This is a low

It has been a while since my last post, and the only excuse I can give for this is that the side-effects of coming off the medication have been giving me a pretty serious kicking. One of the few things I have done in the last couple of weeks which has made me feel remotely competent has been rescuing a cache of music from my old, otherwise defunct iPod. Most of this was mid-90s Indie stuff, which should explain the title of the post, certainly to any other readers of a similar vintage to me.

I do try not to be self-indulgent here, but the last couple of weeks have been pretty tough. Even though you know the aforementioned side-effects are coming, it doesn’t make them any the less horrid, or any easier to deal with. We’ve had the fun period of feeling utterly, stupidly tired for no reason whatsoever. The “cotton-wool head”, as I call it, which is a bit like being very drunk and very hungover at the same time, but without the fun part of actually getting drunk. The brain shivers, which were a new one on me, but were pretty alarming when they happened. The euphemistically-named low mood. It has all been rather entertaining.

I had a couple of bad days which coincided with Eoin being particularly tantrummy, and with my husband working very long hours. On learning a friend was expecting a baby, I remember thinking, “Right: that’s it. She’s having one: I have to do it too. I’m off the medication now, so if I want to have another child, it’s time to start the whole sorry business over again. If I wait, it’s only going to mean it takes longer to get my sanity back”. These are, as far as I can accurately remember, were the very words I used (“the whole sorry business” sticks pretty clearly in my mind), and I think from this you can tell I wasn’t in a good way.

Things are getting better now: I’ve had lots of visits from lovely people who have taken me out to go to the beach, to buy yarn, and to eat cheesy buns at St Fagans in truly obscene quantities. I have had a long conversation with my very sensible husband, who has pointed out that SSRI cessation will inevitably have an effect, but that it is important to remember that this is temporary. In fact, to continue the lyric from my title in an appropriately studenty manner, “this is a low, but it won’t hurt you”. Things seem to be stabilising a bit, but I’m still having difficulty wrapping my head around the idea of potential conception number two. I look at Eoin today, though, and I have to say he is marvellous. He spent they day tickling my friends unexpectedly behind their knees, pointing out chaffinches and Toyotas with equal enthusiasm, eating chorizo and red peppers but not lentils for tea (“I don’t like lentils very much, Mammy”), singing “Happy Birthday” to himself at bedtime (it’s not his birthday), reading Neil Gaiman and Maurice Sendak picture books even though they were scaring the adults, cuddling me while listening to music, counting really quickly and inaccurately (“one-two-three-four-five-six-NINE!”), and generally charging around like a tiny human dynamo, occasionally bouncing off things. He really is worth all the bad stuff. And, while I’m scared at the prospect of what might happen (more gestational diabetes, another difficult delivery, more PND, two tiny humans to look after when one is hard enough), I have to believe that another baby will be the same. There will be bad times, but the good times will make them worthwhile. The low won’t last forever.

I promise that more cheerful content will be coming soon: I have an addictive snack recipe and a lot of quilty goodness to share with you. There’s always yarn. For the moment, though, if I’m not talking much on here, you know why. Thank you to everyone who has been so kind and patient with me over the last while: I appreciate it more than I can say.

Oh, and I’d like to extend a particularly big thank you to Siân for not actually stealing the cashmere quilt, even though I know she wanted to.

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8 thoughts on “This is a low

  1. Please forgive me for being so blunt but after reading this I am rather worried. Are you absolutely sure that you HAVE to have another child? There is really nothing wrong with being the mother of only one child. Your health and sanity is a lot more important than a second pregnancy. Again, please forgive me if I am being too forward but as your avid reader for two years now I felt I had a right to speak out.

  2. Don’t thank me yet, I might well be planning a midnight raid across the border :p

    *hugs* for you honey, I had a lovely weekend and it was so good of you to put us up in such style (the croissants! The roast! All The Wine!) when you’re having such a tough time.

    Do you read Esther Coren’s blog (Recipe Rifle) I think I’ve recommended it before? I think she does a really good job of writing about motherhood and PND in a very down to earth and funny way and doing a very good job of showing how hard and drudgy it can all be, while still being ultimately worth it. If you’re really set on having two then I think that’s the sort of attitude you need to take (says she who has none, so I know I know nothing!) I get the idea from mothers I do know that it’ll all be fine once the youngest is 3 and we’ll all be here to help and hug you until you get to that point.

    And Cardiff isnt far you know, if you put out a howl of need on Twitter then some of us will get over there and play wheels with Eoin for as long as you need us to if you need a break, ok? Even if you just lock yourself in the wool room!

