A Love Letter to the Baby I Thought I Hated

This was one of the very first pieces I ever posted on Hugzilla. It was only ever seen by about 7 people, which is a damn shame because I think it is one of the most real things I’ve ever written on here. I thought I’d dust it off because it deserves a wider audience, and to remind myself that I used to write stuff that actually meant something. It came to my attention again recently when it was being discussed on a baby forum, and was roundly praised for its raw honesty. That one year old is now a three year old and I can’t imagine life without him. HASHTAG BLESSED.

Oooh look at me, being all meaningful and shit… Just get the fuck on with it.

*********

It’s my son’s first birthday today.

I don’t like babies. I really don’t. If I could give birth to a three year old – head circumference notwithstanding – I would.

I like it when they can walk, talk, poo in a toilet. I like it when they have a full set of teeth. When they can pout and whine and needle and wheedle and otherwise articulate what is wrong if something is bugging them. When they want you to play pretend games with imaginary monsters called “Peeny Pony Pins Bons Boons”. When they can pick their nose and wipe it on you, sing songs about their penis and laugh at their own farts during storytime at the library.

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My one year old has been a “difficult” baby. I say this because he has been much harder work than my three year old ever was, and he was never much like a trip to Disneyland. My first born never slept much during the day, never stopped moving and demanded my attention all the time: but he was mostly happy. Now at three, nothing much has changed.

My second born son is the kind of kid who would have been an only child if he had just been slightly higher in the birth order.

He had to be induced at ten days overdue and made it very clear for the next three months that he was extremely unhappy about being evicted without prior consultation.

He hated the outside world and everything in it. He hated the car, the pram, the bouncer, the cot, the rocker, the bassinette, the sling. He hated being rocked, jiggled, bounced, picked up, put down, held still or walked around. Nor did he seem particularly fond of me. What kind of mother can’t comfort her own child?

He didn’t sleep much, but he screamed a lot (thank you silent reflux). This is the kind of kid that crazy is made of. The kind of baby that has his mother in tears of despair and impotence and frustration every single day.

The kind of baby you never expect to get second time around because this shit is meant to get easier, not harder. The kind of baby that woke every 1 or 2 hours every single night for three months. The kind of baby that didn’t sleep through the night for 11 months, and then started waking up the entire household at 4:30am instead.

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There were many dark hours in those early days where I swore to myself that I hated him. There were many more again that I regretted having him at all. I say that here openly, not because I am a heartless sociopath but because it is taboo for a mother to admit to having these feelings of ambivalence and regret about her child when the walls are closing in and she is running on empty.

It needs to be said – and to be said more often – because the truth about babies is that they aren’t all rainbows and unicorns and because they don’t shit silver and piss gold, no matter what the “Perfect Parent Brigade” would have you believe.

A friend of mine posted several times on Facebook when she was clearly struggling in those early days as a first time mum. I saw lots of “….but you still LOVE every minute of it” type replies and I wanted to scream at all of them to stop peddling this bullshit myth that women must at all times martyr themselves to their children and still pretend to love every stinking minute of it.

My baby bites down so hard on my nipple that I swear to god it almost shears right off  BUT YOU STILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!

My baby screams for 9 hours non-stop between 11am and 8pm BUT YOU STILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!

My baby stays up for 11 hours straight during the day like a meth addict on a massive binge and is so wired out of his brain with fatigue that I think I might just go crazy BUT YOU STILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Sometimes it borderline sucks. Sometimes it is catastrophically shit. Sometimes you will hate it with every fibre of your being. Sometimes it will have you questioning your sanity. Sometimes you will fantasise about your life prior to having children. And that’s OK. It doesn’t make you Mommie fucking Dearest. It makes you a human being.

I love my son with a fierceness I never knew existed but I am the first to admit that I endured that first year more than I enjoyed it.

Happy first birthday kid.

We made it through the first 12 months. Now get your shit together.

