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Friday, 17 June 2016

The Day I Wanted To Run Away


My LittleLim is going to be 17months in a week's time. If you've been reading since the birth of LittleLim, you would have read this blogpost where breastfeeding was harder than childbirth and you would also have read where being a new mom was the second hardest thing I've ever had to do. By hard I don't mean calculus hard or cooking Heston's Botrytis Cinerea dessert hard (Masterchef fan!). I meant hard as in climbing Mount Everest, childbirth, swimming across the atlantic ocean and poking a pin right down your finger altogether hard. 

Having a child broke me physically, emotionally and mentally. Being a new mom who didn't know anything was hard enough, but being a new mom who didn't have her own mother to count on was crazy for me. Thank god for my amazing mother in law and grandmother in law who helped out in the biggest way possible but still it could never replace having your own mother. The moment everyone left after my one month confinement I stared at LittleLim helpless and lost. I was faced with the task of being a stay at home mom learning the ropes and having to take care of the baby 24 hours 7 days a week. But having to do it alone wasn't what broke me. 

What broke me was the crying. Being a mom for only a month, I didn't know that babies cry more than they sleep. (#truth) LittleLim cried ALL THE TIME and she doesn't sleep easily. At that time it felt like she made it her life's mission to reject sleep. She wanted to be carried all the time and would refuse the bouncer or pacifier. If it wasn't wanting to be carried she would want to nurse all the time till I was sore. Every waking moment she cried. Some days the carrying and the boobing did little to soothe her. Those shrill cries broke me and always reminded me at how useless I was.

On top of that I was feeling claustrophobic and couldn't adjust to not having any breathing space or me time. I was also getting very little sleep and whatever sleep I had was very disturbed. I was just exhausted to the point where I was getting very emotionally unstable. One evening I wasn't able to calm the screaming princess, who, at that point was exhausted but still refusing to sleep. Nothing I did worked. I was beyond frustrated and exhausted that I broke down crying with her. Instead of having pity on me, the girl cried harder. I was fed up. I ran and sat in the shower and cried my eyes out while she was screaming in the bouncer beside my shower. 

So many thoughts ran through my head. "What did I put myself through?" "I am a horrible mother! I can't even calm my baby down!" "I gave up my calm organised life for this?!" "She hates me. My baby hates me." "Why isn't my husband helping! Where is he when I need him?" "It would be so much better if I wasn't here." "I should run away. Start over." And suddenly the prospect of running away sounded good in my head. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate my child and I certainly didn't hate my husband. It was just me getting overwhelmed. I felt like I was drowning. My life had changed so much and I wasn't able to adjust fast enough. I wouldn't call it postnatal depression either because I wasn't depressed. I just felt stretched to the point running away sounded good (in my head).

Just as I had thought I made up my mind and decided to run away, I realised that the bathroom had gone silent. The screams were gone. I got out of the shower and saw the most innocent little face asleep. Tired out from all the crying. At that moment, I remember I love her. I remember that she needs me. I remember my husband needs me. I remember my fur-son needs me. I remember that this is only a phase. I remember love is a sacrifice. 


I picked up my sleeping baby and transferred her to the bed. As I placed her down her tiny finger grabbed mine. I love her. I lay down and fell asleep with her in my towel. I didn't care. I was exhausted. 

That was the hardest day in my motherhood journey. I would be lying if I said that thoughts of running away never came back. It has but usually I just laugh at it because I know that nothing will ever be as good as this life I have. That evening was 15 months ago. Today a new set of challenges lie before me but I always look back at that evening. 

The evening that reminded me of what it means to love. To stick through the hard parts and sacrifice for the person you love just as Jesus did. To be there for everything even if your body and emotions are torn apart. That even in bad times you do not call quits.

If you're a new mom struggling, scared, frustrated, tired - this is for you. I've been there in your shoes. All of us moms have. You are in good company and we've all been where you've been. We've all thought of running away. It doesn't make you or us any less of a mother. It makes you human. The fact that you're still there with your child, choosing to be present, learning to be the best mom to your little person makes you a great mom because you chose to love. Hang in there. From me to you - it gets better. Look at me now with my 17 month old! Soon you'll look back on this day and laugh. You'll look back on your tired self and pat yourself on the back because you survived. 

Oh and I learnt another important lesson through my experience. Babies cry even when there is no reason to. Try to soothe them the best you can otherwise just let them cry in a safe spot. Sometimes they too need to have a good cry to release whatever pent up energy / emotion they have.

-Ally

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