Persephone: Parent

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Struggling

I am so tired and everything is such a struggle. He barely sleeps so I barely sleep. I’d developed the ability to actually do things – 5 minute clean, wash up, put the washing on. Now I don’t even time to sleep.

I’m really not sure how much I can cope with and, although I’m calmer than earlier, I’m really not sure I’m meant to be a parent.

There’s a reason why I couldn’t conceive naturally.

Things are only seeming a bit better right now because he’s asleep on me (I daren’t put him down) and the health visitor just left. He’s jumped up a percentile, hence why he needs boobie so often.

And she’s worried about me.

~ Persephone M

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Honesty

A few days (or maybe weeks, but Elvis isn’t quite 5 weeks old yet) ago a comment on one of my posts mentioned how honest my posts are. Well, I have two big secrets that I’ve not been honest about. I don’t know which to admit first.

Okay, today’s secret. I’ve been feeling a bit down today. I woke up feeling crap – headache, backache, sore shoulder. I was in desperate need of extra sleep and, of course, Elvis was wide awake with his daddy heading off to work. There was no extra sleep until until lunchtime where I got over an hour. I’ve managed a few days with no naps, but I think I’m getting a cold and I’ve always suffered with man-flu.

Until 4pm I essentially refused to do anything other than the basics – I fed him, changed him, held him. There was no playing and barely any talking from me. But at 4 I did a bit of playing. I didn’t get a mummy moment and at about half 6, just before daddy came home, I was sitting there, trying to drink a cup of tea, eat a cookie and rocking Elvis on his chair and I had an utterly shameful thought.

Clearly, given my history, I can be described as desperate to have a child – I bloody well paid to get pregnant. And to me parenting isn’t simply giving birth. I want to be a stay at home mum, but I get why some can’t. I also want to actively parent and not just sit around ignoring my child.

Whilst rocking Elvis it ocurred to me why some parents choose to work for non-financial reasons. You see my utterly shameful thought was that I can’t do this day in and day out, that I could give up my maternity leave and pay, stop breastfeeding and go back to work. All just to get me some time to myself.

There’d be my lunch break and the walk to and from work. I’d have time alone, time away from a screaming baby who pulls at my nipples, crying whilst attached at bedtime, time where I don’t have to entertain/think about how best to educate and bring up my child because a childminder/nanny/nursery worker would be. Of course that would all be time that I would simply be worrying about him, feeling guilty for passing him off and regretting not having that bond.

No one ever mentions how hard this all is. Or everyone else finds it far easier. I don’t co-sleep to bond or because it’s natural; I do it so he doesn’t snore and I can sleep, but it means I get no time at all on my own. Not that I’d have any idea what to do alone.

Is it all supposed to come naturally, is that why everyone else finds parenting not as difficult because none of this is natural, which leads into my second secret that I’ve only said to 2 people – is this all so hard because it wasn’t meant to be, because Elvis isn’t or wasn’t supposed to exist?

~ Persephone M

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Errors (A Comedy of)

Today was going so well… so well until we both decided to start hurting Elvis.

He’s slept alot but then I also had a lovely playtime with him. We lie on the bed and I pull funny faces, smile and encourage him to get mummy, which means touch (hit) my face with his fist. And he gets kisses when he does. He also plays follow the hairband – I use it to remind me which boob I’m on – and noticed that he was following my wrist with his eyes. Then he had some tummy time and then we shared a quick nap

Then the errors!

First, as Daddy was trimming nails, Elvis’ piercing painful cry – he’d drawn blood. Oops.

Then, at bathtime as I was washing his face, I decided to wash under his nose with a flannel as he inhaled. Oh the tears! Essentially I tried to drown Elvis. He’s enjoyed his other baths so I’m hoping I haven’t scarred him for life.

Rookie mistakes that we’ll learn from, but still I felt awful at forcing him to drink bath water!

~ Persephone M

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Mummy Moment: Mac Time

First of all, here are the latest Nanny purchases – I love the Monsters Inc one. All three are different ages to really prolong their life! I might have to go back to the shop and buy this adorable swimming outfit I saw for Elvis in a year.
IMG_0045

Onto the Mummy Moment though. These are moments when I get to do something purely for me, preferably with no baby anywhere near me! So, Mac Time means me getting time on my mac without Elvis feeding off of me. He might be asleep in the same room or next door, but it’s my time (he happens to be asleep downstairs with Daddy keeping a close eye on him, and seeing as the nights are better, I don’t feel the need for a nap). So I’m going to sort out some photos of the little one and get a printing batch ready.

Afterall he’s already over a month old and no one has any photos of him!

