I know motherhood can’t always be smooth sailing, but I have to say that some weeks are just better than others. This last week was particularly difficult for me. Cubby was having a growth spurt, so she was exceptionally cranky and needy, she was waking up more through the nights (instead of less), and she was crying at the top of her lungs. I can’t stress how hard it is to be at the top of your game and totally responsive to a siren wailing in your ear for hours when you are not well rested. Everything becomes amplified and any little thing can set you off.
As I was thinking who I could call and reach out to for help, it occurred to me that I had so much care and support when I was pregnant. I had had a ob-gyn for 5 months as I was on a wait list for a midwife, and then I started with the midwife at 5 months. The level of care I received was unimaginable; it far exceeded my expectations. I had a team of midwives who I could call 24 hours a day and they would call me back, do a home visit or I could go to the clinic if it were open. (I would highly recommend having a midwife if it is your first pregnancy). I remained under the care of the midwives for 6 weeks post partum and they checked on cubby’s feeding, latching, weight, and any other health concerns that arose.
Then, we were discharged from midwifery care. I had a Peel Public Health nurse call me and follow up a few weeks later to see how I was doing and to look for things such as post partum depression or anxiety. Of course, I was still in the “newborn” stage, and had no clue what feelings could arise so I told the nurse that I was fine and was not experiencing any problems.
Following this, no one really checks in on you, with the exception of friends, family and co-workers. You are left with the baby to figure everything out for yourself and to seek out information independently. There is obviously no “new baby” manual or anything like that. This, coupled with no sleep, coupled with frustration, and coupled with anxiety leads to an awful mix of feeling like you have no professional support. And lastly, like you have no clue what you are doing!
I hope that every other new mom has felt like this and that I’m not the only one. I really feel for single moms and teen moms. I don’t know how they do it. I have a husband, who has been with me almost the whole time, and I still feel alone and frustrated at times. I look at cubby and see that she is doing well and thriving and I think to myself “I did this!” It’s because of my constant love, breastfeeding and nurturing that she is growing and blossoming.
The main point is that I think there is a gap in the health care system, where so much care is taken when someone is pregnant; however, there is a lack of care post partum. I think that every new mom should have some sort of counsellor or nurse to check in with them bi-weekly at least. Family doctors don’t always cut it and they give you vague answers such as “all babies are different”, “we don’t always know why the baby keeps crying”, or “they will sleep through the night when they decide to sleep through the night”. I wish there was some service you could call if you were having an awful day and had no friends/family around, and someone would relieve you even for 1 hour so you could take a nap or take a break from your baby to compose yourself. I know there are nanny services you can call for a minimum of 4 hours, but they are really expensive and hard to afford when you are on mat leave.
I guess I’m just dreaming and wishing that there was more public help. You don’t always want to call your mom and get a whole lecture about how she did this raising you and had no support at all, etc, etc. Not that I don’t appreciate the help (believe me, I do!), but an unbiased supportive nurse or social worker would be much appreciated. I guess some weeks are just better than others, and for now I’m going to have to rely on the support of family and friends.