What exactly is baby blues or post partum depression? Wikipedia describes it as: “Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns”
Now I don’t have this – but many do and I can’t imagine their pain and I can only hope that most have amazing support systems.
Just because I don’t have PPD, doesn’t mean that having my babies didn’t come with any low’s. Mostly high’s – which everyone knows about and see’s on Facebook. The happy and joyful times. But there are so many sad and helpless times that don’t get talked about. It got me thinking about all the emotions I am currently feeling and ones I have been holding back for long enough.
There’s a common saying “it takes a village to raise kids” but what happens when you feel like your village has fallen down around you?
If you’re reading this and are in my inner circle, how well do you know my children? When is the last time you saw my children (or us)? When is the last time you bothered to come visit us? When is the last time you’ve helped us in a time of need when it wasn’t only convenient for you?…
There’s no greater excitement than having your first baby – and not just for us as parents to be, but for everyone around us.
When you get married, everyone is on baby watch from the moment you say “I do” and then finally the time comes when you are pregnant. Such joy!
Everyone close to you talks about their predictions for gender and how they can’t wait to spoil him or her, babysit and spend time with baby to be.
Then comes the baby shower – everybody comes…family, friends, extended family that you hardly talk to, co workers….and they not only bring the best gifts and everything that baby needs, they continue to talk about baby and how they can’t wait to meet her and love her, spoil her and babysit her.
Baby is born and everyone comes to the hospital to visit the new awaited baby. People bring more gifts and visit our home frequently the week after, showering us with food and more gifts. Baby is loved and cared for so much!
As those first few weeks turn into months, it gets quiet…less fuss, less people. The honeymoon phase of baby is over and the showering of love goes away. With the exception of a select few family and friends, no one comes to visit, no one offers to help, no one is available to babysit, and no one seems to notice any cries for help.
Baby’s first birthday arrives and suddenly everyone appears again – that one special day, when most of those people who were excited from the beginning show up again and talk about baby like they know her all to pieces – when in fact they probably had only seen her 5-6 times and really only know her from Facebook.
You feel hopeful and excited! You make plans to spend time together – but then the celebration is over and you know deep down…those plans won’t come to fruition – why? Perhaps we don’t have much in common anymore…many reasons I suppose.
Baby becomes an active toddler and joins activities. Everyone comments on the Facebook photos in excitement but then no one actually shows up to watch a practice or a recital besides immediate family.
Baby’s second birthday comes and people come to celebrate – but they wonder why baby is nervous of them or too shy to go near them. It’s because you know her from Facebook but not in real life and so she doesn’t know you.
Baby is 2 and a half and people are starting to question why there’s no baby number 2 yet.
The truth? We always said we’d have babies 2 years apart and no more. But then baby turned 2 and I wasn’t ready for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I didn’t feel like I was ready to share the love I had for baby number 1. How could I love another baby as much? How? And secondly, because it’s a lot of work! When you feel like you don’t have much support and how most of those close to you barely know baby number 1, how can we survive with 2 babies and not a lot of support? People would keep telling us about activities or vacations “you know you won’t be able to do that when you have 2” – What that really meant is that they wouldn’t be interested in entertaining both of our kids together as it would be a burden.
Finally we decide its time. Baby number 1 is two and a half years old. We find out we’re pregnant and it’s a very exciting time.
We find out it’s a girl and have a gender reveal party that some people close to us didn’t bother to attend. The baby shower came and I decided to have a small one with just close family and friends as we didn’t need much.
People gathered and it was a lovely day talking about baby to come and spending time with baby number 1 (who had recently turned 3 by this point) People laughed and enjoyed each other’s company and how they couldn’t wait for new baby to arrive and discuss their predictions of if she was going to look like her sister.
One thing I’ve noticed is that at these sort of functions people tend to say things like “oh if you ever need a babysitter…” “if you need a break…” “I can’t wait to see the two of them together” and so on. Unfortunately I’ve also noticed that these are statements of false hope.
Baby number 2 arrives and I found the love that I thought I didn’t have to give. Oh the joy! This hospital stay was much shorter so almost no one came – understandable.
Some people came to visit at home and brought gifts, food or offered help – but certainly not as many people as when baby number 1 arrived.
Having a toddler turning preschooler and an infant is hard work. Sometimes hubby and I want some time to ourselves to go out or even to just stay home and clean the house – but reliable babysitting is hard to find. Memories flash back of all those offers of help and babysitting that people gushed about – but no one was around when help was actually needed.
