ย 

THE GUILT OF AN IVF MOTHER

7 weeks into motherhood

This week I've had to cancel so many plans (I know! Who has that many plans at the start of an eased lockdown?) But I have, even basic ones for myself like doing a food shop or doing some laundry. Who knew you'd have to make time to strip your bedding and put it in the machine and hang it on the line ๐Ÿ™„


We wanted to be a family so very much but at times we are mourning the life we once had! Dramatic much?!


All the lie ins we took for granted, the freedom to binge watch a TV show without having to pause it several times to sooth a crying baby. To drink too much wine in an evening and not have any responsibility but to sleep it off before morning. To meet a friend at a specific time and not have to text them to say "sorry, going to be late because my baby is kicking off and I can't get him in the car."


Even the freedom to have an hour to write a simple blog post! It's taken me several attempts over the week and I've been dying to get my thoughts out of my head!


Sounds depressing doesn't it? And that's why I have extreme guilt.


It's so hard to make the transition into motherhood and have a tiny human being be so dependent on you for survival. To an outsider it sounds simple, they need comfort, food, sleep and nappy changes. But it's constant. The only form of communication they have is to cry and it's panic inducing! It's also really easy to forget the comfort part. A cry means they need something so you check a nappy, you get your nipples out ready to feed or try to sooth them to sleep but sometimes all they want is to be picked up and reminded they are safe now they're no longer in the warmth of your womb. And for me it's at this precise moment that the guilt kicks in. There's nothing practical about a cuddle, they just want you, to be near you, to smell you, to have you envelope them in your safety. And then you remember just how tiny they are and just how little they realise about this new world they have entered. They have so much to learn!


And all the while you think it's your responsibility to teach it to them. Paranoid if you'll get it right and generally living day to day in survival mode. It's a luxury these days to have a shower.


I love Freddie so much that it frightens me on occasions. Frightens me in that I just couldn't live without him now that he's here. His tiny hands clutching at my fingers remind me of his innocence and his incessant need to be on my chest to fall asleep makes me melt.


BUT it also makes me feel trapped.


To be able to get up off the sofa and pop my mug in the dishwasher is all I want to do some days and sometimes I can't put him down long enough to be able to do that! And it's not out of choice! Particularly when holding him is the only thing that will stop him crying or losing his absolute shit!


There are some days that you think you've nailed it. He's in a great mood, sleeps on a schedule, you get some chores done, go for a nice walk with him in the pram and maybe meet a friend. You've got the nappy changes down to a fine art, whipping them off and freshening up without any issue. Then there are other days when it feels like everything is going wrong and you convince yourself he's doing it on purpose. He screams all day, he feeds too often, he's sick constantly and you're on outfit change number 5 because his poos keep leaking out the side of his nappy. The whipping off of the nappies has become a tentative peek before a fountain of wee ends up all over your jeans. So you resign yourself to the fact that you won't be leaving the house today because it's easier just to stay there and survive. The time disappears with Freddie. Before you know it, it's 8pm and you're ready for bed. Not that I'm wishing my days away with him. I want him to stay tiny forever.


I made the decision to breast feed while I was pregnant. Or at least I knew I wanted to try it. The old adage of "breast is best" and the fact that the midwives were huge advocates for it but also because this might be the only time I get to try it so why not? For the most part I'm enjoying it. It's so convenient to whip a boob out rather than stress about sterilising bottles and taking a whole kit with me if I want to leave the house. I'm cool with getting my boobs out in the park if I have to (as pictured). But I'm even more cool with mums doing whatever makes them and the baby happy. Around 3 weeks ago we started combination feeding which for us means that Tom does an early night bottle feed with formula which means I can go to bed early and get a block of uninterrupted sleep. Designed to be around 5 hours to help me cope with the remainder of the night feeds but at the moment I'm lucky to get 4! Freddie feeds anywhere between every 1.5-3 hours and that's 1.5 hours from the start of a feed. So for example, if he feeds at 8am, he'll want feeding again at 9.30am. Factor in that it can take around 45 minutes to feed and wind him and you have got yourself 45 minutes sleep before we wakes again ๐Ÿ˜ญ those nights are the worst. The first time we combo fed he took the bottle and slept for 5 hours afterwards, we thought there was something wrong! For us it was heaven to get that amount of sleep uninterrupted. That's why we continued with it thinking we'd made ourselves a routine... Remember routines?


Friends with babies tell us it gets easier after 3 months. I hope they're not fucking lying just to be kind right now. I have heard it gets easier when they can start telling the difference between night and day and so sleep for longer periods. Here's praying.


For anyone reading this, you're probably thinking, what the fuck? She's got everything she wants and even that's not good enough for her. I know I used to read blogs like this from new mums and think them so ungrateful for their situation. I'd have given anything to swap with them and be changing dirty nappies. I would hate those women for living the life I wanted. I was insanely jealous. And now here I am.


The truth is, I love being a mum. Having Freddie snuggle into me when he wants comforting feels like absolute heaven, it's made me cry on several occasions (we'll blame the lack of sleep). His tiny toes make me melt on a daily basis. I love watching him grow and start to discover the world around him. My favourite thing right now is to watch him gaze into Tom's face and give a little smile like he knows exactly who is Daddy is. Particularly when Tom is wailing Abba at him at the top of his lungs trying to get him to sleep ๐Ÿ˜‚ My life is literally complete that the thought of losing Freddie in any way has become my biggest fear in life.


But that's why I get the guilty feeling, I should be insanely grateful every single day, but it's hard and I guess I just wanted to share that. I shouldn't be allowed to feel hard done by or complain because this is what we wanted and we're living it. We literally put our lives on hold to make him and it was really tough for a while so why are we complaining?


I think it's partly down to the pressure. Maybe every new parents feel this way regardless of how they're conceived? Maybe nothing or nobody can truly prepare you for the challenge that is parenthood and you're totally valid in how you feel whatever that might be?


I'm so happy, but I'm tired and I'd just love to have a bath, by myself, without counting down the seconds to the next feed ๐Ÿ˜ณ


Tom went out to play tennis with a friend this week, he was gone for 3 hours and I was so madly jealous. The downside to breastfeeding is I can never really leave Freddie for long periods of time. I'm his meals on legs, literally.


Thanks for reading if you made it this far without hating me! ๐Ÿ’•

151 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
ย