Nicola, age 26
1 Pregnancy, 1 Birth
1 Year PP
When I was pregnant, I really believed that I was going to enjoy motherhood. I was sure that I had prepared myself as much as one can. When my baby was born, of course it was difficult from the start. Not only was I recovering from a forceps birth with episiotomy, but I was trying to adjust to life with a newborn. I kept telling myself it would get easier, and believing that it would was the only thing really carrying me through.
It has been a year since my baby’s birth and I sometimes wonder if I might be depressed. I try so hard to be a good mom, but I still don’t feel like the mother I would like to be. My baby has been slowly cutting teeth, one after the other for over six months. She was actually a better sleeper at 8 weeks old. My heart sinks when she wakes up from a nap sooner than I’d like, because all I can think of is how tired I am and how I don’t know how to fill the rest of our day. She is so clingy and gets upset if I leave the room. She hardly ever plays by herself. I can’t even prepare a meal in the kitchen without her hanging off my legs. We have not taken a family vacation since she was born and I have no plans to return to work. My husband works in another state and is home for maybe one week out of the month. He is not on a set schedule so we never really know when he’ll get to come home. If I got a job I would see even less of him than I already do. I feel useless because I don’t make any money of my own.
My mother is of help to me, but she oversteps boundaries all the time. She acts like my baby’s mom sometimes which drives me crazy. I feel resentful and annoyed and yet, I hardly see any of my friends… so if I get lonely enough, I’ll pack up the baby and go to her house. I feel like I only go to her house, the grocery store, and once a week playgroup. I really need to do something for myself, but at the end of my day, I just have a cry, finish up housework, shower, and go to sleep. Then my baby wakes up a few times throughout the night. She doesn’t eat at night, and I don’t go in unless I sense something is wrong… and yet she still wakes up.
I am at the point of exhaustion. I can’t tell my husband how I really feel because he makes me feel guilty. My mom downplays my emotions so I try not to complain around her. I just feel like being a mother has consisted of a lot of shitty days, and not very many good ones. I started out with such high hopes and a good attitude but lately these things have wavered. Before my daughter was born, all I could think of was the kind of mother I would be, and how I could protect my child from at least some of the things that I went through. Now I wonder if I will ever be able to pick myself up and do right by her.
I don’t tell any of my friends about this. To them, I have a great life and a lot of knowledge to share. I was lucky and went back to my old shape after a month. I know that a lot of them are jealous that I don’t have to go back to work… I know how it must look. We have a pretty nice house and my husband brings in an exceptional income. If I see something for my baby, I don’t think, I just buy. So you see, we have it pretty good. This could be why I don’t feel like I can complain. I’ve watched Teen Mom and I can see how dire a Mother’s situation can become, but I still feel down and sorry for myself a lot of the time. I think if I had a hobby, or a part time job, ate better, and got a better quality of sleep, I could have my good attitude back and be a better mom. At the moment, I can’t pick myself up! It sucks big time! And yet, I reach ovulation every month and all I can think about is how badly I want to get pregnant again! What a mind-fuck. That would be the worst thing we could do right now. And yet those silly hormones make me believe I could manage with two. As if.
Giving birth was the biggest event of my life, and I’ve sort of felt this… let down ever since.