Relationship vs Baby

Here are some handy tips and hints for partners of postpartum women so they don’t end up wanting to kill you. You could view them as the 10 (and a few more add ons) commandments if you wanted to. These are mostly all based loosely on my own actual experiences, (ok it’s obvious about some) but also the generic experiences I have read about/know about happening to other women. It’s meant to be slightly humorous at least so sorry in advance if you don’t see it that way. I haven’t killed him or left him yet though. There’s still plenty of time for that… joking of course… If there’s one thing that this experience has taught me is it’s good to have a warped sense of humour.

1. DON’T feel like it’s not your responsibility to look after your child even though you’ve been at work. Your other half is probably chomping at the bit waiting on you to come home so she can hand over baby duties, only if it is for a precious 5 minutes in the shower alone.

2. DON’T call looking after your own child “baby sitting”. Annoying AF, especially when your other half does not “babysit”, she keeps tiny people alive on a daily basis.

3 a) DON’T ignore the crying over the baby monitor in the middle of the night thinking your partner will get up if you just lie there pretending to be asleep. That is definite punishable by being suffocated with the pillow behaviour. She is especially unpredictable at that time in the night/morning and highly irrational. Who knows what might happen?

3 b) Also DON’T complain about having a bad night’s sleep because the baby was crying if you didn’t get up with said baby. Arsehole.

3 c) On the flip side DON’T tell her what a good night’s sleep you had. Even if the baby sleeps through, she most likely hasn’t because she hasn’t heard any noises over the baby monitor. You can’t win on this one sorry- it has an a) b) and c) parts to it and it’s about sleep!

4. DON’T ask your partner what she has done all day, especially if there are dishes in the sink or there are toys everywhere. This should perhaps be number one as the rage potential from this is serious. You definitely risk having the washing up liquid bottle inserted in an orrifice for this one. Do the dishes or pick up the toys yourself if it bothers you that much tit head.

5. DON’T take the piss out of any of your partner’s shit purchases off the internet and definitely don’t take the piss when said shit purchases don’t work. Try being there for her when it all goes wrong instead of being a complete ballbag saying I told you so or she may want to strangle you with the latest sling she’s bought for baby wearing (and all the baby does is scream and throw up in it).

6. DON’T go on benders to Benidorm for example, and get shitfaced everyday you’re out there because you still think you’re in your twenties but really you’re well into middle age, leaving the mother of your child to cope on her own. Also don’t come home sunburned to absolute fuck and go straight to bed because you’re broken. No sympathy will be given, just more creativity will be given to thoughts on how she can get away with murder.

7. DON’T even presume to mention sex for about a year unless your partner mentions it first. If commandments 1-6 have been broken, they probably won’t be able to see past hating you, let alone want them touching you in any way shape or form. Even if you have been a relatively useful partner you will probably still get the blame for what has happened to their body and/or fanny over the course of pregnancy and birth due to the wonderful hormonal hurricane. You won’t ever win against hormones. Sorry not sorry.

8. DON’T be an emotional void even if you’re a male and can’t comprehend an nth of what your partner is going through. She needs supporting more than ever, even if you just don’t get why even the most silliest of minor matters are making her scream like a banshee. Don’t make her feel more alone than motherhood already makes her feel (and it boy does it feel lonely sometimes) because who knows what murderous conclusions she can come to in the depths of her isolation.

9. DON’T commit the cardinal sin of taking the monster in law’s (her MIL that is) side when she offers her unsolicited advice. It will do you absolutely no favours whatsoever and your faux pas will never be forgotten for the rest of time.

10. DON’T constantly harp on about the past and what has happened to the girl that you first fell in love with. She doesn’t know either and probably won’t know what has happened to her former self now she totally exists for a tiny dictator. She probably won’t come to terms with the new person she is for a good two years if that so this comparison will probably want to make her gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon (there are more maming options, she has explored them don’t worry).

On a serious note, (yes this is all tongue in cheek in case you thought I was actually homicidal) new babies do pose challenges to the most stable of relationships. It’s likely that all these things listed, or versions of them will happen. I haven’t even touched on the arguments over money, and the forever empty wallets having children will cause.

