Sunday, January 17, 2010

Social life? You can keep it!

A while ago, while pregnant, I posted about my invite to HID's work's Christmas do. I assumed Missis would be "high need" like Boy, I assumed correctly, and tried to convince the relevant people at HID's company to allow me to bring her in a sling. Needless to say, in our baby-unfriendly western world, they refused. Missis was born and the date loomed. We were co-sleeping (still are- we put her name-plaque on our bedroom door, we foresee her in with us for quite some time yet) so the idea of me staying overnight in a hotel away from her was laughable, there was no way she'd sleep in a cot for my mother. So maybe I'd go for an evening out. Missis fed every hour as a newborn...and this continued for many weeks. I began to express milk two months in advance, as I find expressing very hard work, yielding very little for my efforts. I began to realise that all the frozen breast milk in the world could not compare to the comfort of a breastfeed, and besides, she would need to be syringe or cup fed due to a total refusal of the bottle. (Much to my mother's horror, who had never heard of such a thing as a baby refusing the bottle).

Weeks passed and Missis smiled, fed and slept in my arms only. She allowed HID to hold her for short periods in the sling, a parenting method that my mother will not be a party to, even after explanations that is was the one surefire settling tool she could use, besides spontaneous lactation! I started to feel more and more uneasy about leaving her. Perhaps I'd stay just for the meal....

A few days before the party was my 25th birthday. Missis was three months old. My sister offered to babysit so that we could eat out. She isn't especially confident with babies, she was really trying to be nice. I didn't really want to be apart from Missis, but everyone seemed to think I'd enjoy it, and it was the perfect trial run for the party, so I said yes. We were out for two hours and I felt awkward the whole time. After half an hour, I really wasn't enjoying myself, but continued as I didn't want HID or anyone else to think I was crackers. I didn't feel this way last time, I was desperate to get away, I was depressed. So this was all new and surprising to me. My sister called me to hurry home, I gladly did. Apparently Missis had cried so much she'd had called my mother (but not me) over to settle her down. I was really upset by this news and decided not to go to the party at all.

The boss' wife text me when she heard I wasn't going. She said perhaps, if I left her in the room, Missis could come after all, and she would see if the hotel offered a baby listening service. There were a few things wrong with this suggestion (as well as the hypocrisy). One, bar twice in her life falling asleep in the car and sleeping in her carseat for two hours, she has never slept unaided, i.e. without my body touching her in some way (sling/breast/family bed). Two, even if we were lucky and Missis slept like a baby (whoever invented that saying ought to be shot) the idea of someone me and my baby didn't know listening out for her? How long would they let her cry before the came to get me? How long would it take to find me? How long would it take for me to get to the room? No way. It turns out no such service was available anyway.

I decided, maybe if we took the baby monitor that I could keep on the table, if we were lucky, she may sleep long enough for me to socialise a little. And if not, maybe ordering room service and charging it to the company and a huge bed and TV weren't the worst things in the world! And if I wasn't happy, I could turn straight round and come home. Then I found out it was over an hours drive away! Hmmm, perhaps the trip wasn't worth it. The boss' wife had insisted that the room was less than 30 seconds away from the function room, which sounded good. HID gave me the hotel's number to call and confirm this. It was a complete fabrication, the receptionist informed me our room was at the other side of the building, there was no way our monitor would work to cover that distance. She could only move our room to the closest one within our party (and that was only with the boss' wife's express permission) and even that wasn't close. The snow started to fall and the driving conditions worsened.

Needless to say, I didn't go in the end. And I'm still not ready to leave her now. People think this is very strange. HID made up a little story about her being unwell, he did not feel comfortable telling people his wife refuses to be separated from her new baby. Even I am a little surprised by feeling this way. After a difficult birth that resulted in two separate (6hr in total) surgeries and permanent nerve damage I still suffer with today with my first baby, I almost couldn't wait to be rid of Boy, (who was just as difficult, but not breastfed and slept in a cot. I say slept...for 2hrs at a time til 6m, and only when very settled) and we left him overnight and two days with my mother when he was 3m old and went away for the weekend, 2hrs away. I know now it was PND, and I feel terrible about it. But I could not leave Missis. How strange that they are having such different starts in life.


At 9:34 pm , Blogger Kat said...

only time I have left my 2.5yo is to go and have my 10mo last spring and even then it was my husband home with her overnight. no babysitters and only a handful of hours out of our care. not necessarily by design but how it has worked out. not wrong just different. leaving one of my babies at that age would have been impossible even for a few hours. let's hope you find some people who are supportive and are able to focus on their energy rather than all these folks who are unsupportive!

At 8:32 pm , Blogger Amy said...

i've only left my babies with either my mum/dad or hubbys mum/dad. I go out at night once a month with hubby sometimes a bit more and i know they will sleep fine even with the pud not being 1yet. I would never leave them with anyone else and i don't tend to go out much before 4months because i'm always worried about leaving them.

Hubby always drags me out when they're little and i always thank him for doing so becuase it is always nice to have a baby free night or day once in a while. I'm sure little miss will be fine to be left with someone the older she gets xxxx

At 6:38 am , Blogger Margarita said...

Our daughter always went to one of our parents' house, it seemed okay sometimes. Everything is different I suppose, I'm sure as she gets older and exhibits different needs, you'll feel different too.

I think it's sweet that you're so attached to her :)

At 12:39 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

Kat: hubby is the only one I trust with Missis, though Boy is fine with my mum.
Amy: it's ok if they sleep! Lol, Missis not a sleeper yet :-) Grandparents are fab aren't they?
Margarita: Thank you. You're so right, everyone if different. I know she needs me too much right now.

At 2:29 pm , Blogger Cave Mother said...

I was, and still am, the same as you. Cave Baby still does not sleep on her own for more than 3 hours, and it is totally unpredictable whether she will go that long or not. She is used to having me around and if I'm not there to settle her, she won't go back to sleep. So, though I feel happy leaving her with my mum for hours during the day, I cannot leave her at night. The only "date" me and my partner have had was an early meal, about 6.30 to 8.30, so that I could be back in time to put her to bed.

I'm fine with this, but I do feel a little self conscious about other people's opinions of the way we have chosen to do things. I feel it's quite normal and natural to take my daughter everywhere with me, but I am aware that I do not "fit in" with the usual expectation that a mother should leave her baby regularly to get some me-time. But to hell with everyone else - I'm going to do things the way I think is right for us.

In other words, I think the way you feel is completely normal and right.

At 12:36 pm , Blogger MuddynoSugar said...

I agree, you have to do what you think is best for you.

Meme at mine for you...

At 8:53 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

Cave mother: i'm starting to simply surround myself with friends who are like minded and also do not feel the need to be separated from their babies. Unfortunatley I can neither change nor ignore my family :-)
MuddynoSugar:thank you! i hope to get round to it one day :-)


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