~ Persephone M

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Worry Lines

My son, despite being less than 5 weeks old still, has this amazingly cute forehead. When he’s just lying there, it’s just a normal forehead, but when he stretches or lazily unattaches sleepy and full, it is the cutest thing he does. It’s even cuter than his smile.

It wrinkles with these 4 lines and his eyebrows raise as his whole entire face kinda stretches. His forehead worry lines are the cutest thing ever, but I’m the only one who ever really sees it because no-one looks that closely when Elvis is feeding. Obviously.

His are cute.

However, my own worry lines must have got worse since he’s been born!

We tried the fan in the bedroom last night. Epic Fail! Obviously it was happily making noise and either Elvis wasn’t being a restless sleeper or the fan was doing its job. Except this meant that I couldn’t hear his breathing. Well, duh, isn’t that the point? But I was going to worry so off went the fan and it was back to Elvis sleeping on me.

Now it’s either his new natural rythym, being cooler or co-sharing, but he fed at 8pm, settled to sleep by 9pm and then woke up at 2am, partially because I was worried and woke him up to feed. It’s the longest he’s done and my boobs were so engorged I tried him on the 2nd, which he spat back up. Then he didn’t wake for another feed for another 4hrs.

Don’t get me wrong I feel lovely and rested today. I’ve been out leisurely shopping, washed up, put washing on (the 2nd boob spit up was all over my bedsheet and pyjamas), changed duvet cases. But I’m now worried that he might not be eating enough during the day.

I have no evidence to say he isn’t. Wet and dirty nappies – yep. Feeding 6-8 times in 24 hours – yep, well he’s on his 5th and we’re just over half way through the day. Plus this feed has lasted an hour and he is actively feeding!

I’m probably worrying over nothing, like the breathing, but I might go get him weighed Monday just to check he’s still gaining!

It’s my job, right, to worry?

My selfish moment of the day? Wanting half an hour dozing in my bed without Elvis and with hubby. Did I get it? No. Oh well, I got over it.

~ Persephone M

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Selfish

I’m a spoilt only child who was constantly told that once I had a child I’d stop being selfish and always put my child first

Not wholly true.

I may no longer act spoilt and selfish, putting Elvis first (except when I put him down crying so I can eat, drink, wee quickly) but I still think it.

I still have selfish thoughts. I still desire to put myself first and do something for myself. I still want to be a spoilt brat and do something for me.

Yet I know I can’t. So I don’t. It doesn’t change my brain though. It doesn’t stop me hitting that moment where I wish I could have 5 minutes away, other than to shower, 5 minutes to myself where I can be purely selfish.

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Sometimes, I Just Don’t Know

Last night hubby went straight on the sofa so I could have Elvis on me for the long sleep, which was fine until 0100 when he awoke for a feed and then refused to settle.

I ended up taking a time out in the bathroom trying to calm myself.

Hubby woke up, helped calm us both and then got back into bed for the rest of the night. It dawned on me regarding my sleep options that moving Elvis into his own room and me getting up to feed isn’t that different to now when I have to go into the nursery to change him!

Anyway, I bought a fan today which will hopefully cool the bedroom and provide me with enough white noise. Because today and yesterday I’ve felt so rested. There was a sneaky 2hr nap this afternoon for both of us! The nap was after Elvis’ first photo shoot whrre he was amazingly cute, smiley and well-behaved. I get to view the images next Friday. Five come as part of the package, how many extras will I buy?

After our nap though, I played with Elvis for a bit – singing on his jungle gym and smiling lots. But after a while… I get bored. Is that so terrible? And then I don’t know what to do. When can he amuse himself? He likes just staring at things, am I a bad parent if I let him?

I think he just has these fussy moments where he needs to be held and then what? How do I stop feeling bored? Or at least just get a little bit of time to myself? Am I already failing him?

~ Persephone M

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Sleeping Options

After the almost 5 hour sleep Elvis had on me there was then a 2 hour and just under 1 hour (which ended with Elvis vomiting all over me in our sleep. It was just gone 5am and it was in my hair and all over my boob. And it stunk!), but I’ve spent the day feeling really refreshed. I did have another hour at 7am when Elvis napped.

Clearly something went well last night.

Vomit aside.

This is either because he was more comfortable on me or because he doesn’t make noise when he’s on me.

The options:

A). Co-Sleeping
At least for the first part of the night, to get a block of sound sleep. This means that hubby has to be on the sofa and can potentially lead to the bad habit of Elvis sleeping in our bed, but I’d get sleep and can always put him in his Moses after night-time feeds.

