Mothering and Life in General
Tag Archives: Mother Guilt
Dearest Lil Miss,
We have been on some rocky road lately, you seem to try out everything in your power to make my brain try to escape my skull. You have listened to my direction and done everything but. We have shared screaming matches, anger fits, and heartfelt tears. Yes, it’s been a rough road. Dreadful, actually. It was until yesterday, that we finally connected the way we used too. I want to document this moment to you, so we both don’t forget.
I was on the phone with a friend, we were discussing about the TIME cover and how her, not being a nursing mother, took it as they were mocking us mothers who nurse an older child. I explained to my friend, while I was actually nursing you, that I loved the picture. To me, every picture tells a story, and I have yet to find a nursing picture that I have not liked. It reminded me of the nursing acrobats that toddlers do. I just try really hard to not look past the picture, because the wording takes a cut to every mother, nursing or not. And how unnatural the poise was, but moving on.
Flashes of memories came back in my mind. So many that brings a smile to my face. Remembering them again, as you sat contentedly on my lap, soaking in every word – remembering too, as I retell the stories. The way you used to curl your legs around my neck so you upside down, times I woke up in the morning with you nursing the other way. That one priceless time when I was typing up a Daycare recipe and you snuck a chair behind mine, leaned over, pulled up my shirt and latched. All good memories.
After I hung up the phone you said to me, “Momma, I want to be a baby again”. It broke my heart, because now I heard what you meant. I have heard you many times in the past year on how you want to go back to being a baby, and I just thought that you just ‘wanted to go back to being a baby’ to do baby things. I never knew you felt what I was feeling.
With me being so stressed out and drained from life experiences and trying to get me back. I have lost so much of what my goal is with being a mother. I am constantly tied with feeling that I should not be mad at a child I was lucky to have, to teaching this child the basics to becoming better than me in adulthood. I pass through life with so much thought on what not to do, that I forget that you are the only person that just wants me. That in of itself is taxing, but it’s what I signed up for.
I usually replied to your statement with, “Well, babies don’t do this or that”. But yesterday I guess I was on the ball a bit more. I heard that you want us back, just like I do. That you feel lost, and that you miss how we connected and even though I try so hard everyday to give you and teach you that where we were a year ago is not normal, I lost my humor and my affection. I’ve put my attention to all the things you might have seen and heard and trying to undo them, that stopped what I started when you were born. Lil Miss, I heard you last night. And I feel the same way.
We both stared at the TIME cover and smiled as “Are you Mom enough?” glared at me on the side. I answered the question with, no I wasn’t. This time not out of guilt, but out of reality. I have not been Mom enough. By being Mom enough is not being the mom that everyone else thinks you should be, it’s about being enough Mom for your child. And I have not been.
I want you to know that I will always love your baby, toddler and preschooler days, but I will also love your school days too. They are not finished yet and sometimes I am grateful for it. I will reflect on our yesterdays, because back then I have all the answers now, today – not so much. I don’t want to do anything wrong emotionally to you, and I want to keep my promise to you. I will not intentionally make you feel the way I have felt growing up.
Just because I look back and sometimes I wish to rewind time. It’s not because today is a drag and I don’t want to continue, it’s because there are moments I should have lingered longer and I didn’t. Other times those moments also make me understand today and appreciate it more.
We continued to look at this cover, I think and feel the same as I always have. Nursing is the only way we could have bonded and maintained that bond for as long as we do. Nursing always makes us come back, whether it’s the act, memory, or looking at a picture and talking about it. We will always have that to remind us that its us in this world together, and I have your back. Nursing, even when we are not, will be our door to put down any hurt form the day and tie another rope around our hearts, just in case the last rope frayed a little bit.
