I realised after my previous two posts and visit to my GP that reading the ramblings of a depressed new dad probably isn’t a lot of fun or good to anyone apart from me.
As part of trying to recognise and beat my depression I thought I’d write a little about what the signs were that made me finally take action.
- Being withdrawn – without realising I’ve retracted right into myself and been oblivious to the effect my actions or inactions are having in others.
- Forgetfulness – I’ve been forgetting a lot of thing, and needing constant reminders for the simplest things.
- Lack if confidence – I’ve been feeling like I’m not able to do simple straightforward things, or make the simplest decisions like what to have for dinner without upsetting or annoying someone.
- Motivation – I have terrible lethargy, if I haven’t forgotten to do something something would be holding me back.
- Unaware of consequences – I have been completely oblivious at times to the consequences of my actions, how these symptoms have made me a very difficult person to live with.
- Clouded thoughts – I can’t seem to follow the usual thought processes in my mind, to assess situations or make decisions – anything from what to eat to when to set an alarm. It feels like a part of my mind is missing.
- Self pity – Surrounding all these things is a deep sense of pity and guilt. I have a wonderful wife and daughter, I live in a great house in a beautiful part of the country and have a great relationship with my family. What right do I have to feel miserable?
- Miserable – last but not least I’ve been miserable. From the look on my face to the sound of my voice, my underlying mood is very sad.
A big part of the problem is that I’ve been genuinely unaware of most of these symptoms, it’s only through talking with Wifey about these things that I’ve been able to see them fully, and that was a very difficult conversation to have.
Wifey and baby have been the things that have kept me going. I don’t want to be like this, I don’t want wifey to have to live with a husband like this and want my daughter to grow up inspired and excited about the world.
I didn’t want to admit I was officially depressed. I saw it as a sign of failure on my part, that I was letting my family down. It was Wifey that pushed me to going to the GP, and after facing up to the effect my depression was actually having on her I could see that things needed to change and I needed help.
Talking to the GP was tough, and afterwards I felt a sense of relief from admitting my problems, but also a sense of sadness that I am officially depressed – that somehow I’d let depression get the better of me.
Today I took my second antidepressant, (I learnt my lesson from yesterday and took it with breakfast to keep stomach cramps at bay) and am taking it a day at a time. I’m due to see the doctor again in a few weeks to see how things are, but will keep things updated here.
So yesterday was Friday the 13th. Wifey was tired and went to be at 9, I stayed up and watched a french film I’d recorded ages ago (District 13, a good action flic) and went to bed about 11.
Wifey slept until 9am the next day. TWELVE HOURS. She woke very briefly at 6 to ask me to do the first feed but went straight back off and got the longest nights sleep in about 6 months.
I wonder how long this will last?!
Time does fly past when you’re a new dad, I haven’t blogged for over a week and that won’t do.
This morning I was thinking about the little noises baby is making and it made me wonder what her voice will sound like? Something integral to who a person is, how they will be perceived and recognised is yet to develop. That’s a bit weird.
In other less random updates, things have been rather settled. baby is getting good amounts of sleep at night, and once put to bed at between 9:30 and 11 she usually sleeps until about three or four, then after a change and feed, again until seven or eight. Last night she went to bed at 10 and didn’t wake until 6 – amazing! Wifey was actually worried there was something wrong as she hadn’t been woken up earlier but baby fed well and Wifey was back in bed as I left for work – success!
The sleep has been good for me for a few weeks now, I rarely properly wake up when baby wakes at night, the only trouble I’ve had is getting to sleep (I’ve always struggled with insomnia). Work pressures have been building and I find it hard not having any evening downtime to clear my head. I had a chat with Wifey about this, (or rather she had a chat with me). Although I’m quite aware I’m not having a lot of fun yet, I thought I’d been managing OK but Wifey has been worried about my apparently quite obvious unhappiness.
I’m trying to make a few changes – making the most of time with baby when she’s in a cheerful mood after the evening feed, and I hope to start going to the gym again soon to get some downtime and also reverse the extra pounds I’ve been piling on since baby arrived (caffeine doesn’t agree with me so I had/have to rely on sugar to keep me going through the exhaustive days!). Problem is finding the energy after a day at work when you’re knackered and hugely out of shape!
