I never wrote much about the baby blues the first time around after I had Gavin. I suppose it felt a little too personal to write about on the web. So why am I writing about it now? I felt that if this blog is to be a true depiction of what motherhood is about, then it must encompass both the good and the bad. So here it is…
There are so many things that are different the second time around. Even my experience of “the baby blues” (if you can call it that) is different. I remember the first time after I delivered Gavin, the feelings of isolation were so intense that I was often desperate for company. It was odd because I have always been a person who enjoys the silence, the peace, the “alone” time. To suddenly feel abandoned when everyone went out to dinner and left me alone with the baby was entirely out of character for me. Then again, there were a lot of things about the experience of pregnancy that were entirely out of character. Isn’t it amazing what a few hormones can do to you?
They say that second pregnancies and deliveries are easier because the mother already knows what to expect. Well, from my personal experience, I feel inclined to disagree. My body ached more and I felt more tired. It was as if the memory of the first experience made everything worse. The postnatal experience, however, has definitely felt better. Perhaps because I already knew that I would often be eating alone and often be sitting in the room alone nursing the baby. The expectation was already there and I knew what was coming.
Perhaps because I have decided that this will be my last baby, I now relish the time I have with Gareth. I find myself enjoying the time I sit with him cuddling him and nursing him and no longer feel isolated. And now, I also have an ardent companion (my older son) who seeks to be glued to my side night and day so how could I possibly feel alone?
During my first postnatal experience, I remember the sense of panic I felt whenever anyone was leaving the house. “Where are you going? When are you coming back? Can’t you buy something back and eat it at home with me?” These were questions that were commonly on my lips and in my head. It was probably made worse by the fact that it was Chinese New Year and there were more reasons for the rest of the family to leave the house. Throw in the Chinese superstition that it isn’t good to visit a house with a woman in confinement and it was a real recipe for postnatal blues.
This time, my feelings of frustration have little to do with the fear of being left alone. This time, they revolve around Gavin and the changes in his relationship with me. With Gavin’s difficult behaviour escalating, I have found myself becoming less tolerant and more irritated by his behaviour. My ability to cope and take his behaviour into stride seem to be greatly reduced. There are times where I feel I have been unfair to him and it kills me to react in this manner. I feel like I am a terrible mother and yet, I cannot stop myself reacting this way.
I try to make up for it during the good moments but fear I must be sending such mixed signals to Gavin. I’m sure if he knew how to articulate it, he might even think his mother is bipolar.
So let’s hear it… Did you have the baby blues after delivery? How did it manifest itself? Was it bad? What did you do to cope with it?