I went into mothering remembering my first memory – of me and my cowgirl boots at 2. I don’t remember being happy, I just remember it. Nothing of the memory brings any feelings and the rest of my childhood, brings a lot of anxiety and rage. I wanted to give you something more. I knew in the NICU, nursing was the ONLY way to hold you, so it become important to me. When you arrived home nursing became the only thing that would make you stop crying, which became important to me. As you entered toddlerhood, it was a time where we would learn things together, new words or just be – together, so it became important to me. As you entered preschool it became the only time that you stop your fits, and that became important to me.
And now, you’re going to school. You are five. You can tell me stories of different times we nursed and where. You remember us sitting together on a park bench, counting the birds that flew by. You would see babies being nursed at the mall and smile. You will happily tell the nursing mom that you are nursed and you remember. You remembering being nursed, has always been important to me. You will be more “Mom Enough” than I would because you will remember nursing as you are nursing your own. The cycle will be fully complete than. The way that nature intended. And you will come to days and moments where you want to pull out your hair, then see something on a cover to ask you if you are “Mom enough” and you will get mad, because silently you will answer no.
But except for being alone, like me, you will have me to tell you that only you can define what is enough. You just have to be that, and if it’s guilt you feel, find out why and change what you can. What you can’t change in your life, support someone else who comes after you. Most importantly, always raise your children to be better than you ever were. Because that is the only feeling of ‘enough’ we will ever have.
And never forget, you are the best at everything you do, because only you can do it the way you do. Underneath all my worries and deep dark fears, I hope you will see I had and will always have the best of intentions.
Trying to work through my feelings from the birth of K2, I always find myself relating to mothers who have had a cesarean. I think it’s because of the loss of something they wanted, or the empty feelings they have.
Maybe it’s the realization that after a long time thinking it was them, that it really wasn’t. After looking into statistics, and birthing information, that maybe they could have had THEIR birth. Whatever their birth description was.
Time after time, I read stories about a mother posting her child’s birth story, not feeling fulfilled, and hearing her feelings about failure, betrayal, worthlessness and emptiness. I gravitate, because it is these women who fully understand my pain.
Yet, my scar is not pink, brown, nor white. It’s not a line or dots or curved, mine is deep within my soul, my scar is invisible. No one can see nor can they tell. I don’t have a symbol or a group to go too. Doctors pass out drugs or ‘induce’ the acknowledgment of my healthy child. No one understands, they say I had natural birth, so why fight with those who didn’t?
No one understands, no one other than these women.
I honestly thought I was over this, I really sincerely did. I thought when I wrote our story, that it would be closure, I was finally complete. I felt it was the hardest and deepest thing I could have done. To mend the pain and anger, to go on and be rid of the past that I can’t change.
Yet on the second of May, as I carried my daughter’s birthday cake from the grocery, through the mall, as I got to the store that takes me home, I felt my knees give out, my eyes weep, I could not catch my breath. All because, this time, three years ago…
Just a simple thought, that I have no control over. Me, as a control freak, that can’t control this. Three years ago, I was told she might not live. Three years ago, we where both fighting. Still three years later, I am trying to forget.
I may have had vaginal birth, I may have pushed her out like “a champ”, I might have had my doctor shake my hand, telling me I was a natural birther, and for one who has birth their first, did really well.
K2 might have been born VAGINALLY but it was the leading up to it, that bothers me now. For a year and a half I thought it was me. I thought it was my birth-right to have a preemie, since I am one myself. I thought maybe it was my body not absorbing iron, or that I was thin. I even thought it was because I lived on the 17th floor.
I thought it was me. Something I did or something I could have changed.
Three years ago today, was the day K2 and I were discharged from the hospital. When we both were set free to begin our lives as mother, daughter, father and brand new half-sister. A new family to learn and teach each other. Oh boy, did I ever learn.
Through nursing our daughter, I came to know that my body does know what to do. I am strong, natural and able. I read into why I might feel strong feelings, tear up about the NICU. Why I take to heart of a new mother’s wish of the “baby to be born soon” or that “it’s not big deal to be induced, at 36 weeks they are full term”.
