward to having another little person in our lives though, a person to watch grow, a person to have those long funny chats with, another person at the dinner table to listen about their day.

Someone I know recently had their third baby and told me how much they enjoyed the baby stage and how it surprised them. Who knows? Maybe I'll be surprised too. If not, I'll still love this little being with all my heart and know that the really great times lay ahead.

Have you found you've enjoyed motherhood at one stage more than another?


  1. Thank you so much - for being a monster just like me then!!!
    I feel lighter for reading this today.
    I LOVE children, all children.
    I LOVED my own bub.
    But I'm a super anxious baby mother - and I don't like myself like that.
    You are inspirational!

  2. You are by no means a monster. Not even close!

    I'm like you. When I visit a friend with a new baby, I start to feel a sense of anxiety within me. All I can focus on is those feeds thru the night! (Having said that, both my 2nd and 3rd were a little easier with those than my first son was.)

    The thing is: you are definitely not alone. There were plenty of comments on my post from other mums who felt the same way. You'll have to do what I did: keep reminding yourself to enjoy the gorgeous moments (and there'll be plenty of those), but know that the difficult ones will pass - before you know it!


    PS - thanks for the link too! x

  3. I would happily be pregnant and mum to a newborn for the rest of forever... as long as I could give them back once they hit about 18mths! Pumpkin was an awesome baby, Monkey Boy not so much and relate much more with him to how you feel. I have two children who are soooo different and I think it's affected the way I feel about each stage with them. I'm hoping that this time, because I'm not loving the baby stage so much that I can enjoy the toddler years a bit more.
    We all do the "I'm a terrible mother" sometimes... the best thing I've found to help with that is having someone who tells me I'm a great mum (even when I'm not)

  4. You are most definitely not alone here. I have 2 little girls too and would love to have a third child .... but not a third baby! And this is despite having 2 reasonably good babies. Maybe time will change my mind (my mother is certainly hoping so), but right now as my 2nd exits babyhood all I feel is relief and the desire not to go there again!

  5. @Mum on the Run - I'm so glad that my post made you feel lighter. I think that being honest about motherhood is important. It's not all kisses and bliss.

    @Jodie - Thanks for your comment. It's always good to know I'm not a monster! Plus your original post was so good.

    @Sarah - It's funny how we can all have different experiences!

    @i-mumma - I know exactly how you feel. It took a lot of soul searching to get pregnant with number 3. While I'm thrilled I'm also scared.

  6. The crying is what sets the anxiety off in me but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that it's a normal response. That a baby crying is supposed to set off some kind of instinctive vibe in us, it's about survival?

    I'm pretty allround uptight, not just about motherhood though. I'm hoping I learn to mellow as I grow older ;)

  7. Some people dread the "terrible twos" but in this last year I think I've finally come to fully accept and enjoy motherhood ... even with the tantrums and occasional boredom! Spending my spare weekdays with P is great and I'm trying to make best use of the time we have together. Right now, I'd love to have another toddler!

    I didn't feel comfortable as a mother with a newborn. Those first six months are now thankfully a blur. I mostly remember being anxious, overwhelmed and sometimes quite angry. Not with Master P, he was just a baby, doing baby stuff and I understood that. But everything I did or other people said or did relating to baby P put me on edge. Those initial months of motherhood for me felt like being locked in a dark room. It was only when P's character started to shine through that I finally felt more confidence in my choices and proof that I wasn't a "bad mother".

  8. Oh, Corinne, bravo you for being honest with yourself. Life's hard enough as a mum of littlies without trying to conform to 'society's' expectations of us.

    When Sam was born, we'd had 3 children in 3.5 years. It's been very hard work since then. I won't kid you. Enter PND - no great surprise.

    But I wouldn't trade our 3 for quids. I try to remember 'this is a time to be, not to do'. There'll be time later for all the luxuries a single income doesn't allow just for now. I'm working on learning 'mindfulness' - it's a huge WIP! J x

  9. Yes Corinne, I totally agree. The baby stage has me living on the edge. Perpetually 'nervous'. It plays with your mind, as you can never ever switch off... even for a second. Whilst I know you can't switch off with toddlers either, you can rest in the fact that they can feed themselves and go to the toilet and communicate using more than cries.
    Like yourself, I often say to people that I would be keen as anything to have more children, if I could pick up from the 1 year mark. The pregnancy and 12 months after birth are harrowing. Beautiful, but harrowing. Sounds crazy, but you obviously know what I'm saying :o)

  10. I also do not understand the baby love- I'm glad I'm not alone!

    Of course now he is here (my no 3 is 4.5 months) I love him of course, but still am looking forward to him getting bigger- I love about 10months & over myself.

    What is helping this time is telling myself I am never going to parent a baby again. I felt this huge amount of relief once he hit the 6 week mark because I realised that I would never have to do that 6 weeks again EVER. I HATE that first 6 weeks with a passion.

  11. I'm completely with you with regards to the first year or so being a bit of a drag. I find the early months quite anxiety provoking. I am feeling more confident as a mother the older the kids get (now 5 and 7)...and enjoying them more and more. I can remember being pregnant with Henry and just accepting that we were doing this for the medium to long term not the first couple of years. Lovely honesty from everyone.

  12. I hated being a mother for the first, say 5 years of my girls lives. Once they went to school and I got some time to myself and they began to be more independent I loved it more. I have always looked forward to each stage of their development, and now, as they are almost adults, I look forward to them to costing us less, and moving on into the world prepared for what it is ahead.


Thank you so much for your comments! I'm always thrilled to hear from you.

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