I felt broken. Most of the time.
Since she’s joined our pack 3 years ago, our cat, Bella has not really broken anything in the house. She’s not the type of cat who intentionally shatters things just to see us squirm. This week however she shattered the mirror that lived above our bed (no need to worry about her 7 years’ worth of bad luck though, she’s already a black cat so I’m sure it doesn’t count).
The shattered mirror seemed like the perfect metaphor for my second week as Emma’s mummy. The realisation that my whole pre-baby life got shattered to smithereens together with that mirror. And then the broken pieces, just like a puzzle, got put back together to create something new, something to represent how much my life has changed in a matter of two weeks.
I’ve gone through feeling very low, having to constantly express breastmilk to make sure little one had enough milk for her bottle and I never expected to find feeding my baby to be this stressful. It feels like I’ve been promised idilc moments of mothers bonding with their milk-drunk babe and what I ended up with is a frustrated crying baby throwing her hands around whenever she’s close to my chest. Her frustration broke my heart which then led me to constantly expressing to make sure she has enough for her next feed. A process that I found extremely time consuming and quite detrimental to my mental health. Ugly crying ensued at random points throughout the day and feelings of being a useless mother in such a short space of time darkened my thoughts. When all you can think about is prepping the next meal, there is very little time available to enjoy being in the moment, to appreciate the little suckle coming from a bottle and to give yourself credit for the miracle of producing it in the first place.
Towards the end of the week I started to be more rational again and realised how counterproductive the whole process was, both to myself and to my new baby. Unhappy mummy equaled a lower milk supply, which in return equaled to putting even more pressure on myself to produce that next bottle and the cycle kept getting worse by the day.
That’s until I shook myself back to reality and we plugged in the prep machine. Not to fully give up breastfeeding for now, but to supplement a couple of feeds that were seriously getting me down in the dumps. This was the decisive moment we turned a corner and the shattered glass pieces got put back together to create something new.
By taking that pressure off myself, we have managed to thoroughly enjoy our time together over the last couple of days, spend some lovely moments as a family and create some memories I’m sure we shall treasure forever. Because happy mum equals happy baby. And also equals a happy daddy (who got sick and tired of mummy’s ugly crying 😂) without whom I would not be able to even write this post as I would still be in that very dark place.
So, as always, thank you so much to my husband, for always being there to calmly listen to and rationalise my thoughts even when I’m not able to, for being my rock through thick and thin and for constantly making sure I am also fed and looked after. Emma and I are the luckiest girls in the world.
- Having two expressing machines (Medela’s Harmony & Amazon’s Elvie inspired electric) break down on you when you need them most is not helpful. Third time lucky as I now have what feels like a good and sturdy one (Phillips’ Avent) which incidentally seems to be the cheapest one on the market so that’s a win in my books.
- The tongue tie procedure being cancelled because of COVID was an extra bit of unnecessary stress (so a big 🖕🏻 to you, you vile little virus) but very quickly rebooked for this week so 🤞🏻
- I have promised myself to never put pressure on breastfeeding. I was adamant that whatever feeding choice we make, it will be the right one. The pressure starts as soon as baby is out whether you like it or not so don’t bother thinking it won’t affect you. Until you find your feet with new baby and decide on a route that works for you both, the pressure only gets worse as unfortunately the stigma is very real within the specialist support network currently available in the UK. So find your own trustworthy support network within close friends and family and make the right choices for you.
- The mirror Bella broke – bought a new one. It was a Home Bargains special, cheap as chips but looks the part. 👌🏻 So I do realise it’s not quite the puzzle-like shattered pieces I was referring to, that was exclusively part of my creative flair. 😂