Sunday, 20 February 2011

Being A Mommy - week 1 part 2

When you are alone with the baby, things are not good.

Things are in a constant state of panic and agitation.  You can’t settle, rest or relax.  And most of all, you want your old life back.  It’s not that you wish harm on your baby or wish her to cease to exist, you just want this to NOT be your reality.

You throw out a comment about adoption to see how it goes down.  The movie star boyfriend, with typical sensitivity, tells you you should have thought of that before you got pregnant.  Harsh, very harsh, but who is there to tell you these things ?  This is how the whole Silence of the Sisterhood started – a conspiracy of fertility, sacrifice and resignation.  No one tells you how hard it is, no one.  So how the hell are you supposed to know you can’t cope with it?

You know it’s bad for several reasons –
·         You’re not eating.  For someone who loves food more than almost anything, this is always a bad sign
·         When you are forced to eat, you eat Pot Noodle.  Since you have always described this as less nutritious than cardboard, it is a very very bad sign.
·         In the night, when you can’t sleep because you are waiting for the baby to wake up (how sick and ironic is that) you wonder what would happen if the roof accidentally collapsed.  Not on your room, just the baby’s.

That’s my sickest confession.  I really did think that once.  And I didn’t even consider it worryingly wrong.

Bizarrely, it’s the little things that save you.  A control freak by nature, I find that if I write down exactly how much Beth has drunk, I will be able to predict how long she will sleep.  This gives me a measure of control over my day and makes life feel less random.  The victory is small, but valuable.

Big Brother.  Seriously.  It’s the year the Scottish religious one wins, and E4 is streaming it live, 24/7.  In a world where nothing exists except the baby, this stupid show becomes my family, my friends and my neighbours.  If I keep the TV on, I feel less alone.  I don’t talk to them (I am after all depressed, not mad) but just having them there, talking bollocks, keeps me a teeny bit sane.  Go figure.

It takes about 6 weeks for the breakthrough.  On the edge and at a loss, I beg my auntie if she would love the chance to have Beth for the weekend.  She gladly jumps at the chance and I immediately feel something like opium soothe through my veins.  All week I countdown to the magical moment, and actually talk to my daughter, telling her exciting things about her trip.  Eagerly, I bundle her into the car, and it’s not til she’s all the way down the road and out of sight that I realise what a very very wrong thing I have done.  I am consumed with guilt at the selfishness of what I have done and what I have put my daughter through (I’m sure she’s having a blast with her auntie, but that’s not the point).  I am overcome by a ridiculous urge to travel 50 miles and bring her back, and that, my friend, is when I finally accept I am a mother.  Standing there on the side of the road, forlorn at the departure of my innocent baby girl I feel like the lowest form of shit and know, just know, that I have to be better.  She is innocent, pure and innocent, and unless I want to scar her for life, I must stop wallowing and crack on with this motherhood shit.

2 interesting asides to the story –
Part of sending Beth away for the weekend was to spend more time with Shaun, who promptly came home, didn’t notice she’d gone, decided we’d watch a film I didn’t want to see, and then feel asleep halfway through ...

And the next time my aunt and uncle visited, I was actually holding Beth.  It’s one of the saddest moments in my life that his immediate reaction was not “hello”, but to say “well done, that’s the first time I’ve seen you holding Beth.”  Tears, sometimes they flow, and sometimes they really flow.

The drugs do work.  They started to stabilise me and helped me take baby steps with my baby.  They helped me resolve not to cry in front of Beth, however shitty I was feeling, because she did not deserve it.  They helped me want to be the mother she deserved, however inadequate I was, and eventually, they helped us decide to move to Lincolnshire, so that I could have a network of real people to support me, not just Big Brother.

That’s not to say the next 2 years were easy – they weren’t – but loving my baby became infinitely easier, and far easier than loving my movie star boyfriend.
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