Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thought Policing

Right up there with maintaining an existence in the 21st century seems to come attempting to maintain sanity, expectations and the ongoing need to get ‘more’…

A very good friend the other day commented that my notion that ‘Having a baby is quite hard’ is not a new idea, but rather the truth behind the sugar-coated pill that we are sold that ‘Having a baby is lovely and gorgeous and easy and natural and and and and…’ The latter is what we are taught to believe and not what everyone actually thinks. You only find out that it’s HARD AS ALL CRAP once you’ve actually got yourself a baby. Woops.

P1000219I have been haunted over the last few months by the fear that I have invested my whole life’s desires into the end result of ‘having a child’. It feels rather like spending a whole heap of monies on a wedding and forgetting that there is a marriage at the end of it. I spent so very long wanting ‘children’ that I failed to fully absorb the notion that getting pregnant would result in a child. Forever.

This isn’t like getting into your chosen university, or getting your most-wanted job. Christ, this isn’t even about getting married and then regretting it. Heaven forbid, but there are divorces. No such thing exists for a child. Not good ones anyway.

12 week scan 2All the other decisions/happy accidents/dreams involve you and you alone wishing and waiting and hoping and planning and I completely failed to recognise the catastrophically huge implications of bringing a person into the world. It suddenly brings the teenage rant of ‘Well I didn’t ASK to be born’ into a whole new focus.

This isn’t the post of someone on the edge. This is the post of someone who hadn’t even realised where the edge was until she launched herself right off into the middle distance and then saw there was nothing under her feet.

I am treading water day to day playing at domestic godliness in the hope that if I keep at it, I will one day believe the self-created hype and will actually start enjoying my little creation. She is fantastically fabulous, but I can’t quite shake off the feeling that the grown-ups are due back any day now and I will get the most extraordinarily large amount of pocket money for doing a quite good job at minding her.

P1040939This isn’t a cry for help. This isn’t even a murmur. This is the typing of a person who has to believe the little voice that says that if everyone felt this way, each family would stop after one child and would no doubt convince that child not to procreate.

I need to not hear platitudes right now. I know that PND doesn’t last. I know that everyone finds it tough. What I need to believe is that this isn’t me, this isn’t parenthood and I will find joy in my new life.

That will happen in time, and lord only knows, I have plenty of that stretching ahead of me.


Chloe said...

Hi, I have been dipping into your blog since I happened across it when preparing for my countryside wedding in 2008. I also had my first baby at the end of last year. I know you don't want to hea platitudes, but I just wanted to say I really empathise with how you are feeling. Having a baby has been so tough in many ways, and as you say no-one or nothing prepares you for that. I identify very strongly with your feeling that the grown-ups will return one day and take charge - I don't know the permanence of the situation will sink in.

However, my daughter is a few months older than Tilly and it does get easier as the 1 year mark approaches. I have, to my surprise, somehow managed not to get PND - although I have suffered from depression in the past - and feel things are really on the up now. I really hope the same happens for you. You seem to have so many great things going on in your life. That black cloak will lift and gradually the joy will come back.
Sorry to be dishing out advice when I don't even know you, but I just wanted you to know you are not alone in how you are feeling.

Helen said...

Thank you so much, Chloe. It's great to hear from the 'lurkers' and especially when it comes with hope and glimmers of a potential brightness in the future. It never ceases to amaze me how many admissions of terror and difficulty and angst and horror are revealed by mums... after you admit to it yourself. Probably could have done with that information 16 months ago, but it is definitely some solace at the moment.
One day at a time, one hour at a time, one nap at a time.
Thank you. Your words mean a lot.