This week’s blog is written by Millie Edwards, AKA @Realitymumma
Millie talks about ‘The darker side of motherhood’ after she had her first son Jack and the importance of opening up to friends and family when you are not doing so okay. Check out www.realitymumma.co.uk for more of Millie’s blogs on mothering.
From the moment I saw the two lines show up on the pregnancy test I suddenly felt this shift in how I felt, which took me by surprise. We had just got back from Honeymoon and the whole time we were there I had been craving sticky rice but didn’t really think much of it at the time until we got home, and I was watching something about cravings during pregnancy. We had both wanted a baby for a long time, for me, I felt that to become a Mummy was my life’s purpose, I literally had always wanted a family.But the day I took the test after the shrieks of joy and the running to tell Jamie (completely blowing my Pinterest surprise reveal) I started to overthink everything. I suddenly started to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope, that perhaps I was too young, that Jamie would leave me, that I would drop this baby on their head etc. This over-thinking didn’t stop, in fact, it just got stronger and harder to ignore.
Everyone around me was so excited about our baby, and don’t get me wrong I was as well but I was suddenly really scared that I wasn’t ready. I can remember the day Jack arrived (mostly), and I remember suddenly feeling very out of my depth. I can remember him being handed to me and looking down at him and thinking ‘who is that?’. It was like my mind and body couldn’t adjust that I had had a baby, that he was my baby, that he was my little baby boy who needed me. I can remember laying there holding him as the Doctor jumped up and down on my stomach to try and release the placenta that didn’t want to come out. I remember feeling like I had to hold on to him but all I could think was I wanted Jamie to take him because I was in agony. I remember the Doctor explaining that he was having difficulty breathing and that they needed to take him to neonatal to stabilize him.
He had come a month early and despite being told I couldn’t give birth like I wanted because of them needing to monitor him I didn’t adjust properly to the fact that might then mean he would need support. He was whisked away and I was left sobbing, all I could think was why didn’t I get that instant feeling of love? What is wrong with me? I have failed, he has come early and is now struggling because of me. Please let him be ok! This overhanging, overthinking everything lingered. For the next 6 days Jack stayed in neonatal, but within that time I was discharged and had to come home to a house filled with baby bits not holding my baby. Jamie didn’t seem to be worried, and that made everything so much worse because I didn’t feel like I could talk to him. Suddenly I felt so alone. I felt that I had to carry all these feelings and keep them quite because I had just had a baby and I should be over the moon. I shouldn’t be worrying and feeling sad.
No one ever talks about the fact you might feel this way, and so it seemed like I was the one who needed to get myself out of this, to shake off the negatives and embrace my beautiful baby boy. I loved him so much so why couldn’t I just roll with that, why did there have to be darker side. Slowly I became better at coping with how I felt, and to be honest I did this by taking every day as it came. Jamie was working ridiculous hours when we had Jack and we both saw very little of him, perhaps that had a role to play as well. Jack and I used to snuggle together a lot and had quite a few days where I couldn’t face going out but knew that was ok because to Jack I was his everything, and just being there for him was enough.
I never really talked to anyone else about how I felt after Jack, and honestly, I think that was the worst decision because if I had I’m sure I would have been met with others who felt the same and could have been supported through it. I only recently realized how dark my feelings got after Jack looking back now that I have had Teddy. I relapsed a little when I had Teddy but this time I knew it was happening. Sometimes I would nip to the bathroom just to cry (literally for no reason), but I seemed to be able to shake it off quicker, perhaps because my boys are my strength.
They are truly my world and Jack is so full of life and happy he picks me up even on my darkest of days. Jamie and I recently went on our first ever weekend away and I broke down. I cried my eyes out and finally, I opened up to him about how I have been feeling. He literally had no idea, which I think scared him. I had hidden such a massive part of my life from him because I didn’t want to bring him down or have to admit to someone else how I felt. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be ready to admit how I felt because I thought it was me admitting I failed as a Mummy but I am slowly beginning to see I didn’t fail, I felt this way because I wanted to be everything for the boys and that isn’t failing that is being a MUMMY!