Dada

The Northern one has been trying to encourage Squidge to say ‘Dada’.

This is hilarious for several reasons –

  1. Squidge is nine months old and not even close to talking.
  2. He will copy the mouth movements for the word but doesn’t actually make any noise when he does this.
  3. He thinks point 2 is vair funny.
  4. When he does learn to talk his first word is likely to be ‘No’ as he’s a contrary little soul, just like his Mummy.

My first word was No which my parents continue to find funny and exasperating in equal measures. My husband has no idea what he first word was, apparently he doesn’t remember.

*Head desk*

My brother who Squidge is named for said ‘Dog’ as his first word.

No we did not have a dog.

No I don’t have a brother called Squidge, that’s actually his nickname for me. He started using it when we were teenagers, because what every hormonal and slightly self conscious teenage girl wants to be referred as is ‘Squidgey’.

He also called me ‘Flump’ which isn’t an awful lot better.

When Squidge does start talking I wonder what he’ll call me?

What he’ll call anything.

Aged about two I went through a phase of referring to my Dad by his first name instead of Daddy. My mum was around all day and if we went out anywhere people would refer to her as Mummy. Whereas my dad would come home from work and my mum referred to him by first name so I copied her.

Apparently he was rather upset by this.

Sorry Daddy.

I wonder what Squidge will look like.

What he’ll sound like.

What he’ll like and dislike.

When my Mum first started weaning me the first food she tried was mashed carrot, which I promptly refused to eat. I still don’t really like carrots now unless I’m dipping them in hummus but my poor mum had visions of me refusing to eat anything ever.

My husband thinks that salmon and tuna are Satan’s food stuffs.

In my brother’s ‘About Me’ book that he had at nursery his dislikes are listed as ‘vegetables and loud noises’.

I wonder what he’ll find funny?

Whether he’ll enjoy school?

What he’ll grow up to be.

Will he be interested in science, writing, football, horse riding or crafting?

Will he be clever like his Daddy?

Will he want to compete as a cross country runner like I did?

Will he sing in the cathedral choir like my brother?

All things that a year ago I could honestly not have cared less about.

I wanted Squidge to be healthy but that was about as far as I could think. I couldn’t bring myself to imagine what my new baby would look like, the things that I would teach him, what it would like to be a family.

All I could see for our future was sleepless nights, endless feeding and crying; something from which there was no escape.

At other times in my life when I really struggled with depression I kept going because I could see a point where things might change. I got through three years at university because I knew that by the end I would be a qualified nurse and me and my then fiancée were moving in together. When I started to find my first job really difficult I knew that I didn’t have to stay there forever. I could do things that might bring about a change in the way that I felt.

This time there was no end point.

There would be an end to bring pregnant and the physical and mental pain that came with it. But as soon as being pregnant ended, being a Mum began.

I felt to trapped.

I felt like this was the end of me as a person, that being a Mum would consume me until there was nothing else left.

It felt like the beginning of the end.

Except it would never end.

Fast forward nine months and I don’t have those dark thoughts any more. I still have some, just not those specific ones.

Looking back Squidge’s arrival was indeed the beginning of the end but not in the way that I thought. It signalled the end of the darkness and the despair.

It signalled the end of the night.

I don’t really go in for self help phrases, to be honest I find them irritating even when they’re well meant.

But.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

I don’t completely agree with this and as my husband pointed out it’s not scientifically true. I think he was trying to be helpful.

it__s_always_darkest_before_the_dawn_by_chloerhiannonx-d4zyxt8

I was at my darkest, the darkest I’d ever been in my life in the weeks before Squidge arrived. At 32 weeks I phoned my GP and begged her to get this baby out of me.

I went to several appointments every week with various people and cried so much that I wondered if it was actually possible to ‘cry your eyes out’.

I ended up in hospital because my husband had to work and I couldn’t cope with being at home on my own.

I thought I would lose the support of my husband, not deliberately necessarily but when faced with me crying or the baby crying, the baby was going to need his attention first.

I know this sounds selfish.

I felt selfish but at the time I really didn’t care.

My husband had been my rock for so long and being Daddy was going to take that away.

I read a comment somewhere that stated postnatal depression wasn’t an illness, it was just the mum being jealous of all the attention the new baby was getting.

I do not believe or condone this comment for a second but I also don’t think people realise how hard things can be on a new mum.

You’ve carried a baby for anything up to nine months.

You’ve delivered them and regardless of which method they arrived by none of them are pleasant.

You’re tired, hormonal, potentially in pain and having had stitches.

Your body is doing all sorts of weird things and regardless of how you’re feeding baby you leak milk everything you even think you’ve heard them cry.

You’ve done all of this and yet the majority of people who visit, some you’ve not seen for months or years mostly come to see the baby.

It’s hardly surprising that some women feel lost and blue and alone

There were times that was exactly how I felt.

My husband is a wonderful Daddy; playing with Squidge and reading him stories, making him giggle and comforting him when he cries. He’s done his fair share of nights feeds and getting up to Squidge when he went through his waking-six-times-a-night phase.

I always thought he would be a good Daddy, it was my ability to be a Mummy that I doubted.

It makes me happy to see them together, that Squidge has my husband’s beautiful big brown eyes and long eye lashes.

It makes me smile to see them sat watching the football together while my husband explains the teams and rules to Squidge.

It makes me laugh to see the futile efforts at getting Squidge to say ‘Dada’.

My husband is Daddy but he’s still my husband and he still supports me just as much as he ever did

Things are different.

Squidge does need a lot of our time.

Our relationship has changed.

But nothing is worse.

In fact everything is better.

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