The days of motherhood that no-one talks about

I came into this motherhood journey with my eyes wide open. Single mother by choice, and not a choice I made lightly. Not for one moment did I think it was going to be easy. Not one.

I’m sharing this because I think it’s really important to acknowledge that parenting is frigging hard work. And some days it makes you think you are going to lose your mind. What little there is left of it.

By sharing with you some snippets of my life this week, if you’re a parent you maybe won’t feel so bad next time you do something that you think might not get you onto the Parent of the Year short-list. I’ve definitely done my dash for this year.

I took Bubba to our doctor – for the fourth time in seven days – because she had coughed a hacking cough for about 12 hours straight. And cried. And screamed. And wanted to be picked up but as soon as she was, she wanted to be put down. And was thirsty, but wouldn’t drink, but wouldn’t let me take the sippy cup or bottle, instead taking it off me with a strength I didn’t know she had and flinging it across the room.

She was exhausted, but screamed when I put her to bed. She fought me getting into the car to go to the doctor. She screamed the whole way there. A four minute drive feels like an eternity with a screaming toddler in the car. Trust me.

That is until I had parked in the car park in the surgery car park and lifted her out of her car seat. Then she stopped coughing. She stopped screaming. She stopped crying, and she looked at me for the first time in 12 hours like she actually loved me. She was cute in the doctor’s surgery waiting room. She actually smiled at our doctor when he came out to get us.

We followed him into his room, sat down and that was the end of mumma.

Exhaustion aside. Sleeping in no longer than increments of 2 or so hours at a time for a week aside. The fact that Bubba is sick aside. This isn’t about her, it’s about me – mumma.

I cried for a solid five minutes. The kind of tears which just run in waves down your face and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them. Mumma wasn’t at the end of her tether, she had slipped off the end.

While I cried my silent tears, our lovely doctor checked Bubba’s ears, chest, breathing and throat. He told me that he thought she would be fine, that her fever is the key to whether we are on the home straight, or she is about to go downhill again, so fever is the thing I’ll watch.

Then he asked me how long I’d been feeling like I did in that moment. Exhaustion aside, probably since a couple of weeks before Bubba got sick. Overwhelmed. Although overwhelmed sounds like an understatement – stressed, tired and completely and utterly emotionally, physically and financially overwhelmed.

So, apparently, this is what post-natal depression feels like. Except that she’s nearly 16 months old, surely that would have happened sooner?

Has it happened now because I’ve finally weaned her and feel so completely disconnected from her? Apparently when women stop breastfeeding it is very common that PND kicks in. Why don’t people talk about this more?

Maybe my total melt down and loss of the ability to continue to be a fully function grown up is also because {apparently} I’m not a super hero – or a character in some movie? In the real world I am a single mumma who works full-time and has little support. I am not down playing the support I do get, because I appreciate it more than anyone could know. Nor am I trying to make anyone feel bad. I’m just telling it how it is. And I know I chose to do this on my own. But it’s tough.

I updated my Facebook status at some point during the week that I was thinking about running away from home. As I typed it, I knew I was joking. But I understood this week how to some people, running away becomes more than a joke. If they feel like there is no other option, they can’t see past the moment they are in, they turn their back and leave.

Luckily for me, and my little family, I recognise what I’m feeling is just a moment in time, it’s not all the time. So I filled the prescription that the doctor gave me, and took one of the tablets that might help me cope a little better.

It’s not a long-term solution, but just to get me out of this slump I’m in right now. And that’s okay. If I cut my finger and needed a bandage, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. So my emotional state needs a bandage for a little while until it can breathe again. And that’s okay, because the alternative is not worth thinking about.

I don’t really know why I thought taking a little pill three times a day would make everything instantly better. I suppose I knew it wouldn’t, but just that it should make it a little easier.