But Wifey is right, I do need to take better care of myself so i just need to bite the bullet. The first few sessions are always the worst…
Me and wifey had a major collision today and said some terrible things to each other.
It’s been four weeks now since baby arrived and the cumulative effect bared its teeth.
I may be past the first four weeks, but I fear tougher times are ahead.
This morning’s post made for some grim reading. But baby as been rather more challenging recently and stretched our already weary minds further into the previous unknown reaches of sleep deprivation.
So I thought I’d write a counter post of the things I cling to to keep me sane.
- I love wifey Although I have rather mixed feelings about baby right now, I love wifey more than ever and know she can’t do this by herself. I need to be there for her to share the pain and tolerate the invasion into our lives. Our relationship is built on trust and balance and I have to pull my weight to support her.
- It will get better One piece of consistent advice is that it will get better, that the first weeks and months are the hardest until they sleep through the night. Every baby is different and we’ve had a lot of conflicting advice but that seems pretty consistent across the board.
- We’re in it for the long run We didn’t decide to have a baby so we could have a baby, we decided because we wanted to bring a new life into the world and teach and show it the wonders of the world. Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the sleepless nights but there is a whole lifetime ahead for this little one, and so much for us to show her and for her to explore. That’s exciting and still excites me.
Still sanity level two as I’m writing this at 03:47 and desperately hoping baby is drifting off to sleep after a good length feed…
To summarise the first week of being a dad:
- Hearing your partner shout “I need to push!” when you’re still at home and 40 minutes away from the hospital is terrifying.
- Driving with your partner in the back seat, in labour, chanting “don’t push, don’t push” is almost as terrifying.
- Being in a room with 10 strangers all looking at your completely naked wife is just weird.
- Somehow there was a small part of me that still didn’t quite believe there was a baby inside wifey, but seeing it actually delivered changed that pretty quickly.
- Labour is fucking intense. Unbelievably so. Fucking amazing, but fucking intense. Expletives are fully justified.
- Women are tough. They give everything they’ve got for 15 hours and somehow give even more, for another 90 minutes.
- A ventouse delivery is equally freaky and scary.
- Holding your baby for the first time is absolutely awesome.
- Seeing wifey go through it all is pretty traumatic
- The NHS is awesome. Could not have imagined better care, seriously. Very impressed.
- Having to leave your baby for the first time to go and get some sleep can be quite emotional for everyone involved.
- Sleep will never be the same again
- When I asked new parents about surviving with the lack of sleep, they said “you just do”. I now understand this fully.
- Your relationship with your own parents gets taken to another level of appreciation and gratitude.
- Digital cameras were made for babies.
- You crash and burn spectacularly on the 3rd / 4th day.
- Time flies very fast. “she’s a week old already?!”
- Breast feeding can be a mean bitch of a job.
- Nothing can gross you out any more. I’ve been wee’d on, poo’d on and vomited all over, but the only thought is “is the baby ok?!”
- Modern smartphones were invented to keep geeky dads like me sane during the unsocial hours.
- Driving home with your baby for the first time is almost as scary as driving to the hospital with your partner in labour.
Not a conclusive list but gives you a rough idea of things.
I am 2 weeks away from D-Day – the due date. So thought I’d start this blog to share experiences with our new dads and parents.
Here’s a bit of background about me. I’m married, early thirties, live in the south-east of England and am expecting my first child, a girl. I say expecting, the midwife wasn’t entirely sure so we’ve gone for fairly neutral colours in clothes and decorations.
So far the experience has been running to plan. Wifey is slowing down considerably now, with swollen ankles and a lot of weight on front. Latest scans show the little’un is head down and ready to go. The nursery is fully equipped with cot, nursing chair and chest of drawers/changing table. Car seat and compatible push chair is lined up in the hallway. The moses basket and stand are laying patiently in the nursery.
If only I could be as mentally ready as my surrounding purchases are!