Good overall advice for you if you and your partner have been blessed with your own tiny overlord is try not to be a dick. Help with the baby without being asked. Also offer her a brew from time to time. A brew that isn’t cold or one that she forgot she made herself and has subsequently gone cold is like heaven in a cup. She’ll go from hating the sight of your face and the sound of your voice, to a purring cuddly kitten. This is speaking from experience of course. Oh and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Treat the postnatal hormone onslaught as a really extended version of PMS on steroids. Just nod and agree and you’ll be fine. Most of all good luck! You’ll need it. We still do 20 months down the line sometimes.

#relationshipversusbaby #parenthood #relationships #mentalheath #postpartum #postnatal #family

The face of PND. Hardly a poster girl!

I want to be honest in my blogging about my experience of parenthood so here it goes. I definitely suffer with post natal depression and the most terrible anxiety. So far so good, it actually feels better just to say that. I have always lied when I’ve been asked how everything is and when actually what I am really thinking is “everything is totally and utterly awful and I’m crap at being a Mum” I have actually just fake smiled and given some rubbish answer about how great everything is. I suppose it’s guilt and shame that actually stops me from being honest but in the early days after LO’s birth I found the path to postnatal depression a very slippery downward spiral. Not really surprising after his dramatic (and pretty traumatic) entrance into the world. It wasn’t a great start and everything definitely went downhill from there. I want to publish a photo with this story that I took when I was feeling the lowest of the low. I’m not sure how old Ewan was when I took this photo, not very old, possibly a month, at the most two. I had just got him sleep, I felt drained, but most of all I felt like crying but I couldn’t. I knew I looked as miserable as sin (exhibit a) but I wanted to know what my face looked like at that point in time so I took the picture… I’m pretty haunted still to look at it and it makes me sad that’s what I looked like after time spent with my baby, but I also think it’s important to remember that time and just think how far we have come since that day. To me this photograph screams post natal depression. I’m knackered, and drained and probably was still ill (I was recovering from an emergency c section and sepsis), the hideous hormones of the fourth trimester were flying anywhere and everywhere but it’s the fact that that period is supposed get better and for me it didn’t feel like it ever would. Even now it sometimes feels like that but not to the same degree that I felt it in that photo (this is the shred of hope I cling on to). I regret feeling like this now of course. I just wanted to enjoy the time with my baby. Especially then because then I was on maternity leave and it was a meant to be a special bonding time. I remember thinking when I took that photograph ” I should be happy” over and over again. This was the beginning of a definite slide into the worst depression/anxiety I have ever experienced. I was losing /had lost what rubbish ability to breastfeed I had in the first place, I was convinced my breast milk I had managed to give Ewan had given him acid reflux because of all the antibiotics I’d been taking for weeks (reflux he probably did have, acid reflux not really so much thinking back but at the time I was convinced), and probably most upsettingly of all the arguments with the other half started rocketing off the scale. A lot of which was due to my increasing anxiety, and him working silly hours at work didn’t help. Still to my mind the worst question you can ask a mother/parent who has stayed home with a baby and managed to keep them alive all day is “what have you done all day?”. That one is a definite one way ticket to argument city. Fast forward to now, and I am back at work part time, the arguments with OH are less (but still happen, I do hate him a little bit less than those dark days because I have had to learn how to compromise with him all over again-baby=new balls please). I have tried a couple of medications to help with my anxiety but the side effects were too much for me to put up with but I do feel like there are more good days than bad now. I still lose my shit from time to time. Please show me someone who doesn’t. By the power of social media I am finding yout there are lots of people like me, that do what I do, that lose their shit and are tempted to sell their kids (or OH) so by feeling less alone in my feelings helps the healing process. By the same token there are some hideous, heartbreaking stories on the internet. The sanctimummy/mommy brigade, the pictures of perfection, a sleeping baby normally. Of course they are perfect when they’re sleeping-they’re quiet. Massive fan of nap time right here! I am guilty of posting the best of the best on Instagram also. The smiling boy in the bathtub belies the fact that he’s just screamed his head off exorcist style getting his hair washed. They’re all ideals you can’t attain 100% of the time. It’s impossible. Social media really is a double edged sword. Don’t pay any attention to it so why on earth should anyone pay attention to me waffling on. Well it’s up to you I guess! I would urge anyone that is struggling to admit it. There’s plenty of help out there so accept it. There is light at the end of the tunnel as trite as that sounds. This motherhood/parenthood thing is tough. Much more tough that I for one could have ever imagined. My son is the most perfect work of art that I never want to stop looking at, but at the same time he is the reason that I am massively anxious, about everything he does, comparatively or not. I have become helicopter Mum and sometimes it’s not a very good feeling, however there are people/places that can help relieve the feeling. Even if it’s just temporarily. When he was first here I didn’t think I would ever see the day when I’d enjoy going to work. Well I use the term “enjoy” loosely. I kind of like the stepping out of my front door part by myself but that’s as far as it goes….

