Am I coping???

Hi to all you mothers and mothers to be.

I am the mother of a beautiful 20 week old baby boy called Connor.

While pregnant I used to read the information and posts on this site though I very rarely commented and I thought it would be the perfect place to voice my worries.

I had a wonderful pregnancy and a pretty uncomplicated birth. Since then things have started slightly unravelling and due to circumstances, I find it hard to ask the question of Am I coping? to the people i'd normally not hesitate to ask. So I was hoping any of you lovely ladies would listen to my story and any comments of how I can find coping with things any easier. Also i'm very sorry if this is a long post.

As I said Connors birth went well. I had the normal problems in the early months of trying ( and failing after a month of trying) to breast feed. Otherwise other than the normal frustrations and sleepless night my little man is my world and makes my day everyday.

Connor was born on 13th December 2013.

In January my mam found a lump in her breast which was found to be cancerous. This is the second time she has had breast cancer though the first time was when I was only 5 years old. Between then and now she has had a mastectomy and all the lymph nodes in her armpit removed.

She was due to start chemo two weeks ago but has suffered from a viral infection so has not been able to start yet.

Hearing my Mam had cancer so close to her fist grandchild being born has been devastating. Even 2 months on I don't think with having a new baby I've really had the time to get my head around it.

I find that trying to balance helping to care for both my mam and my son to be exhausting. My wider family have been wonderful helping out as much as they can but I feel frustrated that I can't be there 100% for both of them at the same time and that when i'm with my mam I often to have to ask others to look after Connor because as much as my Mam loves seeing him she doesn't have the energy to help look after him and also finds it hard to rest and get sleep with a young baby around. Then obviously because I have to leave Connor with others while i'm helping my Mam I feel guilty about missing time with my baby. Then after that there's the general housekeeping etc.. that I just can't bear facing sometimes.

The last couple of weeks have been particularly hard. As I said my Mam has suffered from a virus and had asked for me not to come and visit her, on top of that Connor has been poorly with conjunctivitis and has also been suffering from constipation so has been an unhappy baby, then just over the last couple of days I've been ill and now I have conjunctivitis.

I speak to my Mam everyday on the phone and she sounds dreadful. I also know from speaking to her sister, my aunty that she's been in tears as she's missing seeing me and Connor.

My main concern is that I don't know how bad the chemo is going to affect her both physically and mentally and I worry i'm not up to the job of giving both her and Connor the care they both deserve. I spend most nights awake worrying and crying about how i'm going to manage, especially since I need to start thinking about returning to work.

So apologies if this has been long winded and I sound like i'm whining I know I have a beautiful new baby and should be over the moon but am struggling to be positive at the minute.

Can any of you lovely ladies give me any advice on how to cope better?

Thanks in advance.


11 Replies

  • I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this Amy :/ I haven't had my little one yet (due any day now) but if I was in your shoes I would be a complete wreck. I don't know a lot about chemo but maybe you could give Macmillan a call or try their online forum and they might be able to let you know what to expect?

    Is there someone else you can ask for help with housework at the moment? Sometimes just having loads of "to dos" on my mind can make things seems a bit hopeless but getting a few done might make you feel better? Hope that helps, x

  • What a time your having sweetheart

  • Hey hun x x my mum had leukemia ahen i was 26 and i didnt cope well although i was there for her all i could be.. firstly dont worry abot leaving your lo on occassion, as long as he is well looked after and happy then he is fine.. he is almowst 5 months and people go back to work before this x x and the housework isnmt important.. i have two kids now 4yrs and 7 months and they haver both had chicken pocks then the flu with megetting minimal sleep. my house is not as tidy as i would like but hey ho it wont hurt x x x if you have any close friends or family trhen use them emotionally as you might need them and they may not come forward on their own as the word cancer is scary x x x good luck honey x x

  • Hi, first of all I want to say your doing fine as long as your LO is happy and healthy,

    And from personal experience when a family member is ill it's hard on everyone involved, my dad was diagnosed with cancer (and not a good one at all but he is fighting with everything he has ) when my LO was 11 months old we also moved out of our house a couple of weeks later and had to move into my soon to be in-laws for a few months and wait or our new house to be finished as well as dealing with dads diagnosis I was planning our wedding, and trying to be a support system for mum and sister.

    Then just weeks before our wedding my mother in law to be was diagnosed cancer, now i had to be a support system for my husband to be and sister in law to be.

    they have both had treatment although dad is now going through his 2nd set of chemo they both have said that the grandchildren help get them through some of the tough times as long as your LO is not ill take home round so your mum so she can have a cuddle and kiss it does not have to be for long she will like feeling involved.

    my LO is happy healthy 31 month old and we are expecting no 2 in September so no matter how bad it looks there will be happy times.

    And the fact that you are unwell is body telling you to rest, and even if you get someone to look after you LO while you have a sock in the tub, you'll feel better.

    And as for tips on coping I don't think there are any you just need to make sure you have someone to talk to as your going through this as much as anyone.

