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A story about a lonely mum

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A story about a lonely mum

Posted on 06 November 2014 by hulda

She is the third woman that sits in front of me today and weeps quietly.  Happy that her baby, now a few months old already, is sleeping in the car seat so that she can talk without interruption.  She wanted to breastfeed more, better, longer and feels like a little failure as it is not going as easy as she would have wished.  But this not the reason for the cry, really.  The cry is an outbreak of feelings that have been building up over the last few months, while a mixture of different demands, feelings of guilt and change of rhythm and role in her life has swung her backwards and forwards from happiness and joy to loneliness, sadness and emptiness that no one else around her seems to share.

 

She is not depressed, really.

But she is very, very alone.

 

Let's be kind to each other

Let’s be kind to each other

 

She is the third woman that I see today that shares pretty much the same story.  Actually, she did not really wish to share it.  She was just going to carry her weight and continue to remind herself that she should be happy.  Happy to have healthy children and a perfect family, good enough income to live a fun life here without anything missing.

 

Or what?

 

She goes regularly to mothers groups with the little baby and it is a relief to go out of the house every now and again and meet other mums.  It does, however, leave her with a strange feeling and this has been growing stronger and stronger each week.  The sensation of not performing well enough, not keeping up.  The comparison somehow always feels like it is not in her favour.  When should the baby sleep, how often should it feed, should he nurse to sleep, should he be entertained during the day, what time should he do this and that, with whom and how.  And it extends to other family matters; exercise after birth, losing the baby weight, going back to work, and husband’s role in the parenting, travels, in-laws, rhythms and routines of the household.  Not to mention the helpers.

Mostly she is quiet in the mummy groups.  Sometimes she participates and it feels good to share, and sometimes she just pretends, so that the others don´t realize how terribly disorganized and sad she feels.  There are many nice mums in the group and she would love to be closer to them.  But even then, she really does not have energy to do much more than what she already is doing.

Her husband comes home each night and he is tired and wants something that she cannot give.  Most of all, she really would just like to be in bed, nursing the baby to sleep or have him wrapped around her from behind and share short stories about how their day was, like they used to do in their early years together, before kids.  Then fall asleep and wake up in the morning, not tired and grumpy and perhaps have breakfast after their morning sex, shower and the baby playing happily in the background while they chat about what the day is likely to bring them.

Perhaps meet him for lunch later.

 

But actually, the reality is a bit different at the moment and it is hard to talk about it.  The tears are running down her face as she explains this to me, really, a stranger to her. But a person who does not judge her and can listen without having a strong opinion about everything.

 

In fact, a person that has heard it all before, many, many times.  From many, many other women. The ones that look happy and probably, most of the time also feel happy.  But battle all the same demons, thoughts and sometimes loneliness.  The feeling of loss or change of identity where they have ended up becoming – the wife of someone.

 

„So what does your husband do? “

 

The first question always asked when new people are met.  Not „who are you? “Or „what is your profession? “

And even if she is perfectly happy to have chosen to be at home with her little baby, happy and grateful to be able to spend time with him instead of rushing back to work, to be supported by her husband to take this role, she somehow feels strange about it.  Perhaps it is the pressure and the judgements, the strong opinions of others and how things are supposed to be. Perhaps it is the fact that the baby is crying more than she had expected and she has a hard time finding out how to soothe his needs.  Perhaps it is the very different ways that she and her husband feel should be used to manage cries, sleep and playtimes. After reading a lot of research on https://www.inpatientdrugrehab.org/ she feel that perhaps she has postnatal depression. She does not know, really.

 

And in fact, she understands her husband well, when he explains:  I work 15 hours a day and come home exhausted.  I bear the weight of all the finances in the household and I somehow need to find energy to fit in the family and kids time in the little leftover of it that there is, when holidays and guests are not taking our attention.  All I want is a quiet and calm and happy household to come home to, a clean home with a happy wife that greets me, sex two or three times a week, some decent food and a little extra time to have beer with my mates and go to the gym every now and again.  Is it too much to ask? “

 

She does not really know.  All she knows is that she is lonely and feels sad at the same time as she is grateful and happy in between.  She feels the love, towards her husband and her kids, friends and family.  She comes to the mothers groups and looks around and thinks about how kind these women are, how nice it is to meet them.

 

Most of the time, this beautiful, interesting and clever mum is absolutely fine.  But every now and again, she sits here in this chair and shares her feelings with me, weeping quietly.

 

I am a midwife and studied about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.  Yet most of my day is spent talking about parenting and relationships.  I am far away from being the expert in this.  But I have lots of understanding about it and I have come to realize that the non-support that people experience, when they become a family, from the environment, from others, perhaps simply just from the pace and complexity of our living, is enormous.

Staying afloat, let alone enjoying the journey, can be hard.

 

But it is possible.  And as we mature, things get a little easier.  The love and the patience and the knowledge somehow increases.

 

The woman in front of me wraps it up and puts on her sunglasses we hug a little and she goes to her next project.  She is happy as she walks out.  It has made me think again, perhaps I should talk about this more.  Share the story.  My story, just as much as everyone else´s story.  The story that is not shared often but most feel.  Mums and dads.
Let’s be warm and kind to each other everyone.  Best,

Hulda

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

 

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Raising a happy child

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Raising a happy child

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

It’s never too soon to help your child develop an inner strength to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Hulda Thorey, founder of Annerley Maternity and Early Childhood Professionals, midwife and mother of four provides some tips:

  • Put baby on its tummy as early and as often as you can from birth onwards.  The child will see the world from a different angle and learn to reach out to get what he / she wants instead of always finding that everything comes automatically, for example dangling toys and ready-made play solutions.
  • Be moderate, not extreme, in your communications.
  • Praise when appropriate, and give as little attention as possible to less positive behavior.
  • Give very clear messages. Do what you say you will do (both treats and threats) –  and expect the same of the child.
  • Remember that the baby copies you.  It will not be told to behave in one way and then see you do things differently.
  • Don’t constantly try to make the baby follow rules.  Confidence and creativity can be killed if you force your child to stick to the usual rules.  For example, why do they have to colour inside the box on a pre-drawn picture?
  • Encourage interaction with people of a broad age.  Grandparents offer a very different perspective on life, and alternative ways in which to do things.  This usually provides a healthy addition to parenting.

 

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