(Note 090709. I just updated the title of this post. J thought I should add the question mark. I didn’t mean to say I am a bad mother, I don’t actually think I am a bad mother. What I wanted was to express my insecurity, my worries that I am not as good as other mothers, that I am not what people see as the “good mother”.)
She wasn’t many minutes old before I started feeling momentarily like a bad mother. I worried if I did things right, I wondered if I was fit to take care of the little creature and so on. Since then the feeling has only increased. Through the past four weeks I have worried daily (and more than once) whether I was doing my best and doing the right things.
Her stomach aches. She cringes – awake as well as in her sleep. The pain is so obvious and J and I take turns trying to comfort her, trying to relieve her pain. We do our best, we really do, and I know that, but there is still the sneaking feeling of not being good enough.
Do good mothers after a whole night of crying wish someone would take their child so they can have a full night of sleep? Do good mothers close the door to the bathroom so the crying from the living room isn’t so obvious? Do good mothers get desperate and google every page in the universe for an answer to the question: “When will it wear off?”? Do good mothers try to shut off the “I am hungry”-sounds from the crib in the middle of the night?
I feel the deepest love when looking at her. Every single time. But I feel desperate when she cries. And I get some kind of angry when the pain and the crying start early in the day because I know that this will put an end to my dream of the afternoon nap that is supposed to make my night easier. I am sad because all J see of his daughter at the moment is crying, and I am sad because this means our enjoying her is strained. Naturally, we feel all the love in the world when looking at her, when she smiles at us (because she does so now), when she is calm and at ease, and we talk about these moments, but then she cringes in pain and we wonder what to do, how to help her, how to be the best parents in the world, and we are left without answers. We have yet to find some miracle cure helping her and it pains both of us.
Do good mothers wish their child would sleep just a little longer? Do good mothers think “hey, if she was bottle fed I wasn’t needed all the time”? Do good mothers feel happy for instead of jealous of those mothers with easy children or children beyond this specific phase? Do good mothers favour the dishes and the laundry, almost anything but the screaming child, at night when there is a father present?
When my mother calls me and asks me how everything is, I tend to say “sort of okay, but…” I have yet to say that we have had a really great day or a really great night and this sort of pains me. I know that she knows I am happy to be a mother and that I love my daughter, but it pains me that I am not able to put this into words. Why can’t I ignore the difficult times? Why is my account of her smiling at us and all the happiness this brings us followed by tales of rough nights or lack of sleep or a screaming child at dinner time? Why can’t it just be happiness?
I guess my feeling like a bad mother won’t ever disappear. It will forever stay in me and I will have to live with this. In time when motherhood isn’t as new to me as it is now, I am hoping that I will start to feel more and more like a good mother and that I will be able to look back at these days and think that maybe I wasn’t a good mother, but I wasn’t bad either. I tried my best and that is all anyone can ask.