Persephone: Parent

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The Failure of Those First Few Weeks

on January 31, 2015

I had felt like I was over the first few weeks of Elvis’ life. The few weeks where I hated everything. where I was desperate for some sleep, where I actually kind of wanted to send my son back or have him returned to me as a toddler. I’m not even sure how long those few weeks were. Was it just 4? Was it nearer 8 or 12? I remember at about two or three weeks old, I strongly considered returning to work just for a lunch break. I remember within the first 4 weeks, desiring a toddler more than a newborn. I remember at about 8 weeks old deciding that I could no longer bedshare, by 3 months old we weren’t anymore. If I looked at my diary, if I re-read all of my blogs from that time period, I would be able to pin point all of those moments with a to-the-hour accuracy. But I don’t want to because I don’t want to dwell on the past. I don’t want to think about my failures, I don’t want to be reminded of how, why and when I was a lousy parent. And I think I had got over the failure, the lousiness, the disappointment in myself (disappointment that, after wanting something so much and trying and fighting so hard to get, it was not as amazing as I thought it should have been. Not that I ever thought parenting was going to be easy), except now I keep thinking about it.

Is it because I’m due number 2?

Is it because I see more and more people I know have babies and not fail?

Is it because I do worry and fear that it will happen again?

I remember a little after I had just learnt I was pregnant, I was walking along the road, pushing Elvis in his pushchair and I worried about having a second. I worried that I would have the same period of dislike, the same thoughts of that I can’t do it  and desire for some one to take my child away. And then I reassured myself that I got over it with Elvis, I would/will get over it if it happens with Robin. Part of my guilt is that, I often considered walking out, of running away. I don’t think I ever truly would have, but I felt like I wanted to. I would often tell myself that I could not run away, I could not abandon my child with my husband purely because of my husband. I’m not sure if it was because of the time-intensive breastfeeding or simply hormones. Maybe it was a mild version of depression. Maybe it was just me being weak. All I know is that I would tell myself that I could not walk away because my husband would never forgive me. It was never because my son needed me. It was all because I could not bear to lose my husband.

How could I have fought so hard, spent almost three years in a perpetual fight against my own body, wanting this one thing that I would so often think should have been simpler to get than what I went through, to want to run away? The guilt is because, although there is a huge difference between those first few weeks and now, did that desire to run away mean that I regretted it? Did I, in those first few weeks, wish it had never happened? Yeah, sure, it passed and, aside from needing me -time, I don’t wish Elvis to be any different whatsoever. I mean I think he’s so damn perfect for me as a mum that I do worry number two won’t be as perfect — lightning doesn’t strike twice, now, does it?

I probably hadn’t come to terms with the guilt whatsoever, it was probably just happily buried in a place that I did not need to ever think about it again as I hated that newborn time so much I was truly doubting ever wanting a second child. Of course, then things happen and now, aside from the worry of dealing with two, I could not imagine not being pregnant right now. Are all of my feelings of guilt resurfacing because I hope that I can have a do-over with Robin?

Is it normal for parents to hope to correct any parenting wrong with a second, third, or fourth child?

Should I even be seeing it that way?

Did I fail Elvis in those early days?

I started this blog entry thinking that it was all because of other mums, that I was jealous of them when they either are or give the impression that they have no problems parenting whatsoever. And I don’t just mean new mummy friends who I barely know and aren’t as public and forthcoming as I am on this blog. I started this blog entry consumed with thoughts about how my family and long-term friends can all seem to become parents and have not a bad word to say. The mum who says that teething, feeding and sleeping were never a problem until the first molars. So that first year was problem free? The mum who says that when her baby wants to sleep on her, she lets them and just might not get anything done that day. So, you’re completely at peace with being physically tied to them? The mum who states completely matter of factly that, due to teething problems, breastfeeding did become uncomfortable. After 9 months of problem free feeding? The mum who had feeding issues, but simply got on with a strict regime, strict dietary needs and simply did what she needed to do. How can all of these other mums do that? And I don’t just mean in newborn, I mean far longer into the year. Why do I have family and friends who just get on with it, who don’t complain, who don’t ever struggle or say that they do? I can remember fearing teeth, feeling physically tied to my child every single second of the day to sleeping and feeding and absolutely hating it. I can remember worrying that I wasn’t eating properly, that I was going to get fat and lose my teeth when I needed to eat flapjack after midnight feeds due to sugar lows, couldn’t cook a meal for dinner and was too tired to wait for my husband to come home so I’d already be in bed.

Meanwhile it’s the new mummy friends that have suffered, or at least struggled and they are the people that I need as mummy friends,  share the fact that we all have problems. Those long-term friends and family may be in my life for years to come whereas the mummy friends may pass within a year or two, but I know who I’d rather share my fears and problems with — people who have problems and fears, too, not people who come across as perfect. Maybe I come across as perfect to some people, after all I have a son who 9 times out of ten doesn’t even stir after 7pm until 5am if not nearer 8am, but I’ll always be the mum that, hormonally anyway, didn’t want her son for a short time, and, yes, those family and friends will always be my family and friends, but it doesn’t mean they have to be included in my mummy journey if it enables me to cope better and help alleviate the guilt I still carry. Because how can I, the mum who hormonally wished her son away, discuss parenting with people who are perfect?


P.S. This is a scheduled post written when I was still pregnant with Robin, being posted in February when Robin really should have been evicted! Am I coping the second time around?

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