Diary Entries From Early Motherhood
29th May (7 weeks, 1 day)
Today we went to see the health visitor. They like for you to go once a month so that they can check you’re not damaging the child. When we first came out of the hospital and S’s father left we had a couple of weeks where the health visitor and her nursery nurse were coming out to see us twice a week – so once a month is really nothing, I take it as a good sign they think I can go a month without doing something awful. They seemed happy with us; I kind of feel a bit like they should be asking more questions or be more concerned, as if perhaps they’ve just not noticed I’m doing it all wrong yet. I was surprised at how short the appointment was.
Although S is 7 weeks old now, she was 5 weeks early so developmentally she’s only expected to be 2 weeks. By that expectation, she’s doing really well and very alert. People keep saying to me, Oh isn’t she alert – but I’ve nothing to compare it to. As far as I’m concerned, she’s a baby and she’s alive and kicking, no different from any other baby.
I’ve stopped trying to settle her back into her Moses basket after night feeds. Now she goes to bed in the basket, but after she wakes to feed I just put her down next to me on my bed. She seems to settle a lot more easily if she’s next to me, and it will hopefully mean I can get more sleep!
1st June (7 weeks, 4 days)
Tomorrow is my 31st birthday. This is not how I imagined it would be. I’m having quite a negative time at the moment if I’m honest. I know I have S but I will be spending my birthday largely alone apart from her; and she can’t exactly wish me a happy birthday or anything. She’s been fairly difficult this evening; she slept most of the day so I couldn’t get her to sleep at bed time.
I feel bad for her when she’s like this; she only has me to look after her so when I’m all frazzled and have had enough, there’s nobody to take over and be all fresh and nice with her; instead she gets me, begging and pleading with her to please just be quiet and go to sleep as I try not to cry. I wanted better for her than this, I wanted better for both of us. I didn’t want to be a single mother living alone on a council estate with no support. I feel like I’ve let us both down with the way things have turned out, S is suffering because of my poor life choices. I don’t want it to be my birthday tomorrow; I don’t want to sit here on this bloody sofa on my own, wishing I had someone to share it with. Wishing I’d done things differently, because even though I know it wasn’t my fault and her father was looking for any excuse to go and sleep with someone else, and wasn’t worth my effort any way, even though I know we are both a hundred times better off without him in our lives, it still hurts and I still feel like perhaps if I’d done something differently, things would be better for us now. As it is, I’m alone and struggling.
9th June (8 weeks, 5 days)
This morning S’s father turned up unannounced with 3 of her siblings. We’d agreed he could bring them, but he didn’t contact me to finalise a time, so I wasn’t expecting them first thing in the morning. S wasn’t best pleased with it either, and was horribly sick all over her brother. The whole visit was quite stressful for both of us, and I was glad when they left. S was sick again a couple of times – the kind of sick that requires outfit changes for both of us – and then slept all afternoon. She didn’t even stir when I changed her and put her in her Moses basket at bed time, or when I picked her out of the basket to have her sleep in the sling because I was worried about her lack of movement. Eventually I called NHS Direct. They had me check her body for rashes etc, and although I could find nothing, they told me to take her to hospital to be on the safe side. Of course, the minute we got to the hospital she woke up and was as alert as ever, and I felt stupid; but they did check her out thoroughly so I could at least put my mind at rest.