Before Rafe came into the world and during those couple of weeks post birth, everyone said the first six were the hardest and that it would get easier - breastfeeding would have clicked and I'd be less shell-shocked. So to me six weeks were like the holy grail. I just wanted to get to six weeks and I thought baby and I would be skipping through the streets in harmony as I breastfed with ease, saying fuck you to those unbelievably difficult first weeks. There has been no skipping…But not to dishearten those who are battling through the first week after baby's arrival - it is easier. Actually - I don't want to use that word as it's not 'easy' - it's just (for me), I'm slightly less shell-shocked and I'm not holding the baby like a watermelon. But still feel like I'm winging it half the time. And I'm still bloody exhausted. It's like the tornado has stopped, but there are still gale force winds some days.
It's been challenging this week as Rafe has his first cold. It literally breaks my heart to see him poorly. God knows what I'm going to be like when he has a sickness bug or when he gets his injections. (Dreading that day). It's hard as he doesn't want to feed as much which obviously worries me. And when he does feed, he struggles as his little nose is blocked and finds it difficult to latch on. Thankfully, mum friends have come to the rescue with their own remedies to help get rid of a cold. The doctor (who I saw for my six week check) and pharmacist weren't massively helpful as there is nothing you can really give a 6 week old. Apart from breastfeeding (as packed full of anti-bodies) saline drops and Sterimar spray, which someone recommended. One friend also recommended a snot sucker. I thought this was a joke. But no they exist! And are a God send. My husband has been sucking the snots out. Literally. Which is pretty minging. My husband hates blowing his own nose so high five to him for doing it. He pretty much almost vomits every time he does it. Being a parent is so glamorous. Hoping it clears in a couple of days as feel so sorry for the little lad and we all need sleep.
So for me, this week, breastfeeding really hasn't clicked quite yet. But I have been reassured by others who have told me it took 8 weeks - some 12. So I need to not be so hard on myself - and compare myself to other people. I am finding breastfeeding easier and some days I don't need to think about it, it just comes naturally. But other days (thanks mainly to Rafe being poorly) we have taken a step back. Which is really frustrating. And thanks to me, the nursing pillow manufacturers are still in business. After buying three different types of pillows - turns out just sticking to my own bed pillows that I used from the start - is the most comfortable for Rafe and I. Winning at life.
I had my six week check up with the doctor on Friday. I think my husband was at the door waiting with bated breath to see whether she said I can have sex again. 😂 I found the whole thing a bit pointless to be honest. She basically just asked whether I was bleeding still (very slightly, hardly anything) and whether I was still sore (I'm not but just don't feel the same down there – but don’t need to carry around a rubber ring). She said she doesn't normally examine people unless they want her to. And to be honest, I wasn't massively fussed about showing anyone down below - so was relieved and she said it sounds like I'm healed. She said it's amazing how after labour, your vagina and cervix look like a dog's dinner (don't know if that's the correct medical term) but within weeks, the body heals itself, which is amazing. And I guess it is. I can now exercise (well I presume I can, she didn't say I couldn't) - but at the same time, it's the last thing on my mind. I remember when I was pregnant thinking when the baby sleeps, I'll do a workout in the house - or I'll go for a run with the pram, or take him to the gym with me. HAHAHAHA. Okay Faye, you do that. Maybe when he is a bit older - but I can't imagine him waiting for a feed while I attempt a workout - and to be honest - I really am not arsed. I still feel like I look like a bag of sand but I'll deal with that when I am skipping through the streets....and plus, I had to try and run after the dog the other day and I felt like my uterus was going to fall out so doesn't bode well for the next time I do want to go for a run. But my friend did say she would come round and do personal training sessions with me to ease me in – so I’ll let you know how that goes! The doctor also asked me a few questions to see whether I had postnatal depression. Well she basically asked if I was okay. I said yes. I definitely don't feel like I have postnatal depression but I do still have moments where I feel overwhelmed - lonely and all over the place emotionally. But also I feel totally in love with this little person my husband and I made. But what struck me is what the doctor said - it hit the nail on the head for me. She said the loneliness in the early days are hard. The days turn into nights and it's just days of feeding and changing, feeding and changing. And once the cards and the flowers have dried up, people forget about you. Everyone else can get on with their lives as they always have - but you can't. Things are very different for you. But it is worth it she said. I thought it was rather poetic and also summed up how I was feeling - and I did drive back from the doctors ugly crying. Then when I got home, I was breastfeeding Rafe and I looked over at a photo on the fireplace of my husband and I all dressed up at a family wedding not long after we started going out - no bags under my eyes or saggy boobs. We were so drunk and I just about remember dancing away together, loving life - him lifting me up and us then stacking the dance floor on top of each other. Basically a standard night out when we first got together. Made me think about how different my life is now - and how I don't recognise that person or my 'old' life. But - although it has, hands down been the hardest six weeks of my life - and I know being a mum is and will always be the hardest job in the world. His beautiful eyes looking up at me makes everything right in the world - and maybe this new life is unrecognisable to what it was before - but I'm pretty sure my husband and I will be that drunk again soon and falling head first on the dance floor together. Difference is - we will just have our beautiful little boy - and a horrific hangover to nurse the next day. Now I look forward to that...
So to all those mums’ out there who have survived those first six weeks. I salute you. You're doing an amazing job and you're fucking fabulous. Faye x
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.