And it will in time, but that night, after I put Bubba to bed – for about the fifth time, after a solid hour of screaming and thrashing around – I threw her sippy cup across the kitchen in utter frustration. Which, of course, was such a great idea because the top came off it and water went everywhere. That I then had to clean up, because let’s face it, there’s no-one else to do it. Thankfully it was only water.

Then I went and closed my bedroom door, turned off the baby monitor and curled up in the fetal position on my bed in between Bella and Bear. I pulled them close and pressed their fuzzy little paws to my ears to muffle Bubba’s crying. I could still hear it, albeit a little fuzzy.

I honestly think having dogs (pets in general I suppose, but for me, dogs) helps when you’re feeling fragile. Sure there may be two more mouths to feed, insurance to pay for, vets to pay for and messes to clean up, but where else do you get that unconditional love – knowing they are with you, on your side, and ready for a cuddle when you are in your darkest hour?

Of course, I went to her again. And again. She’d scream and scream then when I’d try to comfort her she’d scream some more. She’s sick I know, so I feel sad for her. It must be as frustrating for her as it is for me to be still dealing with this after seven days. Tiredness finally claimed her about an hour after I tried to put her to bed for the first time.

She slept for a few hours then we went through this again. And again around 4am.

My heart breaks for her.

exhaustion

But at the moment my heart breaks a little more for me. I feel guilty. I feel like a bad mumma. And I feel like I can’t cope.

Being a girl who usually sees the glass as half full, and looks for the good in every thing and every day, these are none of the things I wanted to feel. Ever.

I love my Bubba more than life itself.

I just don’t love these days.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. ElleEmGee says:

    I’m about to become a first-time mother – 4 weeks to go – and I really appreciate your honesty. As women we place far too much pressure on ourselves to be eveything at once.
    Sometimes we need to just stop and realise we can’t be everything at once and it’s okay to ask for help and admit all is not well.
    Being unable to cope at the moment does not make you a bad mother. The fact you have sought help makes you a great mother as far as I’m concerned. There’s no need to feel guilty – you are doing the very best you can.
    I can’t even imagine how tough it must be to be a single mother but judging by your blog I think you’re doing a fabulous job.
    Bubba is lucky to have such a wonderful, loving mother.
    I read your blog every day and if I turn out to be just as half a good a mother as yourself I’d be very happy.
    Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs.

    1. Thank you for your virtual love and support – it means a lot! It’s just a bump on my road right now, and it will pass. I thought more than a couple of times before I hit ‘publish’ on today’s post, but now it’s out there, I’m glad I shared it. How exciting for you! I’m so looking forward to hearing your news 🙂 x

  2. Bad times come. And then they go. Hang in there. You’re a wonderful, loving, honest Mumma. At its start, you named your blog correctly. Now that your Bubba is here, maybe it’s more like bumpyroadWITHbubba!! Smooth times are wonderful, but they don’t last forever. Happily the bumps don’t last forever, either. xo

    1. I definitely knew there would be bumps! Hopefully this one is a relatively small one. xx

  3. msmouse7 says:

    I too am a single mom and I know EXACTLY how you feel. Sometimes it just happens. As you said, you would fix a cut finger, so why no help out an exhausted mumma.

    As long as you take care of yourself, Bubba will be fine. I had cats instead of dogs. Thank goodness they were cuddle cats.

    And now my daughter is off to college, 21 years old, almost on her own, and I miss having my entire life revolve around her. Thank goodness for more cuddle cats.

    Stay strong, kept loving the bubba (as we all do), keep blogging (because I love reading out everyone), and “carry on.”

    1. Thank you – some days are tougher than others, but you’ve managed to get your daughter to college so you have obviously done a fabulous job being a single mumma! Thanks for your support.

  4. Ellie Belly's mumma says:

    You don’t have to read many of your blog entries to see how much you love your little bubba, but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to say you’re not enjoying yourself during a tough time. I absolutely take my hat off to all of you single mamas out there. The amount of strength and patience you must have is truly inspiring; & when I’m having a tough day, I realize I could be doing it tougher. You are doing a fantastic job, even on your bad days! Hope you’re all feeling better soon. x

    1. Thanks for your support – and for sharing our blog! x

  5. rumpydog says:

    I don’t have kids, but I know what the feeling of being overwhelmed is like. I don’t have sage advice for you, but I do have compassion, and I hope that there’s someone out there that can actually help you get a good night’s sleep.

