All I ever wanted to be was a Mommy. Growing up, my biggest fear was that I couldn’t have children – silly really, as I was still just a child myself. By the time we got married I was so broody it was ridiculous (I was only 20)! We first got fish in an attempt to keep it at bay, then hamsters and then 2 beautiful Labradors. Although I loved all those pets (well maybe not the fish), they just didn’t fill the gap that I had. It was so bad that we would go to friends with kids and I would come home and cry because of the longing that I had – I was borderline crazy.
Seth and I spoke about kiddies on numerous occasions and although he wanted to be a Daddy one day, he didn’t want that one day to be so soon. We decided to set the typical “5 year plan” into motion. We completely milked being alone! We went out every single night (before the dogs arrived on the scene). We were so busy with Sunday School, church, family and friends that we had to book dates like 3 weeks in advance. It was a glorious time of doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted with whoever we wanted. We were also fortunate enough to both be earning a fairly decent salary and literally did whatever we wanted with it – we did save a bit but we could have been far more responsible.
Why am I mentioning all of this? Well I want to just set the scene of how our life together was before Kyla.
We had not decided officially to “start trying” but Seth was warming up to the idea of kiddies now (only 2 years into the 5 year plan), mostly because I was bugging him. Enter pregnancy test number 2, done on the sly as the first one had said negative, but I was convinced that I was in fact pregnant. The appearance of those 2 little lines had us both in hysterics, we both laughed at first when I surprized Seth with the news (by jumping on him while he was sleeping). Then we sat in silence just staring at each other for a long time, taking in what this actually meant. We have a little person growing inside me! Our own little person!!! Over the moon is an understatement of notable proportions! I was ecstatic!
Needless to say the feelings of broodiness dissipated as God grew this beautiful Peanut in my belly. We had long chats of how our lives were going to change, picturing playing at the park, building sand castles on the beach and cuddling this gift that we had received. In anticipation of our Peanut we bought clothes, did up the baby room, read infinite amount of books and questioned friends on their experience. With all this done – enter Kyla Isabella Alfino on 14 July 2009.
On my first night alone with Kyla in hospital I just stared at her and cried out of pure happiness to be holding this perfect child that God had given us to raise. I prayed and rejoiced, thanking Jesus and asking Him to help us to be godly parents that will bring Kyla up in the knowledge of Him and that she would ultimately come to know Him as her personal saviour. Besides that, I prayed over and over that we would be good parents in other aspects too and that the first few weeks would be easy.
On my first night not alone with Kyla at home, I just stared at her and cried but because of a total fear of what the heck do I do now. I so clearly remember coming home and trying so hard to get Kyla to breastfeed. After hours of us both in tears we resorted to formula feeding (more on that in The B Word). Those first few weeks were hectic. I was not prepared for this. Everyone that I had spoken to before, never mentioned any of what I was going through. They had said it was hard – but without examples of what “hard” was, I was totally out of my depth with this child and she didn’t even have colic. None of the books that I had read really helped either – I think they just made it worse by saying all these things that I should be doing but that just weren’t happening.
One night stands out so clearly in my mind. Now if you don’t know me and even if you do, you would probably not be aware that sleep is like gold to me. For me to function like a nice, happy, clear thinking human I would have to get like 10 hours sleep every night… So… I had fed Kyla her bottle at like 1 or 2 in the morning, which I was doing most nights now, except for weekends, as Seth was back at work. She took an hour to eat her bottle and then just would not settle. After 3 hours we were both crying and crying. I punched Seth awake (who was sleeping peacefully next to me – how that was possible I will never know) to get him to take over. He literally stood up and rocked her for a minute. She went to sleep, he lay down and was snoring in 2 minutes. I was so pissed off that I just cried and cried and cried myself to sleep – after kicking Seth a couple of times to get him to stop snoring.
In those first few weeks I often thought “Why the HECK did we do this – I don’t want to do this anymore”. When I expressed this to Seth he got mad with me, saying that I was the one that wanted this child in the first place and how could I feel that way about our adorable baby girl (I hadn’t realised yet that he was also going through some things himself). It somehow confirmed in my mind that I was the only person in the world that must have ever felt this way. Plus Kyla was actually such a good baby! From 4 weeks she only woke up once a night and slept through from 8 weeks – so how could I even justify feeling like this?! When I really started wondering how I could think like this, especially after this being such a desire of mine for so long – I realised I was a terrible mommy and an even worse person.
It got particularly bad when Seth went back to work. I was all alone EVERY DAY. I had no car so I couldn’t get around. None of the other new mommies that I was friends with on Facebook (my only connection with the outside world) seemed to be going through what I was. At night I would often get the urge to just put her down on the floor or wherever and just leave her there, put on earphones and sleep in peace. I never actually did it and that is only because in those times I just prayed for patience and sought the amazing support that I got from Seth, who took over whenever I felt frazzled. One day I got a Facebook chat from an old primary school friend who asked me how it was going. She told me that she also felt “blue” after the birth of her baby and that it does go away. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t alone. Suddenly I could handle it much better.
After knowing that it was “normal” I could tell Seth what was really going on with me and we would constantly talk about how we were feeling. This only took like 2 or 3 weeks, but it was 2 or 3 weeks that could have been better. I cannot stress enough about how Seth helped me, emotionally physically and mentally. Without him I probably would have crumbled.
So basically the reason for this post is to prepare any new Mommies to be but also to hopefully help anyone that is currently struggling with feelings like these. Obviously if you feel like you could hurt your child or yourself, you need to seek some proper help, but if you ever just want to chat about how you are feeling with someone that has experienced it, please don’t hesitate to contact me.