I’LL HAVE SOME RELIEF, WITH A SIDE OF INADEQUACY & ANXIETY PLEASE
I’m scared of little people. Not dwarves; little people. Babies. More accurately, I’m scared of my baby. You’d think that after five months of being around her every day, I’d be more confident in myself, but that has not been the case. She has a resting bitch face that she probably got from my girl Suzzie, causing me to question a lot of my decisions. You don’t know fear until it paralyses you in the bathroom, where you’re trapped as you debate whether or not to flush because that sudden rush of water could wake the baby and change your entire night.
So I’ve been doing a lot of questioning lately. About a month ago, I decided to start supplementing her feeds with formula. Her appetite was insatiable; my meager supply of milk was not increasing despite all the foul-tasting herbal teas I was taking, and my growing appetite for uji was only taking me back to my end of pregnancy weight (blegh). So after months of trying really hard to exclusively breastfeed, I gave in to formula.
It was a bit of a struggle at first because she didn’t like the taste of it, but as soon as she got over the whole “I want to savour my meals and not just eat to survive” thing, she started feeding well. Meaning she started to feed a lot, which only made me feel like I had been starving her while stuffing myself with anything and everything I wanted to eat. I was like a cow that enjoyed the expensive dairy feeds without producing the milk.
At first I was relieved because my boobs got a break, I could have a life, sleep a little more, and even try and fashion myself as a cool person. Until the break started feeling like the validation of my inadequacy. I’d gone from having her on my boob all the damn time, to handing her over to my nanny for bottle feeding so she could get used to it, after which the nanny would change her, bring her back to me to chill a little, before taking her back and putting her to sleep, while I pumped or looked for new ways to spend my coins.
You’d think I’d be happy about that right? Nope. I felt like shit. I felt inadequate, and for some reason I couldn’t shake this niggling feeling that my baby didn’t need me any more, she was fine with the nanny. I know many women speak about the joys of breastfeeding, the wonderful bonding experience it creates, blah, blah, blah. It’s no secret that I don’t enjoy breastfeeding, never have, can’t wait to stop doing it, but suddenly I want to do it because it feels like the only thing I can do for her that nobody else can.
Some days it feels like I’m incapable of being a great mom, despite all the help I get from my nanny. I feel like I’m cheating by relying on her so much, never mind that having her there for me to rely on is exactly why we pay her. Now Christmas is almost here and I’m terrified of being left alone with my baby. The closer we get to the holidays the more anxious I get about not having her around. She’s my crutch, and I’m wondering how I’ll survive a few days without her.
I don’t know how to put the baby to sleep without letting her use me as a pacifier for a good 30 minutes; because my nanny has been doing it. She’s also been taking her out to bask in the sun, cleaning her clothes and bottles, feeding us. Basically doing everything. For the first time in my life I understand why women with kids go bat shit crazy over the holidays, and almost hug their nannies when the holidays are over – if they have the good fortune to have nannies who actually come back to work after Christmas.
And then I’m going back to work and I’m just like; how the hell am I going to figure out this whole working mom thing? I was really looking forward to it because I had visions of being a boss babe with a baby on my lap, phone cradled to my ear and laptop with inbox zero and three neat tabs open on my desk; now I’m just anxious.
We’re sleep training Gong now and she’s sleeping better at night, but she still wakes up for at least one feed that keeps me up for an hour each night. That hour is not forgotten during the day, and must be reclaimed somehow. I’ve never been one to get to the office early but I swear it’s going to be a daily struggle to get to work before noon each day now.
Then there’s the little issue of expressing milk, which I don’t want to do in the office because it takes 72 hours for me to milk myself and get to 60ml, which my baby drinks in 30 seconds. This baby obviously has no respect for the process, and might be borderline greedy.
On top of that I’ve decided that I need to start working out because six months of doing nothing but watching Food Network and exploring the world of culinary delights have not been kind to my waistline. My arms are the size of my sister’s thighs, I’ve forgotten how to suck in my stomach for longer than 30 seconds (I could go a whole day previously) and my health app tells me I’ve been living a dangerously sedentary lifestyle. I honestly for the life of me cannot figure out why I’m only now thinking of this when my doctor gave me the green light to start working out four months ago!
This baby has made me feel a range of emotions that I never thought I would feel. She scares me shitless sometimes, but she’s also my finest piece of work, no matter how inadequate I feel around her. Wish us luck!
I went back to work on Wednesday 13th December 2017. It felt great to be back there after being home since early June, but I’d forgotten how to be there. My day basically went like this: I showed up at 9.30am. I had to be reminded to pass through the body scanner, something I hadn’t done in nine months. I could barely walk in my heels so I felt like I was gully creeping all day. I went to the wrong floor. I had to have my laptop set up all over again. I read two emails and marked all others read. I sent two emails. I smiled until it hurt, and told everyone “good to see you”. I basked in the glow of compliments about a body snapback secretly aided by shape wear one size too small (for maximum impact). I had lunch at my desk and left at 3pm, by which time my boobs had almost doubled in size so I had quad boob I couldn’t hide. Oh, and I only called the nanny once while there. Not bad ay? Though I did misplace my car keys and didn’t notice until I got to my car. But still, I pretty much killed it for someone who’d been away six months.