Almost no one makes much of an effort to see or spend time with baby number 2. People offer to help with older, baby number 1 when it’s convenient for them – but it’s too much of a burden to spend time with both.
Suddenly irony sets in. I recall thinking about how I couldn’t love another baby more than number 1 but I had so so much love to give to baby number 2…but now people are saying baby number 2 is too much of a burden and it hurts deeply – how can people favour baby number 1 over baby number 2. If hubby and I want to go out we’re forced to take baby number 2 while baby number 1 goes for a sleepover…..we’re asked to pack up everything and bring both somewhere, when it would be much simpler for a babysitter to come to our house where all of babies things are. Alternatively, the only other option would be to call one of those people “who couldn’t wait to babysit” who have made no real effort to get to know our kids – it’s a losing situation to be in. And then when a person would come to babysit we have to decide: Do we go out and enjoy ourselves only to come home to a huge mess a babysitter left and have to clean for an hour – or do we just stay home.
It’s not all bad – we’ve had some great support and have appreciated that great support so much – but nothing lasts forever.
Of all the times we need help or support with the kids, nothing bothers us more than when we ask for help and the answer is “oh well I don’t know what we’re doing yet” – like what does that even mean? I’m here crying for help and asking you if you’d help out by spending a few hours with the kids or come visit my house to entertain them for a few hours – and you don’t have plans but you might so, no, you can’t help. Then you find out that those people done absolutely nothing and didn’t answer your cry for help simply because they didn’t want to. I’m the type of person who would help anyone at any time if I could -so that just don’t sit well with me at all. It’s just as well you gave me and our kids a big fu*k you.
Maybe some people reading this will understand, maybe some will feel rather defensive, and maybe it’ll be eye opening for some.
Unless people are a big part of your daily life, they are oblivious to your problems.
The sad part? We have family who live a thousand miles away who would love to be able to spend time with our kids and help us – and who are probably jealous that the people right here in front of us get to see our kids all the time – except they don’t. We hardly see anybody. No one comes to visit, and it’s hard to go anywhere else with a baby who tries to put everything in sight in her mouth and nothing is babyproofed.
We host parties and I tell people to come early to see the girls before they go to bed…they show up later….is is personal? Do they not like our kids? Are they embarrassed that they don’t know our kids as much as they should? I’ll probably never know the real reason.
People tend to compare the kids… it’s a constant comparison.. “oh baby 1 was doing that long before baby 2”… “baby 2 is much more whiny than baby 1”…. “you sook baby 2 too much”…. “baby 2 is much more difficult than baby 1”…. “oh baby 1 is jealous a lot lately because of baby 2”……those comments are so hurtful. It’s not a competition. Every baby is different – and your feedback and comparing my kids is hurtful.
I’m not mad or feel hatred toward anyone – I’m mostly just sad.
Sad that people judge my children
Sad that people compare my children
Sad that people favour one over the other
Sad that none of those once excited people even bother to come around
Sad that it takes its toll on me and hubby.
Sad that hubby and I only truly have each other when really it takes a village
Sad that our close and extended family will never be close to our kids because of distance when our close and extended family and friends in our area will never be close to our kids because of pure choice.
Sad that we can’t rely on hardly anyone to help or babysit for a few hours even if we ask weeks in advance
Sad that people close to me are oblivious to any cries for help
Sad that I make a post on Facebook saying there’s additional tickets available at the door for Our oldest’s dance recital but no one shows up
Sad that only 10-15 people came to Baby 2’s first birthday party as opposed to 40 or more at Baby 1’s first birthday party
Sad that our friends and family don’t make an effort to spend time with us
Sad that people may judge me for writing this
Sad that people will probably think “wow she thinks she’s the only person in the world to have two kids and struggle”
Sad for the people reading this who are feeling like this is about them. I want them to know that it’s never too late to change. Children thrive when they can get all the love they can get!
All we can continue to do is to be the best parents as we can be. Teach our girls love, not hate. Teach them to be strong and independent and not to pickup bad habits or attitudes, and to always be kind. We need to teach them to use their voice to speak up about anything they feel the need to and most importantly to cut the bullshit and be honest with them.
Everyone needs love and support, and help to grow. If you have friends or family in your life who could use some help, please don’t alienate yourself – what kind of friend or family member would you be? Make yourself available to love and support as much as you can.
We’re all in this together