I have said those words to myself a thousand times, but typing those words out for all the world to see…(deep breath)..it stings a little…
A mothers guilt…this mothers guilt.
I can speak as a mom, and I by no means am trying to say ALL moms feel this way, or are this way, but I hope there are others who understand.
We have to make decisions that will affect our children’s lives. It will affect who they become, and there’s always going to be those stories they tell people about their memories of things, good, bad and in-between. I have stories about my mother. My mom lost her mother at a very young age, so she didn’t get the privilege (I mean that) to complain to her mom about how her own kids (one of which is me ) were driving her crazy. Or ask her mom “how did you do it mom!” or to say what I have said a gazillion times to my mom “I’m so sorry for what I put you through”. Mostly I apologize for being a self centered, lazy teenager. And my mom smiles and says “you don’t have to apologize to me”. Yes I do. That’s how I show my mom how differently I see things now as a mother compared to how I saw them as that bratty teenager. And they are not just words to me, I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure my mom doesn’t want my apology because, well, because she’s mom. Mom’s understand their kids will make mistakes, lots of them in fact. Moms hope they can help avoid some obvious mistakes, but I’m learning sometimes us moms must sit back and let the rocks tumble. But when things go wrong and it hurts our kids we moms are always so hard on ourselves, that wonderful “mothers guilt”.
This is going to sound crazy, but I really got lucky with my girls. I was 18 when I got pregnant. I didn’t even know how to take care of myself let alone a baby or two! Which meant I didn’t eat right, I didn’t sleep enough, or I slept to much, I skipped my prenatal vitamins a lot (they made me nauseous) I stressed myself to tears daily. I was unhappy. I was 18, unmarried, and my boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me after I got pregnant. I had to drop out of college, lost my scholarship. I lost my job because I got put on bed rest. I already felt the mothers guilt. I felt bad for bringing my kids into a single parent home, with no dad in the picture (at the time) and I had no money to take care of them. The depression I felt was actually my mothers guilt I’m sure.
As a kid I dreamed of a fancy future, a high paying career, I was going to be someone important! I always remember picturing myself in a loft downtown with an area for my art with paint brushes and a work in project sitting on an easel. Anyway, being an 18 year old unemployed single pregnant teen was the farthest thing from my dream. My dad was dying of cancer, my mom was in her midlife crisis and my best friend dumped me. I was a depressed wreck. But a miracle happened, well 2. I gave birth to two beautiful and healthy baby girls who brightened my world beyond my imagination. They had a few minor health issues as babies, but overall they were very healthy babies! By 6 months they slept through the night. They weren’t picky eaters, I just had to cut up the meat and hide it in mashed potatoes. They were full of smiles and giggles and they shined everywhere we went. I eventually got back to college. I didn’t think I could love anything or anyone as much I loved those girls! I was lonely sure, but I didn’t really picture myself with anyone. I accepted it was me and them girls forever. So I spoiled them, dressed them alike, gave lots of hugs and kisses, did their hair every day in pig tails, I enjoyed them because as far as I was concerned they would be my only children. Then life threw me a curve ball, well a lot of curve balls and with each of those came more guilt.
I met a guy, looking back I’m honestly mad at my mother for encouraging it. But she was just happy to see me happy again and the idea of me not having to raise my girls alone was nice. What a fool I was. I can’t express how much guilt I have locked away over this one, but it is what it is. Lessons were learned. I became a much stronger person from it all. And in 2002 I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. It was a very, very, very difficult and long delivery. I was in labor for over 27 hours and actively pushed for nearly seven hours, mind you this after having my twins by c-section. My son was 9 pounds and he couldn’t get out. I have guilt over picking that quack doctor.
From day one Ryan had health issues. He didn’t sleep, he was always hungry but like the girl from the exorcist, he threw everything up. It was awful. Jaundice, fevers, ear infections, acid reflux (I never knew a baby could have that!) eczema, sick all the time he was. The guilt over his birth still eats at me. I was again going through another pregnancy alone but this time also raising twin four year olds. The last thing I wanted was to be raising 3 kids by two different fathers alone, going through a divorce. What a catch I made my myself! At least I had a job this time. (there’s my sarcasm) Do I need to explain where the mothers guilt fits in this part of the story? God I hope not!
Fast forward through a lot of crappy choices that came with more of..you guessed it… mothers guilt.
Let’s see, I have no idea where to start on this part… Hmm.. okay, 2004 was the first time I took Ryan in for outside help. Ryan was always so much more work than my girls were. I’m sure I’m exaggerating but I honestly remember the girls always being so easy. You said “no, don’t touch that” they didn’t touch it. Shocking I know! I mean, they’d give me a poutty face, immediately followed by a big smile and a “shake that booty..uh uh..shake that booty baby” such easy kids. Ryan is a tester, a button pusher, he likes to test the limits and push buttons. He’s honery! Anyways, 2004 fast forward through alot of mis-diagnoses, therapy, behavior modification, medical tests and hospitalizations…and the overwhelming guilt that comes with all that… Ryan actually has Epilepsy, and ADHD. He’s a great kid though. He’s funny, charming, peculiar, artistic, loving, smart, jokester, thoughtful. But he’s had a rough road, course thank god he had me and his sisters because it takes a whole lot of love to get a person through what he was.
And the guilt over all the stuff I fast forwarded through? Well there’s just so much to explain, to sum it up, I learned how to be my child’s advocate. I learned how to navigate my way through the system. The medical, the insurance, the doctors, the school, IEP’s, I became obsessed with it all. Why? My guilt. It’s silly really. Most people don’t know about this stuff, we trust the doctors and the schools to do right by us and our kids. BUT I learned a very important lesson. We must educate ourselves too, moms (and dads if they are involved) are the most important person to stand and fight for our kids.