Robyn’s post earlier this week really moved me, probably because I was thinking of writing something similar. I was going to write more about miscarriage, but here’s the truth about that topic–once you are a few years past it, the pain and all the feelings that go with it, fade. This is good news for those of you who have recently been through a miscarriage, though I’m sure everyone has told you that and it doesn’t make you feel any better about the loss you have just experienced.
After my miscarriage, there were days I was so resentful of mothers. I was a teacher, and I’d watch the parents of the kids I taught and think, they don’t appreciate their child. They don’t know how lucky they are to have such a wonderful little boy or girl. And I even thought that about the kids that drove me nuts.
So when I got pregnant with Baby Galen, you know I had every intention of cherishing her and every moment of motherhood. I would not take any of it for granted. And then she was born, and it was all wonderful for about 3 days. Then we took her home, and it was the worst 18 months of my life. I say this in all honesty. It was the darkest period in my life, and I have had some very dark times.
We moved out of the house we lived in when our daughter was born when she was about 18 months old, but we still live nearby. I drove past our old house yesterday, and even driving that street forms a pit of black yuck in my belly. Even if Baby Galen is sitting behind me, chatting happily, making me laugh, I drive that street and I cannot help but feel some of those same emotions of fear, depression, anxiety, despair. It all comes back.
I could say much of the awfulness of that time was due to the fact that Baby Galen was a very difficult baby. I could tell you stories…This was a baby who really didn’t want to be a baby. She didn’t want to be rocked, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to lie on her back or on her tummy or her side, or sit in a stroller or a carseat or a playpen or a swing or…you get the idea. I don’t know what she wanted. I don’t think she knew what she wanted. She cried. A lot. I cried. A lot.
But the worst part if all of it–worse than being home alone with a baby who cried for seven hours, worse than being up four times a night for four months, worse than having a baby scream and meltdown every time you tried to feed her–was the guilt I felt. I hated my life. I hated it. I used to joke with my husband that I was running away to Mexico. It was sort of a halfhearted joke, because it took a lot of willpower on many occasions for me not to run away. What happened to cherishing motherhood? What happened to not taking a moment for granted? I just wanted this kid to grow up and go to school already (some days I still want that).
Everyone said, enjoy it now because it goes so fast. No, it didn’t. Every hour was like a day to me. I was trapped and unhappy and going slightly insane. Thank God I had help from friends and relatives. Thank God I went to the doctor and got some meds to help with the anxiety and depression. And thank God nothing lasts forever. Babies grow up. They become little kids who can tell you what they need, who sleep, who eat (sometimes independently), who make you laugh and even say, wow, this day has flown by!
And now I do try to cherish every day, but you know what, maybe that expectation was too lofty. We’re moms, not goddesses. We’re human.
Ever feel like you place unreal expectations on yourself as a mom and then feel guilty that you (a mere mortal) can’t attain them?