Fear and Self-Loathing in Motherhood

Last week I was suddenly ill. It was a time to be very thankful my husband now works only 5 minutes away, as I started being sick very suddenly at around 5pm and it didn’t let up until around 1 or 2am in the morning.

I could not have looked after Audrey alone that evening, the sickness was unbeatable, plus I kept falling asleep for 10 minutes or so between the vomiting. Yep, it was pretty brutal (just ask the bathroom door who bore the brunt when I didn’t reach the toilet on time!). So the next day Ted had to work from home whilst I slept a lot and then in the afternoon he took Audrey into work with him.

This was a difficult day for me, but not really because I was so weak/exhausted/nauseous, more so because I had to completely relinquish control over Audrey. I didn’t touch her for 48 hours after I was sick. So Ted was in charge of food, milk, naps, nappy changes, play time, outfits… The lot. I’ve been her dictator for so long, it was bizarre taking this step back. Definitely something I couldn’t have done so easily were it not for the fact that I was utterly exhausted and concerned about passing the illness on. If I’d have been well, I would have meddled. Ok, so I still meddled from afar, but I would have meddled more!

So the routine shifted and her outfits didn’t match. But life carried on and she still slept through (needed waking at 7am in fact). And Ted also managed to get her to self settle for her morning nap 3 times (I’ve been rocking her to sleep). So lessons were learnt thanks to Daddy!

But the whole experience left me feeling… Depressed. Guilty. Utterly useless. For some reason, since becoming a mum, I seem to have excelled at beating myself up about stuff. I just cannot get enough of questioning whether I’m a good enough mother, whether I’m doing things right and in questioning those things, I find myself crying and apologising for having such doubts. It all gets quite messy.

Ted is more level-headed (don’t forget, he’s a rock) and always manages to make me feel better, but nevertheless the self-loathing continues… Having not fed her for two days I started to feel like I couldn’t face being in charge again. The thought of our days… Bottle, nap, lunch, nap, bottle, dinner, bedtime routine, rinse, repeat… Filled me with dread. The monotony! This then spirals into guilt… How could I feel like this about my child? My responsibilities to her? And so the bad mother feeling resurfaces.

I was so focussed on all this and the dread of pulling myself together, I forgot something key… Audrey. I forgot that once I got to hold her again and make her smile, all the “monotony” would fade into the background. And so here we are, back to our routine… Accept now she’s napping and I didn’t have to rock her to sleep!

Thank goodness for my wonderful husband and daughter…