I have been examining my choice to stay at home lately and I realize there have been many factors leading me down this road, not all of them are deemed to be good reasons. Of course I wanted to be at home with my children, be part of their lives, watch them learn and grow and really be there for them but that wasn’t all. I also didn’t want to continue where I was working, in fact I didn’t want to continue working at all because I hate the rigidity of the 9-5. One of the biggest reasons I quit my job a year before my oldest son started school was that of atonement, I needed to atone for my sins, so to speak. I felt like I failed him as a mother and I wanted so badly to make it up to him , to build a relationship I felt we didn’t have.
When my son was born he was much too tall for my short frame, and after a few hours of pushing, they came in and said they would have to make a rather large incision and pull him out with forceps. At that point I was exhausted and just wanted him out. They wheeled me to another room and started to cut, from what I was told the episiotomy was a good one, which explains the length of time I saw over and over again the hand stained with blood stitching me up. This was not what I had planned, I was so disconnected and so unhappy at the 28 hours of labour which lead me to that point. I remember as they whisked my son away to check him over, my husband had tears in his eyes and I thought I should too, but I didn’t, I didn’t have tears, I didn’t have any feeling. I was numb and for that I felt guilt.
As we went back to our room I was happy to have some food and hoped to get some rest so I could feel like myself again. But I didn’t. After a little breakfast and a nap, I sat up to take some medication for the pain and told the nurse when I sat up that I had the worst headache ever. Her look of concern, created some serious panic in me and I found out that I had in fact a dural puncture from the epidural. It was okay if I laid down absolutely flat but when I sat up at all I ended up in sick to my stomach with nausea and a headache that made a migraine look like a walk in the park. I was told it could go away on its own, and not wanting to have to deal with the same doctors that put me there (instead of asking for someone else) I voted to go home.
I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get out of bed. I missed the first week of my son’s life and have never been able to forgive myself or anyone else who lead me to that point. After a week, I went back to the hospital for a blood patch and that fixed the issue at hand but the one thing it couldn’t do was bring that week back to me.
I lost so much in that first week but the thing I lost the most was myself. The worst part is, it has taken me six years to realize that I had postpartum depression, and bad. I felt so robbed and sometimes still do of that first week of bonding. The birth left me feeling like a failure, the week I lost left me feeling like a failure, the week I lost lead to breastfeeding failure and all these failures with him continuously added up and all I could see was the failure.
I was a failure
I failed him as a mother.
The fact that I believed this to be true up until this very moment of writing this shows how long a person can carry that weight with her and just how much it weighs you down.
I feel like I have spent every moment since trying to make up for that. If I am angry with him with something he has done, I feel large amounts of guilt because I should not be that way with him, I failed him and therefore have no right to be upset with him ever, regardless of his behaviour.
Just typing that makes me sad that I have let this go on this long.
My husband says I like to punish myself for imperfect behaviour instead of accepting it and he is bang on there. My mind thinks I am here at home with my children to make up for the past, that being at home with the kids doesn’t always agree with me but that’s too bad I need to make things better. That’s simply not true. My heart knows I am here because I want to be here. Until I started writing this I had forgotten a talk with a friend of mine when we were younger, how we didn’t want to be like some of our friends, we wanted a simplistic lifestyles where we were at home baking cookies with our children.
I chose this life out of love and not as a way to make it up to my son because I have nothing to make up. He loves his mother whole heartedly as I do him and we always have. The postpartum depression that went unchecked for years, led me to a skewed view of reality where I couldn’t see all the love that was there. My expectations of the birth and recovery I wanted versus the reality of the birth and recovery I had, led me to a place of inner conflict where I felt nothing but disappointment and sadness. That disappointment and sadness grew over the years and I let it colour my reality.
I forgive myself.
I forgive my son.
I love myself.
I love my son.
I am a beautiful mother who is connected with her children through nothing but love, I always have been and I always will be.