Anyway I’ll end this by returning to the picture. I wanted to publish it during maternal mental health week on my IG but I didn’t have the guts. I still don’t have the guts now really, and it’s a terrible picture (even worse in colour), so I’m feeling quite lucky that this blog is a bit of a slow burner right now if I’m honest. I would desperately urge anyone feeling low in general to seek help, but especially if you are a parent and you are struggling-don’t carry on struggling by yourself.

#maternalmentalhealth #PND #mentalhealthawareness #postnatalanxiety #depression #anxiety #motherhood #parenthood

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! I’ve taken the plunge and have decided to write a blog. The main reason being is my son Ewan, who since his arrival in December 2016, has turned my world upside down in a variety of ways both good (the very obvious ways) and bad (lots of shit times actually, which I naively didn’t expect… or at least didn’t expect the shit times to be so numerous, and have had a hard time getting my head around as a consequence). I hope to share my experience of first time motherhood warts and all instead of all the pretending I do on social media and in real life that everything is amazing and being a mummy is just the most amazing thing in the world. Of course it is but could we all just be a bit realistic here and feel brave and honest enough to admit that sometimes things are sometimes very shit indeed. I want this blog to create a space where this can happen because let’s face it, motherhood, no PARENTHOOD is hard af! I hope in my own way to shed light and perhaps a bit of laughter on some of the stories I have that were traumatising at the and/or are still traumatising but are now frankly laughable. Not everything is rosey in the garden of mum’s the word but let’s take time to smell the roses if you will.

So a very tiny bit about me personally, I won’t go on… I am a nurse. That bit forces me to be an adult, and have to talk to other adults, which I’d rather not do, but the old fashioned providing nursing care to people is what I enjoy doing (none of this crap in between which mounts on a daily basis) and why I have continued to do it for the past 7 years. I’m not really sure I can continue until retirement age as I may burn out. Watching this space on that one.

I live with my partner and Ewan and my partner’s oldest son (17) in sunny Cumbria in the North West of England. Near to the Lake District and also the Furness peninsula. It’s not so grim up north in this area although it can be sometimes. Life isn’t always as straightforward as I’d like but we all muddle along ok for the most part (lots to write about on the subject of blended families too, OH also has a little girl, 5, who doesn’t live with us) which is also harder than I thought after the rose tinted glasses really come off when your pregnancy is over and the shit really hits the fan.

I have always wanted to write (about anything) but have always had very little confidence in myself and my abilities. Weirdly since becoming a mum that confidence is even less. Having all your plans for a breastfeeding, baby led weaned, organically fed, naturally birthed, swaddled, carried, self soothing to sleep, perfect angel child rejected, kind of does that. I was low on confidence anyway, so I found myself crushed at every turn really. As time as gone on I have learned to accept things more though and I hope to be able to touch on the subject of giving less fucks as it’s pretty helpful.

I probably should have started writing this blog from the birth of my child but things were a bit messed up then in one way or another (traumatic birth, sepsis, ensuing anxiety and PND), and some days I didn’t get round to having a wash, let alone writing blog posts. So I am starting now, with him a fully fledged toddler, 19 months along the road and he is now walking (came very late but seems to have mastered it now), talking (“car”, “apple” and “atchoo” are his favourite words) and screaming if anything doesn’t go his way (definitely mastered that skill). Perhaps I still won’t have that much time to get round to writing between him and work, but I’m going to give it a try. I have a lot of things to write retrospectively, which might be the best thing anyway. I’ve got 19 months worth of material now. In the meantime I’m going to keep on winging it so I’ll keep you informed on how that goes (which is normally not the way I planned). Thanks for making it this far. As Murphy (or sod if you will) would have it Ewan has just woken up from a nap so that’s my cue to leave just now. Luckily he still naps in the day, and oh how I dread that ending, but for now my time has ran out. Thanks for getting this far anyway! I’m excited to get this started!

Ruth x

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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