I was going through some notebooks and I found this journal entry I wrote when my baby was about one and a half months old. It’s scrawled across the page in long strokes and I can remember writing it so fast as the words desperately flew out of me after a particularly bad day. Those early newborn days are a bit of a blur now, 9 months later, but this brings them back in raw detail. Oh, how I wish I could wrap my arms around that version of myself, and tell her that yes, it is going to be ok and that you will find yourself again, with time.
22nd October, 2016
No one ever told me how relentlessly boring being a stay at home parent with a newborn can be. It’s the same thing over and over: baby wakes up, feed baby, change baby, sing incy wincy spider for the upteenth time, put baby in carrier, rock baby to sleep, attempt household chores without waking baby, baby wakes up, and repeat. Whilst I live for the gummy smiles and gurgly chats in the brief window of happy baby time, I feel like my brain is slowly turning to mush. I would love some normal, adult conversation about anything other than the baby. I’d love to have the energy to do anything other than stare blandly at the TV. In the beginning, I relished the Netflix bingeing – making my way through all of ‘Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23’ (why did it get cancelled?! Why!?), three seasons of Survivor, all of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (for the third time) and two seasons of The Good Wife. I loved not feeling pressured to do any housework (baby cuddles first!) or the excuse to eat take out every night. But now, two months in, I feel like I am slowly losing my mind. Tonight, as I sat on the couch feeding the baby every 20 minutes for three hours, watching yet another shitty movie, I tried to remember how I used to spend my nights before the baby was here. I couldn’t for the life of remember how I spent those long baby-free hours, when my hair was down and not tied up in a bun, when I wasn’t covered in baby spew or smelt like sour milk. When I could run to the shops without it taking 45 minutes to get out of the house. When I could drink a glass of wine without timing it with military precision around feeds. Pre-baby me feels like a woman I dreamed up. She looks like she belongs in a happy go lucky movie. I don’t feel connected to her anymore. Just as my body has stretched and changed – thick tan lines wrapping around my breasts and hips, a dark incision across my belly, so too has the core of me been changed irreversibly. I’ve lost who I am and at the moment I don’t know how I will find me again. That is such a fucking cliche. I guess that’s the thing about cliches: they often exist because they are true. I look at my baby, all swaddled up in soft downy blankets, snuggled into me as I rock him to sleep. Looking as if he has not a care in the world. As the tears stream down my cheeks I wish that someone would gather me up, wrap me in a soft blanket and gently tell me everything is going to be ok as I fall asleep.