One Minute At A Time – by Jaime Bell
Why do babies always start crying when you want to sit down and do something? Ah that is what is happening to me right now…
Take two! (Two days later mind you).
I gave birth to my second child on 6 November 2016 and I guess you could say I started labour on the back foot. I live in a remote town in North-Western Australia and there wasn’t a trained anesthetist to administer the epidural I was hoping for. This was devastating as I faced the prospect of giving birth without it and made do with a TENS machine and gas. Eight hours later my son Henry was born.
From the minute he entered the world Henry was unsettled. Unlike my first baby Lily who I just adored and cherished, I started my life with Henry feeling exhausted, sick (from the gas) and unable to figure out why he wouldn’t sleep. I started comparing him to Lily straight away and he was just so different.
I felt like a robot and admittedly didn’t feel that instant bond that I did with Lily. I found everything associated with mothering challenging as I adjusted to giving birth, the bodily and hormonal changes and trying to look after my new unsettled baby boy.
I can safely say that I have struggled immensely over the past few weeks and have had difficulty finding enjoyment in anything during this special time.
I have read that post-natal depression is common with first children due to the major life change and loss of independence but I believe this has happened to me the second time round as my time is consumed by the children. Lily was just over two years old when Henry was born and she has been great with the adjustment but has also ramped up the tantrum stakes and tests my partner and I daily.
As the weeks passed, Henry became increasingly unsettled – his witching hour would go on for hours – and it was determined by “Dr Google” and then confirmed by a real doctor at his six week check-up that he had colic with mild reflux. The doctor said we had another six weeks of it and to try and instigate routine and ride it out which has been easier said than done. He’s 10 weeks old now and I have questioned my sanity a few times.
Going from one child to two is such a huge adjustment that to throw colic and an opinionated two year old into the mix has thrown me.
So far it has not lived up to my expectations of being happy families and any minute where I feel I’m having a win is quickly taken over with a tantrum by my toddler or crying by my newborn which brings me to the biggest thing I am learning on this parenting journey and that is to stop putting expectations on everything.
I find it hard to pull myself out of the funk when things don’t go the way I thought they would or want them too and I wonder if that is why I have struggled so much because I went in believing it would be easy. Everyone said that I’ll be much more relaxed with my second child because I knew what was doing which has not been the case at all. My partner constantly says that we are currently in the midst of the hardest time of our lives which I believe is true and something I am slowly learning to accept and also to cherish.
My name is Jaime Bell. I am 33 years old and live with my partner Anthony in Kununurra in the Kimberley region in North-Western Australia. We have two children, both born here, Lily who is two and a half and Henry, 10 weeks.