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This time last year I was looking after my then 3 week old. It was a time of emotional up heal – scary, awestruck, lonely, loving, despair. My feelings where jumping around from one high to a very low, low. I was madly in love with my son, but at the same time was scared of some of the sleep deprived thoughts I had. What I wouldn’t admit to myself, yet alone my husband was that I was suffering from post natal depression (PND).

 

I was ashamed to admit, to myself, my family and my  OB that I wasn’t coping, that I was finding it extremely difficult, that I was scared of my feelings. I thought that I had to be super women. Someone who could do it all – look after a newborn, keep the house clean and tidy,  keep up a fitness regime to lose the pregnancy weight gain and just be a happy, sunny person.

 

Did all that happen? NO. I felt like such a massive failure. The baby took up all my time, and I hated the emotional thoughts that came along with that. I was snappy at my husband all the time, would turn on him at any given moment for no excusable reason. I just wanted to lash out and he was it.

 

I felt like a massive failure with breast feeding. I felt inferior, how could I not give my son the best thing for him. I dismissed all the surrounding circumstances that led to me not being able to breast feed and just blamed myself for failing, letting my son down. It took a good 4 months for me to realise that formula feeding isn’t a bad thing, and I was giving my son the most important sustenance to thrive – nourishment.

 

I fear that this is going to repeat itself when this new baby comes along. This time, I’m learning from my lessons. I am going to speak to my OB about managing PND. If I have problems breastfeeding this time round, I’m not going to mentally punish myself, my now 12 month old is not sick or deprived or less bonded with me, due to formula. Women place too much pressure on each other. Let’s stop stigmatising women who can’t breast feed and start acknowledging and praising that they are doing the right thing.

 

I’m also strategising on how to keep a tidy house (very different from clean) with the minimal time I’ll have while looking after a demanding 14 month old and a new born, I’ve talked this over with my husband, we’re going to try it but this time, without the pressure. If it doesn’t pan out I’ll have to tolerate some mess, until there is more time on the weekend to clean the house.

 

Which I must admit is going to be difficult for me. I’m a control freak. I like to control things and make sure they come out as to how I expect them to.

 

The lessons I’m taking away as my experience as a first time mum is this – you cannot plan for and expect things to go as planned. It will be a new journey, if embraced and expectations are thrown out the window, this time round, this journey will be different and more so challenging than the first. As long as I’m honest to myself, respectful to myself and my family and loving to myself and my family then that’s all that matters.

 

Remembering to “Love and Respect”.