Am I normal?

Some days are fine. Hell, some weeks are fine. And then there are days like today where I start crying and I don’t know why and I don’t know how to stop.

I love my baby. We wanted him. I wanted him. I still do. But I hate myself because I find looking after him, day after day, so hard. The days when we have things to do, places to go, those days aren’t too bad. But when we’re at home, and it’s just me and him, I count down the minutes until it’s nap time again, or bed time. And Toby isn’t even any trouble. He’s such a good boy. He hardly cries, he goes to sleep on his own whenever I put him in his cot. So why is it so god damn hard?

I’m on my own this weekend, which makes it worse. The weekend is my respite, it’s what gives me the strength to make it through another week. But this weekend my husband has gone to stay with his parents, because soon they are moving away from the town he grew up in, the house he grew up in, the place where his friends still live. And when I broke down in tears again last week he said he wouldn’t go. He said he would stay at home and help me. But I told him to go. I told him we’d be fine. I never want to be the wife whose husband isn’t allowed to go anywhere. Isn’t allowed to go out with his friends and have fun. And he needs a break too. He commutes for three hours a day to a job he doesn’t even like very much so that he can provide for us, and then at the weekends he often looks after our baby so I can have a break.

I’ve tried to talk to my husband about it. About the crying. But he wants me to explain what’s wrong so he can find a way to fix it. What’s wrong? I don’t know what’s wrong. Nothing is wrong. Everything is wrong. I’m tired. I’m sad. I miss me. I miss who I was before. I feel like I’m suffocating, drowning in the sea of responsibility. Knowing that it’s going to be years and years before I have any kind of freedom again.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to feel like this any more. I love my baby. I want to be happy and enjoy the time I spend with him. Maybe it will be better when I go back to work. But then I feel guilty for looking forward to the day when I don’t have to look after my own child all day, every day. That isn’t right. I should want to be with him. I do want to be with him. But I’m not coping. Not now. Not how it is now.

I don’t know if I should publish this. Who will it help? My husband will feel bad that he went away. That he doesn’t know how to help me. And that I’m telling the internet about my problems instead of talking to him. But I hate how he looks at me when I try and talk to him. Like I’m some fragile vase that he’s scared to break. I don’t want to be her. The woman who cries all the time. The woman who can’t look after her baby. I don’t want to be her. I want to be me again. The me I used to be was strong, and capable, and could cope with things. I don’t want to be the woman with post-natal depression.

Is that what this is? It is, isn’t it.


15 thoughts on “Am I normal?

  1. It definitely sounds like post partum depression. Don’t feel bad about talking about it. That’s the first step to getting better. I can totally relate, and yes it will get better when you return to work. But in the mean time, talk to your doctor about it. Don’t worry, being depressed doesn’t make you a bad mother. Especially since you’re trying to make things better. I didn’t look for help when it was post partum for me and it only got worse. Hang in there. 🙂 hugs.

  2. I don’t know whether it is PND, as there are a lot of different factors. What I can say is that, PND or not, the feelings you are describing are very, very normal. Having a child turns your world on its head. There is often an expectation for us just to “get on with it” without any grieving for the old life. And that really isn’t realistic.

    Unfortunately looking after a small child is often very boring and slightly isolating. You can’t have a conversation. The days are often deeply repetitive and you often feel as though you are treading water and going nowhere. And once again, guilt is sitting there ready to leap in – we put so much pressure on ourselves as if admitting that it is difficult and tedious is somehow wrong. It doesn’t make you a bad mum, or mean that you don’t love your child. Or even that we’re naive going in to motherhood. It just makes you an honest mum who is articulating what an awful lot of other mums are feeling too.

    I am definitely a better mum for going back to work. The same does not apply to everyone, but for me having some time out to devote to my profession and myself makes me a much better mum on the days that I do only that. It’s not wrong to look forward to going back to work. You’re striving to achieve a balance that is right for your family unit. No two families are the same, and no one should make you feel guilty about that.

    I think I may be rambling now, but I wanted to reach out because I totally get where yu are coming from. I think it does get easier – when you go back to work, when they grow up and interact more, and become more independent (although the challenges change then too!) Hang in there and keep talking about it in whatever way makes you the most comfortable. Letting it out is much healthier than doubting yourself inside. You will get through it xx

  3. In my experience hun it is.

    But it’s really not so bad honestly & it’s so good when you start to feel better & enjoy spending time with your baby!

    Everything you have said in your blog post, I’ve been there & felt it all.

    Do you have a good relationship with your HV you can speak to her or a GP?

    Always here if you want to talk or ask any questions etc.