    1. Rumpy, maybe you’re the baby whisperer? Bubba slept for 6 straight hours last night!

      1. rumpydog says:

        Hooray! For both of you!

  6. Katie says:

    This is such an amazing post and your honesty is absolutely so appreciated ! You are right, it’s so hard being a mum and for some reason we all feel the same difficulties yet find it difficult to discuss and be honest about! Thank you for being so honest and letting me know that it is ok to feel like I do at times, it’s ok to feel like it is too tough and I am not the only one. When y A really brilliant post and I am so thankful that you clicked the “publish ” button on this one! Brilliant!

    1. Thanks honey – by no means do I think it’s only single parents who do it tough. Some days are bumpy no matter how many parents are around. There are days I think maybe the puppies would do a better job – LOL! x

  7. Emma Sloan says:

    Honey, it gets better. Really. She will start talking soon, that helps. Every day after that darling is 2, she communicates more and more, and her frustration will ease… She will be a talker, like you ( and me and my kids) for sure. Once they talk, while they never shut up, they are happy.

    You are doing a brilliant job. You always wanted to do it and you are. take all the help you can get and don’t give yourself such a hard time. She is loved, she has you, she is healthy. If she has toast for dinner, it will not kill her. She has you. This age is always a fraught one, just ride it out a short time and you will come out the other side.

    So says the NOT perfect mother of 3. I found 18 months till 2 the hardest with all my kids, but it does pass. So bring on the talking!

    Thinking of you. Love the blog.

    Emma

    1. It’s funny, I was thinking about it as we struggled through our evening + getting her to bed, how much easier it will be when we can talk to each other! Thanks for your support + for reading our blog!! xx

  8. Jo says:

    sleep deprivation is absolutely horrendous and is insidious how it can do your head in. congrats for getting help. my DS is 3.5, didn’t start sleeping through until 2.5 for a number of reasons from dreaded ear infections to the silent delight of worms! and even still goes through patches of not sleeping through – the current one is 4 nights in 6 weeks. hang in there, you are not alone!

    ps. my natropath told me PND can be classified up to 2 years after birth
    pps i also was reading recently that weaning can be the trigger for PND. makes sense to me, and its worth considering as something to worth through in your wellness journey.

    1. Thanks for your support. I think (although we eat healthily and I cook organic where possible) a visit to the naturopath may be a next step. I can’t imagine how you got through 2.5 years, what a super mumma!

  9. Bassas Blog says:

    😦 Big hug for mumma and little bubba xxxxxx

    1. Thanks Bassa & Tall Person – all hugs greatly appreciated. xox

  10. I’m new to your blog and am delighted that I found my way here. I came here from Vicky’s blog tag. As a mother of six I just want you to know that good mummas do the best they can with what they have at that very moment. Some moments we have more than others and that’s okay. We all feel guilty becase we cannot be everything to our children and we hurt when they do. That’s okay too. Your love for your daughter is evident in every word you write. She is a very lucky little girl.

    1. Thanks for finding us! Wow, six children – what a super mumma you are (and very lucky too). Thanks for your support, it is appreciated.

  11. Christine Vogt says:

    I appreciate the honesty of your post and I really like this line… “Then I went and closed my bedroom door, turned off the baby monitor and curled up in the fetal position on my bed in between Bella and Bear.” I have two puppies (Kimmy & Charlie) and i am a SAHM to a 10month old son who doesnt sleep much in the day so I can definitely relate to this post and doing what you do when you’ve had enough. I think i love my dogs more than i love some humans. haha 😛

    1. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through the past few years without my fuzzy loves. I feel sorry for people who don’t have them! x

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