The other day, I read on Facebook about a mother who is going to touch her scar on mother’s day for the first time, cry and be done with her feelings. I think about mine every April 20th, May 7th and May 15th, yet after three years, I am still not rid of mine.
Still today I am stuck between feelings of gratefulness that I have a beautiful daughter, who was always wanted; and the feeling of failure, void and mistrust. Two anniversaries in one day. I always hope that K2’s will trump the other.
I wish this mother luck, I hope she succeeds. Yet, if there is still feelings still there, don’t feel like you’ve failed at this too. I gave birth, what they call naturally, and after three years, my scar still will not heal.
I read something today that just ticked me off enough for me to write about it. I am completely mystified about this, and it’s not the fairytale way either. I am livid.
I have my fair share of Mommy Guilt. Still to this day I think it’s something I have done that made K2 come early, or I that could have prevented it, she was given those nasty plastic bottles in the hospital, she was in so much pain and I did not know why until she was 5.5 months, I had a hospital birth besides what I wanted, I did not know about delaying clamping of the umbilical cord, we did not have enough money to bank her cord blood and I did not even get to nurse my daughter until 5-6 hours after she was born. If I had known I would have done thing’s so much differently.
This is why when results like this comes out I get heated. As I am reading this I am thinking of a mother, who for her own reason is not breastfeeding the child (let’s not make that an issue), she goes to the grocery store to pick a formula that she feels would be best. Or maybe something the doctor recommended to her. Only to find out much later the ingredients for the formula that makes it higher quality, came from a fungus and an algae?
Do we even know if that is ok for a child? Fungi? Algae? REALLY? Who thought that one? Yes, these items can be ingested by adults but an infant? Come on people?
Of course I am not blaming the mother, the Mommy Guilt in me, makes me mad at whom ever is responsible for creating this mess. Hospitals, Medical Professionals, Society, Government groups, FDA and others. The people we are raised to rely on for proper information, to help us to make informed choices.
Can you imagine what ‘this’ mother would feel like? Who does she trust? What does she do? What if this was the mother of one of the babies that where sick and dehydrated from diarrhea? What do you say to that? What do you do? Meanwhile, companies just gains the profits and cash in the checks. Blood money, that is what they want.
This disgusts me. Not only because I have issues with the lack of knowledge young women face about motherhood, even before they become one, but because this is happening everywhere and in everything! It’s just sick! What, just because it’s not your child you don’t care? Do I want someone like this to make my food or even food I give my children? What about the FDA, are they not suppose to protect us from unseen risks? Are they not suppose to test things to ensure their safety? This article says they knew, THEY KNEW, about the symptoms, but passed it through. Just like the other thing – Aspartame (don’t get me started with that one).
What about company’s QA or QC or should I say the lack of it. How many infant/baby/children items gets recalled for improper mechanisms or LEAD PAINT? Strollers that cut off the tip of tiny fingers, infant toys that can cause lead poisoning, and formula that either has melamine in it or, improper DHA, RHA (Omega 3 and 6) and lord knows what else.
What are we doing? We are creating a world of distrust. I can’t go to buy a toy, or look at deli meat without thinking “How long is it going to take before they recall this? Will it be before OR after I eat it or my child sticks it in its mouth.” Do I have to grow a tree and garden, make my own toys from that tree and meals from that garden or even grow cotton for clothing, just to know they are safe?
To further my thought process on this, DHA and RHA is in everything we eat, that our children eat. If it was not passed properly, for formula then is it even safe for our solid foods for nursing and pregnant women? What about growing children, teenagers or everyday people?
It’s situations like these that makes my greed for having a child become a sin. What have I brought her into? I know that she will have to spend lots of money for councilors talking about how I failed her some way, but will I blame myself for giving her something now, that could have led to her shortness in life?
Seriously people, what are we doing? How do we stop, and how do we make it better?