    Sending you a MASSIVE hug xxxxx

  4. Yes it is PND and its perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. You are doing absolutely the right thing in publishing this and you absolutely have to speak to your health visitor/GP for some help. For you, for Toby, for your hubby, for your family. As with ‘normal’ depression, recognising you hAve an illness is the first brave, often scarey, often lonely step. So well done. Now please, please seek professional help. For what it’s worth, I do think you will begin to feel better on your return to work, once some of the inevitable working mum guilt subsides. I hope I haven’t offended you. Just trying to help. From one mummy to another mummy x

  5. I don’t know if it is PND… but whatever it is it is normal to feel like you are. I don’t cry but sometimes wish I did as it might make me feel temporarily better… just for a while anyway. Guilt is a big part of parenting, it honestly is. I’m glad you wrote this out as talking about problems can be cathartic and yes, we may be ‘the internet’ but we’re always here to listen and help. Maybe going to visit your gp to talk things through would help, but quite often just admitting how you feel is a huge leap to feeling more comfortable with it.
    sending lots of love xxxxxx

  6. I’m sorry, I have no words of wisdoms for you. But I wanted to send you a massive hug. Personally I think it does sound a little like PND. And honestly I think you have made a huge leap forward by publishing this. I hope you find help to feel better. I hope you find you again. She’s in there don’t forget. How ever deep down she’s hidden. God bless you. X x x

  7. Yep you’re completely normal and incredibly brave for writing a post like this and admitting how you feel. I think the majority of mums feel this way from time to time, having a baby is a massive life changing event.
    I like you used to go stir crazy when in the house so we literally went out everyday. When I was on mat leave I would attend every baby group going and have lots of coffee dates with friends in my diary.
    Then I went back to work and that’s when it stopped. For the time I am at work I am me again. Don’t get me wrong I love being a mama but I also used to love being me and when at work I can be my “old self”. It also really made me value my time at home so now my days off are jam packed with trying to make wonderful memories with my son. Who also goes stir crazy when at home all day, no matter what the weather we are out in it. 🙂
    The occasional down day/week is perfectly normal but when the weeks run into months it might be time for help.
    Post natal depression can be a terribly lonely place but it doesn’t have to be as there is lots of support available.
    Love your blog xx

  8. Hi, I am no expert in PND but I just wanted to say that I can totally relate to how you are feeling. I felt so overwhelmed after having my daughter. It is all consuming and very hard work. Apart from the first few days I didn’t cry but I was bored, overwhelmed, tired, despairing. Fresh air always helped me and like others I did like going off to work. I do think you should have a chat to your doctor. Don’t beat yourself up anymore! Good luck x x

  9. I know I’ve certainly felt like this at times. I find I become overly emotional especially when I’m tired, so I try to make sure I get enough sleep, easier said than done I know! If you are asking yourself if you need help, then you possibly do. And for your husband – sometimes it is just too hard to talk to the people closest to you, I know I feel like that. Hopefully just writing this will have helped you ‘unload’ a little bit x

  10. I feel exactly the same as you do. Some days, even weeks I’m perfectly fine, then one day it’s like I come spiralling back down to the ground with a big thump. I’ve wondered myself if I’m suffering with PND. I try and talk to my partner but he just doesn’t know what to say or do. He wants to fix it but I don’t know what’s causing the emotions in order for them to be fixed. It feels like a vicious circle. I love my boy to bits and I don’t regret having him one bit but I miss me, and I’m just not me anymore. Thanks for writing this. I have a few posts unpublished that I wish I had the confidence just to get out there. To have someone comment and tell me I’m not alone.

  11. Well done you. Well done for being so honest and writing what so many will be thinking.
    I’m not an expert in PND but I would suggest maybe just talking to your doctor. Maybe talking to them or another healthcare professional will help? Hopefully things will get easier for you. Big hugs xx

  12. I really feel for you. I often feel like I can’t bear the grind any more. When I went back after my first at 11 months, I was so happy I almost skipped to the train station. I was upset and guilty and missed him, too, but as long as they’re happy in their childcare setting, including, on a small scale, leaving Toby with your husband for couple of hours, then it is fine and normal to feel relieved to have the weight lifted off your shoulders for however long. Take care.

  13. This is a very brave post, well done you!
    I think absolutely you did the right thing publishing it, I hope that in some way it helped you by getting it all out there.
    Its lovely to read all the comments of support you have received too.

    I am not expert on this, but I can say that I have days where I feel like this too. Being home alone with a baby all day is often really really hard. I think we build up this dream of glorious time bonding with the baby but at this age there is only so much interaction that can really go on…’s still very much a one way street!
    Its great that your husband is so supportive and wants to help you I totally understand you not wanting to be the fragile little wife though.
    I’m not going to even try to pretend to know what to suggest what your next step should be but I hope you are doing well and that today is a good day for you

  14. Oh love, I don’t have any advice for your but I’m convinced that you ARE normal. That’s not to say you shouldn’t seek help from your GP, but I do think that lots of mothers feel this way. It’s just that not many of them admit it because it makes us feel guilty. I for one am very reluctant to talk about the difficult parts of motherhood because I’m so afraid of appearing ungrateful when there are people who struggle to conceive at all. We do need to be honest about these feelings though – motherhood is not just about cuddles and smiles, and if you feel you need help you shouldn’t feel guilty about asking for it. Not asking for help when M was a baby was the biggest mistake I could have made. Now I wonder what I was so afraid of! Others’ judgement? Who cares!
    I have to say though, going back to work has helped. I felt horrendously guilty at first but M is very happy at his nursery. We all have the right to be more than a one-dimensional person: mummy, employee, whatever. x

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