    Good luck and hope your mum is ok with her treatment etc.

    Enjoy being a mum it's the best medicine I have found x x

    (Sorry for the long reply I just wanted you to know your not alone)

  • Amy, I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through this.

    I'd like to start by saying you have no need to feel guilty about not being there 100%. It must be very hard to divide your time in that way, but it sounds like you've been doing an amazing job, which must be tiring - physically and emotionally.

    Remember to look after yourself, too. Especially if you've not been well, often it's the body's way of telling you to take it easy. Don't worry about the housework, it's not the most important thing - don't be afraid to ask someone for help with that, either (you mentioned your wider family and how they've helped out, is there anything else you can ask them to do?)

    Getting in touch with Macmillan is a great idea. As well as giving you information about what to expect, you might be able to get help and support - I'm not sure exactly what they can offer, but they might give you advice about home care support?


  • Oh bless you have alot on ur shoulders and wanting to be there for ur mum and baby u must feel so torn... personally I think ur mum needs to get well ASAP so the less people round her the better so then she can start the chemo so try and look at it that way... u can only do so much with a baby and them spending a bit of time with family members is lovely that he can bond with them as well. .. It brings u all closer as a family and he will be closer to hoods extended family. .. Try and look at the positive side of things...I know it's hard to do at the moment, but all the best with everything hope ur mum starts chemo ASAP and is on the Rd to recovery soon x

  • Aw Amy hun. I really feel for you. Even if someone is a first time mum with no family worries, we still question if we are coping or if we are "bad" parents.

    The answer is no, we are not bad parents. Yes we are coping.

    The day I found out I was pregnant with my first, my father was told he had prostate cancer and had to undergo radiotherapy treatment. As he would be releasing "chemicals" I was not allowed to be next to him or stand in the same room as him in case of causing a miscarriage. This went on throughout my entire pregnancy and once baby was born. He was exhausted from the treatment and had no energy amongst many other complications. He had no energy to play with his grand daughter or even hold her. Anyway, moving on.

    You are coping wonderfully. Having a LO is difficult enough and is both mentally and physically exhausting. Personally, if you want to go and see your mum, go and see her regardless of what she has said. She might feel like she is being a burden. Albeit she will be delighted to see you. Even if it is just for half an hour to see you both if lil man is in a good mood too. It may help lift both your spirits too.

    As far as everything else goes. Just leave it be, I learned the hard way that "if it does not need done right now, then leave it til later" take it easy on yourself and focus on whats more important.

    It is only natural for you to be frustrated for not being able to be with both your mum and baby 100% of the time. You are only human. If anything it is important to get time alone too. Whether that be going for a massage or getting your hair or nails done or even a walk/gym. Just something so u can switch off for an hour and rest your mind. Xx

    Also, talking to people will also help you loads. Just getting it off your chest will take the load off more xx

  • Really sorry to hear this Amy, my grand-dad had cancer and we have to move him in our house (as my mam is the only child and we were in school then, I was 18 so really close to going to University).

    I shared my room with my nana and that brought some interesting life lessons and lots of memories with my grand-dad (although little Conor is too young for the former).

    I would only say what everyone else has been saying, managing just a baby is a big task and you are doing tremendously well by managing both of them. No other mum is more perfect than you are - we all make our mistakes, leave our babies at times and prioritize something else over them depending upon what lemons life throw at us.

    Dont worry as long as your baby is happy and growing well

  • Macmillan nurses are so good and they are there to help you as well as the person with cancer. Just talking to someone who can listen and understand and also help you understand what is happening and what to expect might help you feel more like you can cope. Do take a few minutes for yourself too like the ladies have said even if it's just for a bath, you matter too.

  • Thanks for the kind words and advice.

    Its nice to know that people can understand where i'm coming from.

    I didn't mention my Mam is on her own and i'm her only child which is maybe why I feel a bigger need to be there for her.

    I worry that she's beginning to become depressed about not seeing us and the delay in her chemo treatment is having a very negative affect on her. As much as I love her she's a glass is half empty person at the best of times.

    I think for her it's the unknown fear of the side affects of the chemo that's bothering her. We've both read them on the Macmillan website but there are a lot of different ones which you may or may not suffer from and by varying degrees.

    Connor is what gets me through the day. Just a glimpse of that gummy smile and I think 'You know what? Things may not be great right now and if I could change things I would but my little man is happy and healthy and he is my whole world.

    I'll keep everyone posted on how we're all doing.

    I find this site can be a huge relief for parents. Sometimes you think the questions you want to ask others may see as stupid but the Mams know exactly where you're coming from.

    I have plenty of things to have a little rant about at the minute so may ask for your opinions on many more things.

    Take care all you lovely mammies and Mammies to be.


  • Hi honey, sounds like you are having a really tough time! I can't offer any advice on experience but had a thought, why not get Skype or something installed on a computer for you both and then even if one or the other is too poorly to be around then you can still talk face to face, show your Mum her grandson etc. Might that help? xx

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