New Mum Stories Guest Post – Me vs She

Hello and welcome to my new guest post series New Mum Stories. This weeks post is from the lovely Mouse, Moo & Me Too  

This is a lovely heartfelt post that I’m sure many of us can relate to at the start of our motherhood journey.

Mouse Moo & Me Too

Me vs She

“You look like you’ve got such a strong bond with her. You have, haven’t you? You’ve bonded with her?”
 
The question hangs in the air for a moment. I’m at my six-week post-natal check with Mouse, just over three years ago. We sit in the doctor’s room on the top floor of the busy practise. She is a locum, and she doesn’t remember me from a few years previously, when I was a patient at another surgery and terrified that I had skin cancer. She’s kinder now, softer, but still I don’t feel that I can be honest. “Oh, definitely.” I reply. 
 
I think I have bonded with her. I can feel her without looking at her – I sense when she’s awake even if she’s not in the same room, her smell is permanently on my skin, I know each and every little noise that she makes. And yet, in my very darkest hours when my body is begging for sleep, I resent her. There. It’s out. I resent her for changing my life so completely, like taking an immaculately organised drawer of treasures and upending it all over the floor. The treasures are still there, but not in their right place, and some of the really fragile pieces may have broken with the trauma and I don’t know if they can be fixed.
 
Suddenly, she dictates everything. When I sleep, wake, eat, wash, leave the house, sit down, return home. I can’t have a conversation with my husband unless she is otherwise engaged with milk or asleep. I miss him. We’ve barely been married for a year and most of that saw me pregnant and changing. I don’t know how to be his wife without also sustaining another person. I feel so much pressure. I need to shift this baby weight. I need to meet new people. I need to socialise with the people I’ve already met. I need to join groups. I need to maintain the house and have a meal on the table for 6pm. 
 
What I really need is to sleep. To lay down. To ask someone for help. To not have to pretend that I’ve got this. To admit that I don’t know what I’m doing.
 
At my lowest point, I hand her to my husband and say, “There was nothing even wrong with us before. We were fine, just us two. Why did we ever think a baby was a good idea? I don’t even want her.” I don’t even want her. I actually said that. I can remember exactly where I was stood when I said it, in our old kitchen, with the fake marble floor tiles cold against my feet despite the June warmth. Two plates were in front of me, I was trying to assemble dinner. I don’t even want her.
 
She takes, without shame. Nothing comes back – she can barely even focus on me, she looks past me. There are no smiles yet, no coos. I google “why doesn’t my baby like me?” and get thousands of search hits back. It turns out a lot of new mums don’t think that their baby likes them. 
 
And then, one day, we’re laying on the carpet of her old bedroom and I’m singing to her:
 
Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And I’ll catch you baby, cradle and all.
 
That’s not how the lullaby ends. It ends with the baby falling along with the cradle, but I can’t bring myself to sing that line. I suddenly realise that I’ve been loving her with the barriers up, because I can’t take the pain that one day I might lose her. That I’ll have to leave her. That we won’t be here together forever. That one of us will have to live without the other. Have you ever grieved for something before you’ve lost it, because you’re frightened of how strongly you feel?
 
I haven’t bonded with her, because I’ve been protecting my heart. What did I write on her birth announcement card? “She is so new, and yet we have known her forever.” I need to let her in.
 
I let her in.
Thanks Mouse Moo & Me Too.
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Don’t forget if you would like to guest post on New Mum Stories you can find all the info over on the New Mum Stories page
rachelbustin.com
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

13 Comments

  1. August 4, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    This is beautiful. What a gorgeous post, it’s so emotional and definitely relatable. I would look at my baby and just cry because I couldn’t work out how to be everything he needed and was so terrified that I wouldn’t be enough. #triballove

  2. August 2, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    This is utterly beautiful. Becoming a parent is earth-shattering and learning to cope with almost permanent hysterical fear that I will lose them is one of the hardest things I (still) have to do. Thanks so much for linking with #KCACOLS. We hope you come back again next week.

  3. August 2, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    I can absolutely relate to this. I never said it out loud, but I definitely felt a lot of what you have written and the anxiety of losing something I love is there always. My husband has wanted a dog for years and my answer has always been the same – I will love it too much in the end and it will die…sounds so morbid doesn’t it now that I’ve written that down. Motherhood can be so hard – especially at the start: I didn’t realise until a long time after that I had been struggling to bond, keeping everything at arms length in case somethin went wrong. It’s probably more common than we know xx #kcacols

  4. July 31, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    This is beautiful. I can definitely identify with this. I think when you have a baby there’s this expectation that you will fall in love instantly, and wax lyrical about how you are so desperately in love with the baby that you can’t even remember your former life, and yet that isn’t always how it is. I bonded with Piglet gradually, as I got to know him. At first, he felt like a stranger to me, and I couldn’t understand why he seemed to want me and only me, all the time. And I had been so desperate to have a baby-it wasn’t as though he was unplanned in any way! #KCACOLS #tribe

  5. July 31, 2016 / 5:18 pm

    I can definitely relate to this beautiful post! It can be very conflicting to love your child but also miss the freedom you had before having them. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS #TribalLove

  6. July 30, 2016 / 5:56 pm

    This just made me cry. Such a heartfelt, emotional post. Beautiful piece of writing 🙂 xxx

    • July 31, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Thanks Emma, sorry I made you cry! Makes me weepy whenever I re-read it xx

  7. July 30, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand I’m crying. This is beautiful. Lucy xx

    • July 30, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      Thanks Lucy – have to admit I cried when I wrote it xx

    • Rachel
      July 30, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      Thanks for the comment Lucy. It really is a beautiful piece isn’t it. I read it very late last night/early morning and it made me very emotional. xx

    • July 30, 2016 / 12:23 pm

      Thanks treasure xx Thank you Rachel for having me!

    • Rachel
      July 30, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      Thanks Fran for reading and commenting xx

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