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Thursday, 13 October 2011

These things I've learned...

I turned another year older this week so couldn't help but sit back and think about how the last year went. Of course, the difference is, this time last year I was just barely beginning to come out of the deep dark fog of postnatal depression. I struggle to remember what I did last year for my birthday much less how I felt at the time.  The answer, most likely, is numb. That’s the odd part about all the days I have now where I’m sad and weepy or impatient and completely pissed off at the situation – that’s actually progress.  That numbness? That was the ppdemons winning. Emotions?  That’s me.  A sappy romantic whether I want to admit it or not. Lately I’ve had a few glimpses of my feisty old self and it’s nice to know she’s still in there and that she’s fighting her way back out again.  I’ve even had some good belly laughs with my little girl recently.  Ahhh, my humour. Now that is something I’ve missed.

My point is my daughter and I, well, we’ve come a long way baby.  In light of the old me coming out to join the new me and in celebration of the beginning of my new year, I’ve decided to compile a list of the things I’ve learned since my daughter was born. It’s by no means complete, but it’s a start. (Note: She’s 20 months, not a year, but bear with me, it’s all a bit of a blur)

I’ve learned that…

…. if you let a newborn sleep as long as they’d like in the day, their empty tummies and brand new lungs will make you pay for it at night.

…. meconium is one of the stickiest, hard to clean substances known to man. 

…. baby poo is actually relatively inoffensive until you start them on solids

…. one does actually get used to being vomited on regularly.  There were times I not only continued to wear a shirt that had been spit up on but that I put it on again the following day. (It was only milk after all…)

…. a baby really does have different cries for tiredness, hunger, fear, frustration, and wind.

…. you can never have too many muslins/burp cloths.

…. cloth diapers come in handy as towels, change mat covers, and burp cloths too.

…. stain remover for cloth diapers is an excellent way to get out stains, especially that crazy yellow newborn poo.
I've learned that...

…. it is actually possible to take thousands of photos in just a few short months.

.... a baby can start teething long before one actually manages to cut through. 

…. having a spotless house isn’t always a first priority. In fact, it’s actually lowest on the list right now and the house is still generally tidy and organized.

…. there are few things better than having a baby that can soothe herself to sleep. 

…. a lot of good can come from baby books. I’m not sure how I would have managed without consulting “The Baby Whisperer” on a regular basis.

…. it’s handy to have a stroller and a baby carrier or sling of some sort.  They both have their advantages and disadvantages.

…. it is a lovely feeling to have a little one snuggled in close and dozing on me while I walk around town.

I've learned...
…. that despite my deepest love for my baby girl, it was still possible to feel nothing for her.

…. that no matter what I do, I cannot get back those days I lost when I was suffering from a most evil and heartless illness.

…. that I must learn to forgive myself for those darkest of days. That it wasn’t my fault.

…. That it is possible to smile, to laugh, to interact even when I am feeling nothing.

…. that my little girl is funny and happy despite that fact that her mother has been battling for all 20 months of her tiny little life.

I've learned that...

…. my little girl is so decidedly textbook that those “what to expect from your baby this week” blurbs are almost always right on.

….”Dada” will almost always be said before “mama.”

…. babies’ first rickety, jittery, teeter, tottery steps are at once hilarious and exciting.

I've learned that...

.... even when you know you need it, asking for help is one of the hardest things to do in the world.

…. even once you get the help you need, there is no quick fix, and certainly no easy options, when it comes to battling postnatal depression.

…. try as I might to be strong, this illness has had a profound effect on my husband, my family, and my close friends.


I've learned that...

.... my husband, my family, and my close friends are some of the most amazing and supportive people anyone could hope for.  I love you all. You have been my saviours. xx

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SandyS125 said...

Thank you. I'm quite pleased to see the difference as well. It's easy to forget how far I've come when living day by day. A little retrospection now and then is a good thing. ;-)

SandyS125 said...

Ha, "It's a steep learning curve" was my stock reply anytime anyone asked me how motherhood was in the first several months. The rewards have been slower for me to notice which has been painful but I hold out hope that I will reap them in when I am well and truly recovered. x

SandyS125 said...

Thank you and I couldn't agree more! x

SandyS125 said...

Definitely. x

Elaine Livingstone said...

friends are wonderful things, and make all the difference to your sanity, believe me without them daughter No2 would have been a battered or suffocated baby long before she reached a year old!! Keep up the good work

1978rebecca said...

i love the last paragraph of this post. It's true family is the most important thing. It's great to know they're there when you need them.

Jennie said...

What a lovely reflective post. It always amazes me how much we can learn from something so natural. Having my beautiful babies has been my steepest learning curve ever but I am certain that there is nothing on earth could beat the rewards of being a Mum x

The Boy and Me said...

That's a fabulous post and really speaks volumes about your journey over the past year. So pleased that you're on your way out of the darkness, we're always here for you.