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466 thoughts on “A Love Letter to the Baby I Thought I Hated

  1. This is not only true with babies, I go through this on a daily basis with my three boys, I have an 11 year old, a 9 year old and a three year old and my everyday is chaotic, sometimes I feel like I am going to go crazy, but everynight before I go to sleep I ask God for patience because I love them to death. I tell you what, parenting is hard, parenting is tough is one of the hardest if not the hardest and longest job on earth but also the most rewarding. God Bless.

  2. I don’t have a baby. So I can’t say: ‘ It’s true.’ or ‘I understand.’ But in the future I want to have baby. And when it’s time I will remember this Blog. I maybe don’t know how it is to have a young screaming child. But as you said: ‘But you love every minute of it.’, I realized that it’s not going to be that bad as I thought.

  3. Thank you. Even though I’m not a mom and just barely a teenager, I love this because this is preparing me for when I’m much older. I remember with my little sister though. The rule of my parents was “You wake her, you watch her!” And I was only six. Well, I don’t know if you’d like my starting off blog, but you know check it out if you want!

  4. Thank god I’m not the only one! And honestly, my kid isn’t that bad but he sure does find a way pull at the wrong strings at times. A very ‘real’ read – thanks!

  5. So real! So true! The mommy shaming is real if you “don’t love every minute” of the ugly moments of motherhood. Thank goodness for blogs that allow us to be articulate out true emotion and thoughts. Some people just don’t know how to respond to truth in person.

    • Amen to that – some of my favourite blogs are the “warts and all” variety. Yes – we all love our kids more than anything but it’s so important to share the difficult times with each other as well.

  6. We’re so afraid of judgment for telling the truth that we fail to share the growing pains of parenthood. Nothing changes as they grow into adulthood and cross their own path of pain. As parents, our hurt doubles when we see them unhappy and wonder….

  7. Wow. There’s something to be said about honesty, even about a topic like this. Screw all the people who think you’re not a good mother when you don’t like all the obnoxious moments. Forget them. It ain’t all sunshine and flowers in mama-land, as far as I can tell. Kudos to you!

  8. I don’t have kids, but I know the type of woman I am. I would love to think everyday will be amazing as so many mothers claim but you’re the realist of them all.

    Loved reading your message to the world!

  9. So so real. I had a tough time, the first three months were the hardest, i was afraid to say what you have written, even now it’s difficult to put into words the thoughts i had, and anyone who said but you loved every minute of it- i wanted to scream at them. I thought it was post partum depression, maybe or maybe not. But am glad those days are gone, my little one is 14 months and I can’t imagine life without him today.

  10. I have “adult” children. Sometimes that forbidden and un-maternal emotion lingers as they (supposedly) grow into mature adults who will finally see Mom as a person.

  11. Imagine me finding someone who went through what I did-just 18 years too late! Mothering my 2nd child was so hard from her being 9 days late until sometime into her first year. I thought I’d scream with exhaustion, anger, frustration, inadequacy…but I’d have to make myself louder than her. I wanted someone to hold me just 1/10 the time I had to hold her to keep her half content. I wanted her to take a bottle instead of me walking around with her in s snugly constantly feeding during her frequent ‘shark fests’. But we suffered through. And it wasn’t lovely. It wasn’t joyous. And often while the milk was flowing, my tears were also. And even after 18 years, the memory of that time still hurts a little. But what hurts also is that no one else seemed to know or understand what I was going through. It was a taboo subject in any company. It sure would have been nice to read something like this, where I could stand back and say, “Hell yeah… That’s just like me/us. I’m a fine mom. I’m not crazy….” Today that baby is 18, graduating high school in a few weeks and is very much loved. But I haven’t forgotten a thing from that first year.

    • Naaaaw thank you so much, and that is exactly the reason I wanted to put this out there. I know myself how much I appreciate raw accounts of motherhood. We need to share more of them x

  12. So beautifully raw and true! I have a three year old who challenges me, defies me, and yet clings to me all the time. I got to admit, sometimes I genuinely hate being a parent. Eventually I pick up my own broken pieces and come back to love…

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