It really is quite blissful having a first baby – you feel like you have given birth to a messiah and you are just blooming.
It really is so wonderful and you feel dreadfully special – like the world has chosen you to be the one – the one WHAT is still open to interpretation.
For me it was all soft and flowery around the edges and I felt like I was being carried around on a pedestal. Everyone smiled at me, and people drop by and bring you presents and congratulate you – it really is all quite good for one’s self-esteem.
I remember with such clarity when my lovely bubble burst. Connor was born in December so we had the benefit of a lot of holiday and Kennith took some time off work to cherish his new family (The family Walton’s theme tune plays in the background.)
Then one day, the sun came up, and he put on his work clothes and seemed to make movements that indicated he was going to be going somewhere. As the morning wore on, he picked up his car keys, gave me a peck on the cheek opened the front door and disappeared through it.
I remember how shocked I was as the car drove off – I was standing on our little stoep in my jammies holding this baby and wondering “what the hell do I do now.” I kept thinking this was some practical joke and he was going to turn around and come back saying “ha ha that was funny!!!” (er, not so much …..)
I came back inside looked at the clock on the wall and it was 7:05am – and I calculated that it was going to be 11 hours until Kennith walked back in the door at about 6:00pm. Who thought it was a good idea to leave ME alone with a baby? And more importantly WHAT was I going to do for 11 hours with a baby!! I was so scared and really felt quite lost.
True to form the day was chaos/scary and jammies seemed the easiest outfit to go with puke and spilt milk. It might be the crazy pattern that hides all the stuff you spill on yourself all afternoon.
The day stood before me as a great open crevasse of time. It soon got filled with feeding, burping, bum changing, making tea, more feeding, burping, bum changing and so on. Busy – but not terribly fulfilling – am I allowed to admit to that?
I really do love the sage advice people give you about sleep when the baby sleeps. It is such great advice, but I think anyone who has had a baby will be able to testify, even though the books say that a new born baby should sleep for 16 – 20 hours of a day, somehow it does not seem like that.
If they were sleeping for 20 hours, why are you not getting your 8 hours of sleep – why are you walking around like the zombie extra from the Thriller video?
If they sleep for 20 hours why are you not lying on the couch Nutella smeared sandwiches and watching the box set of Desperate Housewives? Because every insane new mother knows that they do not sleep for 20 hours – after three I still can’t tell you how much they actually sleep, but they definitely do not sleep for 20 hours.
Sleep is when you are in a coma like position and lie down and remain there for a few hours – babies do not do this!! I am lucky if I get 20 – 45 minute breaks from my baby, and that is only because I have been breastfeeding him for what feels like 3 hours to try and get him to be calm and be sleepy. Sure my nipples are about 5cm longer than when I started and throbbing like no-one’s business, but anything for some peace and quiet.
Really there is no sleep for the wicked and I realized this very early on in the relationship I was trying to forge with my son.
By the time 3pm swings round, I am watching that clock like a hawk and literally watching the minutes tick by in anticipate of Kennith walking through the door. By 5pm I am climbing the walls, and by 6pm I am in a rage.
Poor unsuspecting Kennith skips in from his little day at the office and I am the lead character in the Omen, and practically throw the baby at him – usually with a phrase like “Why the hell are you late?” or “Do you know what I have been through today?” Either way it is small wonder that our partners start to work that little bit later …. of course this tactic does nothing to calm our inner bitch and as the weeks tick by our rage does tend to turn towards our partners.
I recall thinking that “we” were in this together. Remember how “we” were pregnant?
Well I was pretty shocked when the “you” part of “we” toddled off to work and left me holding the baby. How come this has become MY problem when “we” were so much a part of this before.
It’s all quite shocking stuff, and really unless you have been there – difficult to imagine how absolutely lonely and desolate you feel.
It does pass – eventually – but not before you have made best friends with the wine bottle and the cork screw, maybe had a bit of therapy and if you are lucky some mind altering medication – maybe even have a go at couple therapy with a lovely therapist in Kenilworth …… ah happy times.