With the husband around a lot recently, I haven’t been able to spend as much time with Boo as I would like. For one, I have had an evil, evil cold and not only have I needed the rest, I have wanted to avoid coughing, sneezing and spluttering my germs all over my little girl.
So the husband takes over and I let him. He has started to talk to me about Boo as if she’s not even mine. He tells me what she does and what she likes as if I am never there. He doesn’t say ‘oh isn’t it exciting that she does this now?’ or ‘have you noticed…?’ he tells me as if I am meeting her for the first time. ‘No, she doesn’t like that’ ‘She wants this’ ‘She does this now’.
‘She has your cold’ he declares. He doesn’t think she does or wonder if she does, she simply does. I offer other ideas – could she be coughing simply because she’s learnt how to and it’s a new noise? Or as another symptom of the dreaded teething? Because she seems well otherwise…But no, he is right. He has to be. He knows her best.
He has all the answers but none of the solutions.
I feel I owe the husband so much. He did so much for me in those early weeks when I was so ill and in the pitch darkness of the beginnings of my then unmedicated PND. Without him I wouldn’t have coped. Would I?
It feels more and more like parenting is becoming a competition. He always talked about how left out he felt when I was pregnant. Everything was about me, addressed to me, focused on me. Now Boo is here, and she’s not all mine anymore. He’s taking her away, he wants her to himself.
He is a fantastic daddy, that there is no question about. Boo laughs her hardest and her loudest for him. She has been a daddy’s girl since her first minute of life, she adores him and he adores her. But I feel pushed out.
I am so angry at myself because I have no fight left in me. I have resigned myself to things being the way that they are. Boo is only just six months old, she has no comprehension of right and wrong, of good and bad. She cries because she needs or wants something, not because she is being naughty. But the husband thinks differently and I have given up. He lets her cry, tells her she is being silly and tells her she can’t just scream for what she wants. But I would cry too if my nappy needed changing, or I was scared or bored and that was the only way I had to communicate.
I can’t help but think that part of the push I need to drag myself out of the depths of PND and into recovery is simply time with Boo. Yes, I have to admit that caring for her totally alone is something that still scares me. But if I was forced to do it I would have to. And I’m sure after a little while I would realise that I can do it and that I am good enough. It just feels like it’s never going to happen.
Sometimes when I lay awake in bed in the middle of the night, just before the birds start to sing I hear Boo from her room. She has started to wake for half an hour’s playtime in her cot before drifting back off to sleep until morning. Most nights I leave her to it, worried I will stop her from going back to sleep or get her into some awful ungodly hour of playtime routine. But on the nights where I need her, need to feel a connection, I go to her. I sneak out of our bedroom and into hers.
She’s happy; she smells of sleep and baby lotion and she has a special smile that’s just for me. She doesn’t want me to join in her game, but she’s glad I’m there. She plays with her cot toy with one hand but looks up to me and holds her other tiny, chubby hand, fingers splayed, out for me to take. And then she holds on tight, smiles and goes back to her game. She doesn’t let go when she falls back to sleep. I stroke her face, gently unfurl her fingers from around mine and creep back out of her room.
That’s when I’m her mummy. That’s our time.