Last week I had a little bit of a bad day, the type of day where you're in a bad mood for no reason and just feel helpless and don't know how to shake yourself out of the slump. It was a lovely day weather wise which in a way sort of made it worse as I felt a pressure (is this weird?) to make the most of the sunshine and warmth where in actual fact I didn't really want to do anything.
I think the main thing was, was that I felt a bit lonely and a little bored. When Rohan was born and in hospital Rob was lucky enough to be able to be off from work and then have his paternity leave when Rohan was home. We spent 9 weeks together, and having each others company. I mean I'm not going to lie and say there weren't times when I wanted to be on my own but actually it was pretty good having someone there and having company with someone who you feel so comfortable with and is in the same situation as you are. Then since he went back to work I had been so busy each week with hospital appointment or health professionals visiting that it felt like I didn't really have to plan to do anything with my days. The days that we weren't at appointments were just spent doing all the other bits I needed to do like shopping etc.
I joked a while back that my only social life was with the doctors and health professionals, and actually I think that was true, and in a way I felt quite comfortable with that. Being in the hospital environment and with people who knew about Rohan's condition was actually a relief, not having to explain why he has tubes, or casts or feeling like people are wondering what is wrong with him. Then suddenly last week, after a busy previous day of appointments, I had nothing planned. I felt like I wanted to go for a walk but actually didn't really want to go for a walk aimlessly by myself. I didn't want to go and wander around another shopping centre and spend money on things just because I was bored. I sort of felt like I'd left it too late to arrange to meet up with anyone and it all just ended up making me grumpy and feeling a little helpless.
Then it sort of hit me that I remembered this is a little of what life with a baby is like, with Theo perhaps it was a little different because it was all new and I had made a few friends from antenatal groups so had people to meet up with, but generally there wasn't so much to do to fill your days. This time around I've been so focussed by everything that's been going on with Rohan's health that I haven't really set up anything socially for us both. I know perhaps it's different second time around anyway, as you are generally busier because of having two children to look after, but because of the age gap of Theo and Rohan, there are good chunks of everyday where it's just me and Rohan so it can seem a little like it's just the two of us.
I just feel a little like this time I don't feel comfortable going to normal mummy and baby groups. We don't even go to the health clinics to get weighed as Rohan has his own dietician who does all of that. When I was pregnant I didn't go to any groups other than a yoga class, but I joined quite late and to be honest didn't really go to make friends as I was aware by that point that Rohan had problems and my pregnancy was different and I found it a little painful to be around lots of happily expecting mums and their "perfect" pregnancies. The same goes for now really, I can't imagine myself going for coffee dates with mums with babies the same age as Rohan. I would feel too conscious of all that is going on with him and feel too different. I couldn't bear to join in conversations about the pains of breastfeeding, complaining about sleepless nights and general moans about life with a baby without wishing those were my only worries and thinking these mothers should count themselves lucky! (This by all means doesn't mean I think people don't have the right to complain about things, I was one of those mums first time around and it's all relative...I just wish in a way that I could only have those things to complain about!)
I have started to go to a group for babies who've spent time in special care units, at my local children's centre. This is a massive blessing as I feel a little more relaxed, and even though all of the other babies were premature, it's still quite comforting to know that these mothers know what it's like to spend time in hospital, to leave your baby and know what an NG tube is. But that's just once a week.
I guess what I'm getting at is that it's all so different this time around. Going out faces challenges in itself but I don't want to sit at home on my own all the time. I feel nervous about meeting with new people as I still don't really know how to explain properly what is going on with Rohan and why he requires all the extras he has. It's probably something I need to get over and just realise that I'll probably just have to explain it the once and hopefully people will be accepting of it all. But I think the problem isn't other people, it's me. I don't want to have to start comparing Rohan to other babies, measuring their progress against his and being constantly reminded that things are so different. I know I need to accept that things are just that, different, and move on, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready. It's going to take a long time to accept and be at peace with it all.