B). Move His Moses Basket
We live in a small 2 bedroom house where I can see the cot as I lie in bed. I’m sure, given the size, that I’d still hear every noise with both doors open and no baby monitor! So I could move him with no issues over hearing him. However, having just cracked feeding in bed, I’d be night-time feeding in the nursery. This potentially means less sleep for me, unless having his noises quietened gives me more sleep! Given that I intend to feed for longer than he can stay in the Moses, I’ll eventually have night-time feeds in the nursery anyway.

C). Try White Noise
Especially given the heatwave (which may actually be over) but both the nursery and my room run at over 20 degrees, a fan may solve two issues. Or it may solve neither. I don’t think I can do the un-tuned radio as I’d go crazy and too much noise would confuse Elvis regarding day and night.

D). Get Over It
I can hope my sensitive hearing toughens up or I get used to it or just learn to deal with a lack of sleep.

Ideally I don’t want to make a decision that hinders any of us, especially Elvis, in the long-term or short-term, but I need to sleep! Otherwise I won’t make a good daytime mum. Help!

~ Persephone M

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Don’t Force It

So the other night I wrote about how I double-boobed Elvis after his 4hr stint in bed in the hope of him lasting a 2nd 4hrs during the night.

I also wrote about how it didn’t work!

Well, yesterday I suffered with a son who chose to wake up at 0630 and then refused to nap until 11am. And I was exhausted. He, in fact only had 3hrs between 0630 and 2030. So I, too, only had 3hrs.

I ended up in floods of tears on the phonevto the bank because they set up Elvis’ account wrong, can’t fix it over the phone and then transferred me to the wrong bloody branch. Well Elvis was screaming, I couldn’t hear the woman on the phone and I wanted a nap. So I burst into tears.

And it sent Elvis to sleep. Nice.

Anyway after a 14 hour day, 3 of which napping, we went to bed at 2030 and he started being a bit noisy after an hour in his moses which I was not in the right state to deal with so I kicked hubby out and kept Elvis on my tummy despite the heat.

The next thing I know is it’s been 5hrs since his last feed as he starts to root and I wake up. I’m not sure if it’s the heat, the co-sleeping ot just his tummy but 5 hours baby!

~ Persephone M

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Forgetting the Fathers

As it has just been Fathers’ Day, after finding this link from a tweet, I feel the need to highlight fathers.

All too often no one understood mine and my husband’s infertility. Even now, I don’t think people understand that we’re still infertile. We’re not those that relaxed, even as I type this, holding my biological son, I know that we’re potentially still infertile. He was not conceived naturally – there were drugs and doctors involved in his creation, not just sperm, a penis, a vagina, an egg and sex.

Sex wasn’t involved at all.

I don’t think people realise how much infertility affects the couple, and that’s what I love about this article especially the description of grief. It is probably the thing I found hardest to explain – the never ending cycle of pain every 28 days. The inability to escape that pain, until you reach a resolution, which isn’t easy. I never truly thought about how to cope if our IUI failed, but I knew that if something went wrong in the pregnancy, that was the end of everything. There would be no more hope or trying.

Not only does the article describe the grief of infertility perfectly, its comments on God are spot on. My thoughts, having had successful treatment, is that God created scientists who created IUI and IVF so how can God be against using them?

I’d add two sections into the article.

One: Surviving
For those that have success with any form of fertility treatment or who are part of the small percentage that after many years do conceive naturally, they still consider themselves as infertile. Or at least I do. Those issues that the etiquette article describe do not simply go away over night. The physical and emotional scars are all still there, scabbed over. There are still inappropriate comments that can be made.

And just because I now have Elvis it doesn’t mean that I won’t still have difficulties watching friends and family click their fingers and fall pregnant with their second, third etc. My success at artificially creating a child does not take away 4 years of grief and pain.

Two: Fathers
Sometimes I think that the only reason for all the insensitive comments from my in-laws is because my hubby doesn’t talk about our infertility. How can they understand if they don’t know. But I know how much it hurt my husband, how much every 28 days he hid the grief he shared with me to try and comfort me.

I know that all the time I tried vocally to convince him that it was all something wrong with me, he would argue back that, whilst his tests were all fine (as were mine) he would still argue it could be him genetically at fault. And that just as I felt like a failure as a woman, he felt like a failure as a man.

Neither of us ever blamed the other, but whilst I was relatively happy to shout about our infertility problems, as a man, he was not.

And I think in a lot of discussions regarding infertility the hopeful father to be is forgotten. And let’s not forget that not only do they deal with trying, monthly, to comfort the woman they love, they’re also grieving yet another possible child lost.

~ Persephone M

http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.html

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