May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Guilt of Parenthood

When we lost Wyatt, I was consumed by anger.  I found being in public very difficult.  Being around other parents, other babies, even other children.  It was so easy to judge and determine others to be not thankful enough for the blessings (children) in their lives, to assume they just took everything for granted.  It was also easy to tell myself that I would do better, that I would be better if I was given another chance to be a parent.  Well, about four months after losing Wyatt, I got pregnant with our first daughter.  I told myself that I would not complain about any part of my pregnancy, even morning sickness, because I was so grateful to be given a second chance.  I also told myself that I would not complain about my child or the difficulties that babies  and children present.  I held up my part of the bargain during my pregnancy but when she was born it all fell apart.  She was extremely fussy and slept very little.  She took a long and very painful time to adapt to nursing.  I was so sleep deprived and sore I cried and  cried.  Often, the only times I could get her to sleep was laying on top of me and even then it was sometimes only a half hour at a time.  Sometimes, only nursing would keep her from crying, which caused me to cry a lot of times and was more than exhausting.  I knew nothing about babies and had little time to learn between feeding, changing,  vomiting and trying to sleep.  I felt like such a failure.  This was the baby I had hoped and prayed for with all my heart and I wasn't doing a good job, I couldn't make her happy.  It was a terrible feeling.

Since then, she has turned into a very bright and for the most part very happy, she has a head of bright red hair and a temper to match, child.  We have added two other very happy and much more easy going children to the family as well.  They are all so special in their own ways and bring so much joy.  With that said, there are so many moments in parenthood where I as a mother find myself underperforming to say the least.  After those moments I find myself reflecting on the promises to myself after losing Wyatt and realizing that there was no way to keep those.  I have never taken my children for granted, but I am human  and I do stumble.  I don't have all the answers and I don't believe that anyone does.  I don't know what I believed children would be like after losing my first, but I think reality was not within my grasp, I expected too much from them and too much from myself as a parent.  All I can do is the most any parent can do I guess, which is to try do better every day, be willing to accept that I make mistakes and then to take those mistakes and learn from them.

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