My wonderful baby girl is approaching six months old! And what an extraordinary six months it has been! My husband and I adore our daughter and are having so much fun watching her grow. She laughs, smiles, rolls, interacts with us, plays with her toys and soon will try her first mouthfuls of fruits and vegetables. Can't wait to see what she enjoys most!
Lots of people have been asking me what life is like as a mum with BPD so I thought I would take a moment to write about it whilst my baby is napping. Unfortunately, my postnatal period has been anything but straightforwards due a long and challenging recovery from a very difficult birth and postnatal complications that caused me severe difficulties. It was hard to see other mums recovering much, much faster than me and being able to do things that were (and still are) out of my reach. That has been tough to say the least, but luckily I have been in utterly love with my girl and we have been very much enjoying each others' company.
Emotions relating to my baby
When I was pregnant I was worried I would love my baby so much that I would explode with emotion. If you have BPD, then you will probably know that so-called 'positive' emotions can pose challenges just like so-called 'negative' emotions (not that emotions should be labeled as positive or negative really as they exist to tell us important information and often compel us to act in useful, protective ways). However, my fear of not coping with the amount of love did not come true as I found it very manageable. It is very common to cry a lot in the first few days after birth due to the intense hormone changes and I think all of this hit me in a very normal way. As I mentioned, I did have intense physical pain and the challenges of my recovery as I mentioned which hit me really hard. In terms of anxiety, most of that has been related to my physical recovery and anxieties about my baby have been really normal I think.
Relationship with my baby
My relationship with my baby is absolutely amazing, if I may say so myself!! She is like my little best friend as we do everything together and spend all day (and all night!) together. Wherever I am, she is. She gets a thousands kisses from her mum and dad everyday and has not been short on hugs either. I have been under the Perinatal Mental Health Service since pregnancy and something the professionals there always ask about is the 'bond' with the baby. Whilst that can be an issue for some parents and babies, it has not been one for me. I feel very connected and in love with my little girl, plus I feel confident that she adores me back. My husband is the same too. It is the most lovely feeling in the world for both of us. I was allocated talking therapies by the Perinatal Mental Health Service, but after a couple of sessions I have decided it's not right for me as it's primarily for parents who need support with their relationship with their bay.
The hardest part about having a baby
Apart from my difficult birth and distressing postnatal complications, the hardest part about having a baby is having so little time for myself. From sunrise to sunset and the hours in between, I am there for my baby. She needs me to meet all her needs at any moment. Whilst it is a blessing that we are together, sometimes I crave time to do something for myself like draw in my sketchbooks, take a shower that's longer than two minutes or work on my scrapbooks and journals. As I am exclusively breastfeeding her and she won't drink from a bottle, it means I need to be with her all the time and plus I am her primary caregiver as I'm on maternity leave and my husband is at work. Not having an evening or time to spend with my husband just the two of us is hard too. I tell myself it won't last forever.
Lack of sleep
When my baby was three months old she started sleeping amazingly at night. In fact, she started sleeping so well I couldn't really tell other mums about it as I didn't want to make them feel envious. However, that all stopped when she began teething and had her first cold... At the moment I am in the haze of sleep deprivation and it makes some days really hard. My mind thinks about sleep and how much I long for it, without the possibility of having it. People are quick to say 'nap whilst the baby naps', but it's not possible when she wakes up at such random moments. I have given up napping during the day unless it's the weekend and my husband is around because every time my head hits the pillow the baby wakes up and I'm left feeling worse than I did before.
Confidence as a mum
Overall, I feel really capable as a mum. I know with all my heart that my little girl is having an amazing start in life with parents who love her and are doing a great job of meeting all her emotional and physical needs. She has a loving family who enjoy seeing her grow. Whilst I look forward to the future (how cute her first birthday will be!), I sometimes want to pause time as it is going too fast. Anyone with BPD who is reading this post, I hope it's helpful. Please know that people with BPD can make loving, thoughtful and supportive parents. You have the right and deserve to have that dream. Anyone who suggests otherwise is misinformed.
- Rosie x