    You’re a brilliant mum and Eoins a very happy little sausage. It’s all ok.

  3. Chiming in on the second baby thing, in point form.

    1. Your initial thought there made perfect sense to me and sounded really quite familiar even without med withdrawal. Babies are insanely hard and it’s only reasonable to give due consideration to how long it will be before you feel remotely like yourself again.

    2. Litcook is quite right, there’s no obligation to have two. However, assuming you know that, and think you might actually WANT two… (It took me absolutely ages to decide I could and wanted to do it all over again, this is not an easy choice)

    3. The second baby is different. Maybe not easier, no one can predict, but different. In one way definitely easier: you have the perspective of having been through it all, and survived, so you know it passes. (Ok, theoretically you know that with your first, but you don’t feel it!) In one way definitely harder: you’re dealing with two kids at once, and at times they will really interfere with each other (one disturbing your efforts to get the other to sleep, etc). Got to say, that part is driving me crazy right now.
    But because you’re so busy with both of them, it passes much faster- at least, two months in, it really seems to be going fast. (Those two months with elfling were positively glacial.) And I think the easier times will be here soon.
    If you did it again… I think there’s an excellent chance you would make it through with much less stress, and more enjoyment, than the first time. No guarantees. But a good chance.

  4. I just realised I forgot to actually write the thing I meant to write!

    You’ve got a marvellous, happy little sausage, and you’ve been a great mum, even when you didn’t think you were being. (I’m not sure that sentence is quite right, but you know what I mean!) You’re also a thinky sort of person, with, as you say, a sensible husband. If you think a second baby is worth the risk of some Bad Stuff and the certainty of the usual Hard Stuff, I think you can trust your own judgement, and trust yourself to do all the sensible things like talk it through with healthcare providers and people like Robynn who’ve got actual experience with two littles.

    And Siân’s right – we’re not that far. We can’t help immediately, Cardiff’s not that close, but if you need a hand we can come up and help out with pretty short notice. ((million interweb hugs))

  5. Hugs to you dealing with so much. Two babes are a different world to one and the two sprogs can be amazingly different to each other. I can’t believe how different mine are, but I love the fact they are so different as at least you get a break from their character quirks. And yes there are highs as well as lows, you just have to make sure you remember to take time to enjoy them. A thing that I find myself forgetting with the day to day grind. Having said all that, having two wasn’t a quick decision for us which is why there’s a bit of a gap between ours.

    Hearing about Eoin here, you amaze me with your parenting abilities, much much hugs for dealing with really big things. I hope things do stabilize for you and good luck with whatever choice you make.

  6. Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments: I realise that this probably sounds like I am over-dramatising things, or that the prospect of another baby is making me leaf through the complete works of Sylvia Plath rather too much, or that I am thinking fond thoughts about rocks and cardigan pockets. It’s just that I still do get these fears and anxieties, and talking about them helps me to deal with them so that they don’t fester away in my head and make me worse. Venting does help, though I know it might be a bit worrying to witness

    If we are lucky enough to have a second little sausage, I don’t doubt that there will be tough times coming, not least because two small children will always be hard work, not matter how angelic they might be. In my rational mind, though, I know I really do want to want do this. Eoin is a really happy, loving, bright little boy, and if I can make one child like that, I’d like to think that I can make another. I’d always imagined having two children: I am an only child, and I’d like him to have a brother or a sister to grow up with, to scrap with, to lead into mischief, and to love unconditionally. I know that last point isn’t guaranteed, but we can hope! I am scared, but I think that’s pretty understandable. I suppose this is a case of “feel the fear and do it anyway”, as some awful self-help book would probably instruct me.

    Thank you all for holding my hand through this, whether virtually or in reality. It really does help.

  7. Hi, Sorry – don’t have a lot of time for reading blogs at the mo, but sending you a big virtual hug. Yes, having a baby is hard work – and you’ve done it miles away from family and in a brand-new town where you didn’t know anyone. Pretty bloody amazing!

    Me, Moll and Wilf would love to be added to the list of people that take you to St Fagan’s for cheesy buns and a chat very soon.

    Take care of yourself xxx

    • Thank you: we’d love to do that ASAP! I was just feeling guilty today that I hadn’t made Molly’s hat yet: I’m having trouble working out the maths to make it a bigger size… As Eoin told me the other day, when he bumped his head on the paving slab behind the tollbooth at St Fagan’s, cheesy buns will make it all better. He’s wise, that boy! Hugs to you and all the children xx

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