When I wrote the post about what I was scared of while I was pregnant I forgot about the all-consuming mind-altering hormones that in turns make you crazy, teary and obscenely happy. I forgot how much control they have over your thoughts and feelings, and how when combined with sleep deprivation they can completely engulf you.
Ben’s seven and a half weeks old and absolutely beautiful. He looks so much like his brother and yet so very different. They have the same eyes and the longest eyelashes. They both fill my heart and make me so happy and proud.
But there are times when it’s so hard that I can’t remember the lovely snuggly bits.
When I first came home from hospital clutching my (comparatively) tiny baby I found myself wracked with guilt when all I wanted was to be left alone with Ben, just as I had been in the days before. I didn’t want to tear myself away from him to look after Ted, or even to take care of myself, and I didn’t want to deal with the wants or needs of anyone else around me.
Fast forward a few days and all I wanted was for someone to take Ben away for a while so I could devote myself entirely to Ted. I wanted to cuddle him to sleep and tickle him until he was breathless through laughing so hard. I wanted to make a mess painting endless pictures and throwing glitter at them.
Luckily the guilt of both of those wishes faded quickly when I started to manage juggling their needs and giving them both attention (with the aid of a lot of tv in those early days).
There have been lovely moments where Ted has brought toys to Ben or gently kissed his head; where Ben has smiled and batted at his play gym; where BabyDaddy and I have held our boys and fallen in love with them and each other time and time again.
But there have been desperate, devastating depressions too. When Ben wouldn’t take his milk and threw up when he did. When Ted didn’t want me to hold the baby and either tried to pull him away from me or sobbed like I’d broken his heart. When my boobs leaked because I wasn’t feeding Ben. When I kept wobbling because I wasn’t feeding myself. When I was up all night flitting between the two boys because Ben’s screaming woke Ted and then Ted’s shouting woke Ben, but neither woke BabyDaddy.
There have been times when I’ve sat feeding Ben in the dark at 3am with tears pouring down my face because I’m so tired and I feel so alone and useless. I’ve felt so desperate to actually be alone that I’ve imagined just walking out of the door and not looking back. I’ve scared myself silly wondering whether I’ve got depression and whether to go to see the doctor only to find myself back on my feet and enjoying my new role as the Mummy of two boys.
Unfortunately the bad times have brought even more guilt. I’ve found myself looking at Ben and wondering why I had him, why I haven’t bonded with him and whether I even like him. I’ve listened to Ted’s whining pretend-cry and wished he would just shut up and leave me alone. I’ve hated myself through both and wished I could be the Mum they deserve.
And then Ben’s smiled and Ted’s said a new word, Ben’s watched his Dad walk past and Ted’s played an imaginary game where his dinosaurs are having a heated debate, BabyDaddy’s cooked me dinner while I’ve had a bath, and it’s all alright.
I know that when he’s bigger I’m going to wish I had my baby back and I’m going to start the absolutely insane round of broodiness all over again, but right now I’m looking forward to this newborn stage being over and watching Ben’s personality develop as he grows into a little person. I’m looking forward to a routine and a little more sleep. I’m grateful for the friends who have never failed to respond to my desperate pleas for reassurance and guidance.
And I’m so so in love with my two boys and their devoted Daddy. In the hardest of times, when they’re both awake in the wee small hours and I’m surviving on three hours’ sleep in twenty-four, I never doubt how much love there is in my heart for the three of them.
But, god, how I wish they’d let me sleep!