This is something I find I ask myself pretty much daily. Ask me 5 years ago and I probably would have cringed at the thought of having a baby – we definitely weren’t ‘baby people’. But as soon as I turned 26 its like my ovaries started throbbing every time I saw a baby onesie in Target. Chloe was no oopsie, we had troubles conceiving due to my dodgy reproductive system and Brett being away so often didn’t help with lining up my very irregular ovulation cycles with the baby making. But after a year and a half we finally got lucky, I know it can take couples a lot longer than this even with the male working and living in the same place so I do consider us very lucky in that regard.
Now I’m sorry to those that didn’t or aren’t having a fun pregnancy (much love Minty) but I really loved being pregnant. I would joke at work that I had such an easy pregnancy I was bound to have a horrific labor or a terrible child, I am just not that luck to have everything go perfect. Now I’m not saying Chloe is a terrible child, well not all the time anyhow, but my labor was pretty easy – 3 hours, no drugs (no time), it fucking hurt but it was quick and I came out of it with a few stiches but otherwise unscathed. I had a perfect healthy baby, 10 fingers and 10 toes and just cute as a button. Then it was time to take our bundle of joy home, oh that’s when the fun really starts.
I, like all new parents, worried about everything in those first few months – was she drinking enough, was she getting enough sleep, was she stimulated enough, was she over stimulated, am I holding her neck right, is there too much dust in the air where she sleeps – you know, the normal crazy shit new mums go insane over. The first few months are kind of a blur but I will never forget the day after (or the day of – that shit was intense) my husband went back to work for the first time. Chloe was nearly 5 weeks old and all of a sudden she started to scream bloody murder for the duration of her feed every feed. I googled until my finger tips had calluses and most of what I came across said Reflux (or in Chloe’s case Silent Reflux as she wasn’t a spewer). For those that don’t know Silent Reflux is when refluxed material flows back into the esophagus, but isn’t forced out of the mouth. It sits in the esophagus and causes pain – similar to heartburn for adults. I wont go into the details of the endless methods I tried to make Chloe more comfortable while feeding, I’m sure I have a word limit of some kind, but things got pretty miserable. Chloe would scream in pain and I couldn’t do anything to help her, Brett was at work up North and I rarely got more than a few minutes a night to talk to him due to poor reception at camp, and as my luck would have it my parents planned a last minute trip to Bali at the same time as Brett going back to work (it was a much deserved break so no hard feelings ma and pa). My sister helped where should could but she has a litter of kids herself and a partner that works away also so I didn’t want to rely on her with her being in the same boat.
And so I spiraled into mumsanity. I would google every day what I could try to combat the Silent Reflux, I spent hundreds of dollars on pediatrician appointments, Ngala day stays, different bottles, formulas, medicines (prescription and natural) all of which never really worked for Chloe. I went crazy trying new things every couple of days all because of the copious amounts of recommendations on the internet. I felt like I was an inadequate mother as I didn’t know how to make my baby better – my only job was to keep her safe and love her but I couldn’t even do that because I was consumed with thinking there was something terribly wrong and I had to fix it. I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.
Now 7 months on and the clouds have cleared I can see what drove me crazy, it was me. It was the continuous doubt, second guessing, stubbornness to listen to my motherly instinct and fear of asking for help. There’s no handbook for mothering, you can take what you want from the information your given but at the end of the day you just have to listen to your baby, trust that you can do it and ask for help if you need it (I’m still working on the asking for help part but I’ll get there). Don’t get me wrong, we still definitely have bad days and I don’t expect any less now that we are hitting teething and tot-tantrums (or pre toddler tantrums) but I’m feeling a lot less crazy, google is no longer my top visited site on my web browser and I am definitely enjoying motherhood. I still worry about everything, like the ties on the cot bumper and if she’ll get them untied and roll herself up in the bumper and suffocate, but that’s totally normal for any parent so I’m ok with it. And I’m still definitely crazy but I’m ok with that too.