i found the first couple of weeks of being aparent really hard. arty was beautiful, and i was so deeply in love with him, but i felt so strange. i felt as though my inner equilibrium, my sense of self, had been fundamentally shaken. i was disoriented and confused, and this really frightened me. i would cry at the drop of a hat, and i felt so guilty that i wasn’t blissfully, uncomplicatedly happy now that my deeply longed-for and beloved little son had arrived. i was feeling such intense anxiety, like a white hot ball of terror had lodged itself inside my chest, burning at me constantly. i couldn’t picture how my life was going to be from now on. i was frightened that i was developing post natal depression.

it wasn’t pnd. i, like most expectant mothers, had been warned about the ‘baby blues’, but as someone who has experienced full blown depression, i assumed they’d be nothing by comparison. i was completely unprepared for how much i’d be knocked around by those fluctuating hormones. all it took was a little time for them to settle.

at some point in the third week after his birth, something inside me shifted, and i suddenly started feeling better. i felt calmer, and much less anxious. i felt like i had a better grasp of what on earth i was meant to be doing here, and that i really could manage, even if it was only one hour at a time. i cried less, started getting out of the house for walks and short visits, and found myself enjoying my new role.

i don’t know which was the cause and which was the effect, but as i became happier and calmer, we all managed to find a bit more of a rhythm with feeding and sleeping. we’re not sticking to any kind of rigid schedule, but there’s a sort of ramshackle pattern to our days, and we’re muddling along quite happily.

the learning curve has been a steep one for all of us, but as we were out walking the other night s and i took a moment to marvel at how far we’ve come in six weeks. feeding is becoming easier by the day, and is no longer a cause of confusion and anxiety. we’re surprising ourselves with how well we’re coping on so much less sleep. we’re getting better and better at understanding and anticipating arty’s needs, which means were generally feeling more confident and competent as parents.

this is just the beginning of a long voyage, but we’re finding our sea legs, and it feels good.