Love_HelpingHand_Corbis620When I first came home from hospital after having Burrito Baby, I have to admit, I was exhausted. In the days leading up to her birth, I’d been on a ward having a course of steroids to mature her lungs because my unstable blood sugars meant that she had to be delivered at 36 weeks and 6 days. In the entire three nights that I was there, I managed a total of about 7 hours sleep, so by the time BB finally came along, I was wiped out. My doctors were happy to discharge me the day after I had BB, but the midwives advised that I stay an extra night so that I’d have access to stronger painkillers if I needed them, rather than struggling at home in unmanageable pain.

Once I got home, Husband was amazing. He’d done an awesome job of caring for Sausage while I was in the hospital and maintained all of the cooking, cleaning and parenting duties for days after our homecoming. I was still exhausted and BB decided that she wouldn’t sleep in any room of the house except the lounge, so I set up camp on the sofa to deal with night feeds.

After a few days, it became apparent that I wasn’t coping very well with all of the duties that I’d taken on. I’d muscled my way into the household duties, despite Husband being happy to deal with them himself – I have to admit, I’m a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to caring for the kids. It took me a long time to accept help from Husband when Sausage was a baby as I felt that I should be doing everything for her myself, but these days she goes to him for just as much help as she does with me. However, I slipped straight back into the same pattern with BB and despite Husband constantly offering help, I was reluctant to take it, at least on a subconscious level.

For some reason, I seem to have a real mental block when it comes to asking for help. I think I see it as some sort of weakness, like an admission of fallibility if I can’t do something all by myself, which is utterly ridiculous. I’m only human and I need to remember to see myself as such, rather than piling unnecessary amounts of pressure on myself, which create a horrible cycle of ‘refusing to ask for help>failing to cope without help>feeling like a failure’.

The problem was, I still hadn’t really caught up on sleep and the night feeds were becoming a struggle. On more than one occasion, I’d be giving BB a bottle of an evening, or winding her, and Husband would turn round to see me with heavy eyes, on the verge of falling asleep. Being tired is one thing, but being stubborn to the point of endangering BB with my stupidness is quite another. I needed to think of a better way to get through the night and contrary to my ‘do it all myself’ instinct, this meant asking for help. Fortunately, Husband is a bit of a night-owl anyway, and was more than happy to help. In fact, more than that, he wanted to help and my reluctance to loosen my grip was totally unfair.

With Husband’s support, I managed to regain the balance of being able to sleep between feeds and being alert enough to be able to deal with BB when she needed me, in a safe way. If I did feel tired while feeding her, I handed her over to Husband so I could get a drink and wake myself up a bit. All it took was making myself ask for help when I needed it, and Team Crammond found a way to cope.

Fortunately, we’ve rounded a corner with BB’s routine (more about that in another post) and I’ve managed to get a lot more sleep, but I’ve learned a really important lesson in the last few weeks:

Asking for help and admitting that you need it shows true strength, not weakness.