The woman with my face

Time together coming to an end,

as trains approach to take us to our separate destinations;

Hugging you again –

we do that a lot –

bending down to fit my arms

around your now slighter frame;

Kissing your soft cheek goodbye,

Holding your hand with deep love and connection,

Looking back at you as I walk away,

Your face bursts forth a splendid,

whole-soul smile

and clear as glass I think:

‘I am looking at my own, smiling face!’


Mummy Swan and her Baby Swan

A mum’s response

Instead of me writing my thoughts (again) I’m going to share a reply I had from a mum to my post ‘It’s normal to hate your baby’. Given it’s Advent, when we look forward to celebrating a baby’s birth, it seems relevant! But why do I feel the urge to explain before I share this that ‘she is a great mother’? (Because our society judges mothers/women so much it should be classed as a national a hobby!):

‘Hahahaha I laughed out loud at the clip – I wanted to throw that bastard out the window. I def felt like that!

I’ve just vomited my feelings about it all below. Never written it all down before but I felt like it after reading your article so here it is.

I truly believe everyone feels this way but they lie because they can’t admit it or they are in some kind of denial.

Why would you feel good about suffering 9 months of anxiety about whether you’re cut out for the job on ‘mum’? Teamed with nausea, aches, pains and to top it off you can’t even have a gin to numb the pain! You then look forward to the barbaric freak show that is labour because you think the misery will come to an end. WRONG! It doesn’t. Now you have painful cracked nipples, boobs that feel they are going to explode but the *best one* is the swollen, sewn up vagina that is excruciatingly painful-so painful that you have to take a jug of water to the loo to pour down there while you pee to relieve the stinging of your stitches. And then you go to sit down on the sofa to have a rest with your rubber ring, because you can’t sit down normally as you are torn from front to back and that shit hurts to sit on. You do walk with an impressive waddle though!

It’s ok though as you can sleep though right? WRONG! Your baby will want to suck on your cracked, bleeding nipples all day and night. Through the tears I tried hard to breast feed but eventually I couldn’t cope with the pain any longer (oh and also had a uterus infection to deal with too!).

Not only was my body unwell but now so was my mind. I was a failure who couldn’t fulfil my plan to have a water birth and due to my stupid body not contracting as it should, I couldn’t bare the pain of labour (after 32 hours of trying). So my poor baby had to be born by forceps with bruises and cuts to his little face. How bad a mum am I already?  So that’s a shit birth and I couldn’t feed him because I was being ‘selfish’ about the pain I was in. He then had jaundice because of this so he then went to hospital twice. THEN I felt bad because I didn’t feel warm, glowing, rosy love for my baby but instead felt like I was doing the worst job in the world and not cut out for motherhood! Around 3 months I think I first felt the bond that you are ‘meant’ to feel. Did I love my baby in those early days? Nope! Did I want to get away from him? Hell yeah! Did I care for him and nurture him? Yep!

Now I adore him and love him to bits but even  after a year I still grieve for the freedom I’ve lost. Is that selfish? Maybe. But when I’ve been up during the night to tend to my baby, fed and dressed him in the morning, driven him to nursery, gone to work and taught kids all day, picked my son up from nursery and then get home to a house that’s a tip, sometimes I wish I could just sit myself down and rest a while. Oh I forgot about the fat and stretch marks that don’t go away either. I also felt a loss of identity. Who was I now? What clothes should I wear? What does a mum look like? All these questions used to go round my already worried and anxious mind.

Sometimes I still worry I’m not a good enough mum but who is? I know that I want the best thing for my son when I’m up at midnight researching new baby-friendly recipes. Or when I’m calculating how much calcium he has had that day. Or when I look at him when he’s asleep and feel so much love for him and know that I would do anything for him. It’s not an easy road but it IS worth it. And those nights when it has been so stressful you wonder why you’ve done this to yourself…yeah the gin helps! 😉

It’s Normal to Hate Your Baby

For my Counselling class this week I read an article by Winnicott who said that mothers hate their babies. And I agree.  OK, hate is a strong word so perhaps before I begin I should suggest some softer words-maybe dislike, annoyance and frustration are more palatable.  But COME ON, vocabulary aside of courseeeee mothers loathe their babies at times. That’s NORMAL. Unless suffering from masochism, I suggest it is humanly impossible to listen to a relentless high-pitched scream from a creation (albeit an admittedly adorable one) who selfishly & utterly ignorantly demands your constant effort, time & attention without feeling extreme dislike, frustration, and annoyance-what Winnicott calls Hate.

Why is that so bad to say?

10 Baby Sleep Cartoon

New parents deserve STANDING OVATIONS for simply brushing their teeth.  Hmm, actually there has been the very odd occasion lazy or low day when, I confess, I skip this myself so maybe I should set a lower bar… they deserve a salute for not grabbing their passports and running away from the screaming.  Every parent who pops into the chemist for nipple cream deserves applause!  And the respect of us creating a space for parents – but because of unrealistic & oppressive societal expectations, especially mothers – to express how bloody hard & horrid it can be. That does NOT detract from how beautiful, special, life-enhancing & heart-swelling having a baby is.  But yes, mums, it’s OK to admit that there are times when along with the beauty, joy, gratitude and sheer LOVE you feel, there are also feelings of anger, fear, frustration, dejection and loss. ETC. That is normal.  So us talking about it should be too.

I’m not a mum but I felt both amused and relieved watching this hilarious but oh so truthful Scrubs clip.  Maybe if more of us are encouraged to talk about the lows of parenthood without fear of seeming like a ‘bad mother’ (WHATEVER that is) we’ll have fewer Carlas.



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