Updated: May 13, 2021
I want to start this blog post but saying a huge thank you to everyone for all the messages of support after my last. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and concern so many of you sent me, and very humbled to read some of your own experiences and struggles. There have been many times in the past few months where I’ve felt totally alone and isolated but you all made me feel the exact opposite with your messages, thank you ❤
A problem shared…
So this Tuesday marked my third therapy session, which I was strangely looking forward to. I knew I’d end up crying at some point, but I think that release is part of why I am now quite keen to go. I feel safe and comfortable enough in the environment now that I no longer feel embarrassed about breaking down, which is good, because that’s exactly what I did.
The lady who runs the group does a lot of art-based therapy, which at first I thought sounded a bit crap but it was actually really insightful. For the last two weeks we have had to depict our lives before and after having a baby, on a piece of coloured card, using small objects like buttons, pebbles and shells to represent the people and things in our life at those times.
As I pieced together my life then and now, I felt an overwhelming sadness as I realised how much I feel like I’ve lost or has changed between the two. As we each talked through our lives, it was clear that loss was a reoccurring theme among the women in the group, and one that we all found really quite upsetting.
It was then that our therapist explained that when you have a baby, while you gain this beautiful new tiny human and, often, new friendships with it, many women sacrifice and lose a lot too. Whether that be relationships, identity, career, etc, it is often the case that while there is so much to celebrate with the birth of a baby, many women also feel a sense of grief too.
So much of this resonated with me. My life before was full-on, I had a really busy social life, out all the time, holidays at the drop of a hat, nights out on a whim, able to buy whatever I wanted (to an extent), whenever I wanted, doing a job I loved, Eamo and I’s relationship was full of life and passion and, literally overnight, that all changed. I walked into the hospital with one life, had a baby and walked out with another, the latter of which I am still struggling to adapt to.
The divide of labour
One of the things I have found the hardest to deal with since Rex was born is the fact that I feel like I don’t have any time or head space for anything other than him. And that has really affected mine and Eamo’s relationship recently.
As we talked the other day I tried to explain that I feel resentful towards him because, despite the fact that he works like a dog all bloody day, he is still his own person, he still is on his own timetable, able to go out and do what he wants during the day at the drop of a hat, while my very being is totally consumed with being a mum.
When I get a spare hour to myself, I am constantly preempting what Rex might need later that day, what time he will eat, how long and when he should sleep, what clothes he needs, if washing needs to go on, does he have enough formula, is his bag packed properly to go out, etc, and the weight of all of that is absolutely suffocating. So when I see Eamo swanning around without what seems like a care in the world, it absolutely infuriates me.
The reality is that he isn’t swanning around at all. His head has as much shit crammed in it as mine. When he’s at work he constantly thinking about having enough work, earning enough money, worrying about me, worrying about Rex, and on top of all that trying to do everything he can to make my life easier and better. But that is really hard to see and remember when you’re exhausted mentally and physically.
I’ve said it before but the best thing about Eamo and I is our ability to talk, which we did the other night and explained each other’s frustrations. It was then that he said something that stayed with me…
“I just want the old you back”.
Out of context that sounds like a real shithouse thing to say. He was actually saying he’ll do anything he can to make me happy again, etc. But that one line hit me hard as I realised then how much I must have changed for him to say that. I sobbed at the therapy session as I explained how I felt like I’d lost the ‘old’ Kerrie and right now I wasn’t sure I’d ever find her again.
It was here that the therapist explained what while I feel that way now, I would find her again and going through all of this would mean I would find her again and she would be me again and so much more. I am holding on to that and the thought that the more I try to work through this, the closer I am to finding her again.
Finally, after speaking to close friends and family about the divide of labour, I have come to realise that acceptance is the only way forward. I chose to have a baby as much as Eamo and I have to accept that our lives are this way for a little while because that was the decision we both made. I’ve also realised that if I need help at home I need to just ask Eamo.
At the moment, I expect him to know what I need and when he doesn’t do it or live up to that expectation, he gets a shitty comment or remark, which is just totally unfair. I really need to remember that everything that is going on at the moment is just as hard for him to deal with, and the only way we’re going to get through it is together.
We’re all going on a…
On a more positive note, the time has come for our summer holiday – HURRAH! (That won’t be stressful at all with a four-month-old, will it? 😉 ) This weekend we’re off to the Lake District for a week and we somehow managed to talk four of our close friends into coming with us, basically so we had four built-in babysitters (shhhh, don’t tell them). I haven’t been since I was a kid and everyone raves about how beautiful it is so I’m looking forward to it. Fingers crossed it doesn’t piss with rain all week, although we Jenga and Cards of Humanity to fall back on so all will not be lost if it does 😉
However, I’m quickly learning that holiday with a baby is not really a holiday, is it? And packing. Fucking hell. It’s basically just a change of scenery as my holiday list includes pretty much our entire fucking house. I remember writing a holiday list once way back in my 20s…
Cigarettes*, vodka, bikini. *sigh* Ahhh how times have changed. 😉
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about going away but sure all will be fine, hopefully the support of five other adults means we’ll get through without major incident. If nothing else, it means Eamo is on hand all week for when Rex shits his pants, which is absolutely inevitable 😉
*yes I was one of those who thought it was cool to smoke when I was younger. Then a guy I really fancied told me my hair ‘smelt like an ashtray’ and as I stood in the toilets spraying deodorant on my barnet, decided the time had come to give up.