One of the real breakthrough moments for me in my journey with postnatal depression over the past few months was when I realised that Kate and the depression were two very separate things. Yes, the fact that Kate had colic, and was a difficult, angry, feisty little baby was hard, and didn’t help but even if she had been quiet and placid and sleepy I would have still felt the same. More sleep would have made a bit of a difference but the anxiety and roller coster style ups and downs would have still been there.
After I had Piran it took me a long time to bond with him in the way I had expected to immediately. I have always put that down to the scare of him being in Special Care just hours after birth and the fact that I held back, didn’t want to love him until I knew he would be okay. I know I have written about this before but somewhere along the line I fell deeply in love with my little boy and suddenly I understood what everyone else had been going on about.
Then we had Kate. And yes, I felt happy and elated when I had her, and walking out of the hospital on the same day was just amazing. Then I got home and realised that I had no idea how to look after a newborn baby even though she was my second as for the first week with Piran most of it was handled by the SCBU nurses. Then she started crying and didn’t really stop until she was nearly five months old.
I am not sure how we made it through that time. I know for sure that it wasn’t easy and that we are still getting over it. I was so focussed on getting through each day and trying to make our baby girl as happy as I could that I didn’t realise for a long time that I didn’t yet have those feelings. I would have done anything for her from the minute that she was born but it never seemed natural.
I was up in the night with Kate two days ago and as I stood in her room, holding her, rocking her, murmuring into her ear with her hair tickling my nose as I placed tiny soft kisses on her cheek I suddenly felt it. That point deep in my belly that makes me feel like hugging her and holding her all the time. Pride and love and bubbles in my stomach that feel like they burst when I hear her laugh. So much love I am not sure what to do with it.
I wonder now if this is just my way. That I am a slow burner when it comes to these things. Now that it has happened twice I am not so concerned at all. In a way this delayed reaction helped me get through the last few months. I have trouble hearing Kate cry at all these days but in the beginning I had to listen to it for hours on end. I have always been happy to leave my children with their dad, or grandparents or at nursery and walk away and have me time. Perhaps this delayed reaction really helped with that (and in turn helped me keep my sanity).
Or perhaps it is just as I have suspected that I am not really a baby person at all. Obviously I liked my babies but now she is nine months old and can interact with us, shout and laugh and clap and follow me it is nothing short of amazing. I always say that I don’t want to wish her baby days away but actually I suspect I really do! I am fairly sure that this is my last baby, and if my theory is correct, and babies are not my thing then I shouldn’t be getting broody round any newborn babies any time soon.
Mind you, if you see me looking wistfully at toddlers can you remind me how much I really love sleep?