It broke my heart to see you crying today. But also, I was glad. I was glad that you let it all out, and I was glad that you could be so honest and open about how you’re feeling.
The last time I saw you, you were about 20 weeks pregnant. You were nervous, as all expectant mums would be. With a young child already, you knew that things might be difficult sometimes with a new baby, and we laughed about my own trials and tribulations with 2 small kids! In hindsight, I wish I had told you how emotional the first few months had been for me. I wish I had told you that there will be days when it all just feels a little bit… well, shit.
Seeing you cry today took me back to those first few days, weeks, and months. Hearing you say “Some days I just don’t like my son anymore” reminded me of the subtle ways that my own daughter’s behaviour changed in those first weeks. Yes, they were subtle, but they felt like huge changes. It felt like she was punishing me. I felt like I had let her down by bringing my new bundle into our home.
People told me that she was bound to act up. It was natural for her to feel like she was losing out. It was understandable, she had gone from having our undivided attention to suddenly having to share us. But none of that made me feel any better, in fact it made feel worse. Why should she lose out? Why should she have to share our attention? I was failing her, and I didn’t know how to fix it.
Every time someone came to visit the baby, they brought my daughter a present, so that she didn’t feel left out. But that only made her behaviour worse; for a short time she became selfish and spoiled – things she had never really been before.
“When I’m at home, just me and the baby, everything’s fine”
I continued to take my daughter to nursery 3 days a week, and the relief I felt when I dropped her off on those mornings was tangible. I felt my whole body relax. I get it, I really do.
I wanted to write you this letter to tell you that it’s ok. I have no words of wisdom, nothing that will make the way you’re feeling go away. All I can tell you is that it’s ok.
It’s ok that you feel like shit right now. You just birthed a human, a tiny little person. Give your body the time it needs. It’s ok that parenting is anything but fun right now. It’s ok that your son is behaving like a shit, and it’s ok that you don’t know how to deal with that yet. It’s ok if you haven’t managed to get any washing done, and it’s ok to close your eyes to the mess. It’s ok if you live on toast and chocolate for just a little while longer.
More than all of that, most importantly; it’s ok to cry. Cry some more if you feel like it. Cry when you’re asked how it’s going, when you’re asked how you’re feeling. You will not be judged, you will be hugged. Those around you who matter will know to tell you; It’s ok.
You’re not alone in this, even if you feel like you are. And the one thing I can promise you is that you will find your rhythm. Eventually it will happen; you might not even notice it happening, but one day you will look back to these first weeks and months and realise that you got through it.
*Names have been changed.
This post first appeared on Happy New Mum