I’ve always known that I am not much of a baby person. I always wanted children, and think I had a sense that I would find mothering a breeze. A sense of confidence I soon lost. Once Scarlett arrived, everything I knew went out the window. I found having a newborn very hard and doubted myself a great deal. Once she passed three months I was a lot more relaxed and found myself becoming more confident in myself. As a whole she was a very ‘easy’ baby. Aside from several medical conditions (which she coped with amazingly) she was never really sick and if she was, it seemed to pass quite quickly and she always had a smile on her face no matter what.

Once again I was perhaps a bit over confident when having a second child. I thought the birth and everything that followed should be easy because I’d done it all before. Wrong again. A more difficult birth, and a much more ‘needy’ baby, I felt myself wishing he would grow up so the hard part would be over.

At eighteen months he seemed to have turned a corner. He was much more willing and able to play without wanting me there every second. He started smiling a lot more and becoming a much more happy child. He was enjoying playing with his sister (ie following her around and copying her) and being part of the family.

A few weeks ago when he became sick, I found myself feeling trapped. I was over it by the third day and wasn’t expecting it to last for over two weeks. It was like he was a new born again. Sleeping (restlessly) every few hours, needing to be carried around constantly (and at over 10kg that’s not ideal), not eating anything and only wanting what he couldn’t have. I was sleep deprived, and felt like it would never end. I wondered if he would permanently regress and I’d never have the little boy I had begin to enjoy back again.

While I had a great urge to look after him and got very emotional at seeing him so lifeless and miserable, I still wished I could be elsewhere. Not for him to be elsewhere, but just for the situation to be over.

To add to his torment, we were prescribed a medication which made him vomit, have tummy cramps and diarrhea – which is really not what he (or I) needed. It wasn’t until after the course was completed that we got pathology results back which showed something entirely different that didn’t require any medical treatment. So it was just a matter of waiting some more and hoping that it would resolve.

Of course eventually he did improve. Two weeks after it all began, he started eating again. Another few days before he walked again and finally (with the help of his sister) he cracked a smile.

Looking back on it I now feel guilty about the way I was feeling. I should be able to cope with this sort of thing without feeling resentful or wishing I could run away.

Next time this sort of thing comes through our house – I hope it’s a long time off – I think I will cope with it more calmly and with more knowledge and confidence about how to treat it. Once again I think it comes down to my lack of confidence in what I’m doing and then feeling like I’m a failure at being what a mother should be. I guess only time will tell…


2 thoughts on “confessions

  1. Please don't be so hard on yourself – and the worst word in the entire WORLD for a parent is 'guilt'.A sick child takes up every ounce of your time, energy and will to live, so it is entirely natural to feel resentful and wish it was over and to struggle with what to do. I'd be more worried if you were supremely confident all the time – *that's* when the authorities will be called or your kid will wind up in therapy. 🙂

  2. You poor thing! I agree with Kath, don't be so hard on yourself. I have never had to put up with a sick baby for such a long time, but I can imagine it would be awful. I get resentful when I can't send the kids to daycare for my 'day off', and I'm not even working yet. We are all entitled to be a little selfish. The important thing is that Xavier was looked after while he was sick – you didn't want to, but you did it anyway and I'm sure he appreciated that (well as much as an 18 month old can!) I think this is part of the 'mothering myth', that we are supposed to live for our children and be there for their every need. But the reality is that we also need to look after ourselves, and other significant people (such as dads!) can do an equally good job of taking care of the kids.I think you are doing a fantastic job with your two beautiful children, so don't feel bad about having your own needs and wants 🙂

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