Recently a friend shared a photo of her baby's 1st birthday captioned "Best year of my life". I thought “Really? Wow. It was the worst year of mine." The specifics are for another time but suffice to say the 1st year of my baby’s life was traumatising.
Our bub cried & vomited A LOT. He screamed, his back arched, he twitched & writhed. He was always tense, even when asleep. I was so used to hearing him scream in pain that I was confused when other mothers described their anguish at getting vaccinations. That heartbreaking cry was my normal, I heard it all day & night.
Our baby had Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Meds helped but didn’t fix it. It was worse when he lay down, he associated sleep with pain. He woke every 2 hours for the first 8 months & then we hit the sleep regression. I didn’t think it could get worse. It did. He began waking every 30 min. It lasted two months.
I was on no sleep. My brain & body were in a constant state of alarm. I couldn’t form sentences or make decisions. I would physically shake & everything set me off. All of this amid COVID where the support services we thought we’d have access to were gone.
My family was amazing (esp my Mum and MIL) they stepped up & made life possible. Eventually we were prescribed more meds to help him sleep, thank goodness it worked. Six months later, things are getting better, but there are after-effects. I still get huge anxiety spikes anytime he cries, little things set me off & I need a quiet spot to breathe & calm down.
I think it's really important to be honest about the shit parts of motherhood too. I haven’t had brain space until now to be candid about how shit things were for us. But now that I do, I’m sharing it with the world.
Was his first year the hardest & worst year of my life? Yes. Do I love my child? Sure do. Am I a good mother? Yep.
Postnatal depression & anxiety are absolute bullshit. Support is essential. With the help of my husband, family, friends (real life & Instagram), psychologist &
the team @peachyparents things are looking up.