Today I’m getting a lot more personal. If that makes you uncomfortable you’ve been warned.
Most of my life I’ve been the listener. Friends came to me and I just listened and tried to give advice. I was only ever open with a handful of people and didn’t want to ever drag anyone down with my problems. I had just as many internal struggles as the next person but pushed through. Life seemed fairly easy until it threw me a curve ball.
My son was born, almost, 4 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I didn’t have a birth plan I just showed up. I had our house organized, hospital bag packed, and planned to be in and out. I’ll spare you all the details on this post but you can read the birth story I’ve shared.
I remember holding him in complete disbelief that he was mine. I obsessed over his little fingers and toes for days. I cuddled him, fed him, and loved him.
What no-one knew was that I was depressed. I felt alone, inadequate, incapable, and disheartened 90% of the time. I would just fake it 10% of the time around people. My own family didn’t know. I didnt want anyone to know.
I’d spend hours on the couch crying. I wondered how with all my experience, that focused on children, I was so lost. I hated myself. It was sooo hard on my self esteem. There were even days I wanted to drive off in the middle of the night knowing my family would be better off without me. I couldn’t leave them though. With lots of encouragement and patience from my husband it got better. It finally started to fade.
Once my daughter was born those tears turned into rage. Have you ever heard of post partum rage? You can feel completely normal until suddenly you’re angry. But it’s so much more then anger it’s like this switch flips and you loose control. My poor son would feel so clueless, helpless, and confused. What would he do though? Hug me, kiss me, dry my tears and say “it’s okay mommy, don’t be angry” I felt terrible my own son had to be the bigger person when I was the Mom. He would find me in my closet crying and wipe away my tears.
Keep in mind he was also fighting for a attention with a new baby, dealing with our move, not seeing his Dad very often and now his Mom was loosing her handle on things. How would you feel?
Didhehold it against his sister? Never, this was every moment.
Did he blame it on me? No, he still wanted to be right by my side.
Did he blame it on his Dad? No, he ran to greet him whenever he came home.
There were negative effects though…he saw anger as a way to cope because he saw it in me. He fought to get his way on things because he was finally getting attention. He was never physically harmed but hurt emotionally. I was in tears one night to my husband saying I broke him.
I knew every day hadn’t been bad. We had lots of days full of smiles, laughter, activities, playdates, and day trips. It’s just hard not to wish you hadn’t caused your child any pain.
This boy has been ignored on dark days yet still happy. This boy is senstitve to others feelings when his aren’t always acknowledged. This boy isnt afraid to try new things even if he fails. This boy is why I fought to get better. This boy is a warrior.
What’s wrong with him? NOTHING. He’s pushing through challenges most 3yr olds shouldn’t have to experience. He doesn’t always talk clearly but uses good manners. He has temper tantrums but is quick to apologize. He shows more excitment than most when it comes to playdates but only because he craves the acceptance. He’s learning, growing and loving life.
When some days I just want to sulk on the couch… he brings me food, a blanket, and watches something with me. He gives me more love than I ever deserved. He is my best little buddy and one of the reasons I push through motherhood.
Next time you want to point out a child’s struggles to their parents remember you’re only seeing a fraction of the picture. Maybe just maybe it’s better to not ask the question.
We are all doing our best,