I have been meaning to write this particular post for about the last 8 months (story of my life. I have lots of ideas for posts. I just need a bit more time). I first thought about writing it as I was putting away my son’s 0 to 3 month clothes and I was hit with a feeling of overwhelming sadness: my baby wasn’t a tiny newborn baby anymore – he was growing up. I felt the pang again as I put away the 3 to 6 month clothes, then the 6 to 9 month ones. It reared its head again when I stopped breastfeeding and again recently when he started nursery and I went back to work. With my daughter I felt this sadness but I also knew that we would have – or at least try to have – another child. But we have decided that we are not going to have a third. So every stage with my son has felt that little bit more significant because it’s probably the last time I’ll do it.
Now, the funny thing is that I don’t particularly like the baby stage. Don’t get me wrong, I love newborn cuddles as much as the next person. But I don’t really love that your life is thrown into chaos, and you become fixated on sleep (nobody seems to get enough), milk (what if I’m not producing enough? Is this glass of wine going to cause my baby untold damage?!) and poo (that one is self-explanatory). I like to feel in control and life with a baby is anything but. I am, however, really enjoying parenting my 3 year old. She is so funny and I absolutely love watching how her wee brain works. I also think it’s easier because she can tell me what she wants/what’s wrong, rather than the guesswork that comes with babies.
My son also had reflux which I’ve written about in a previous post (One word: reflux). When I think of the first few months of his life, my over-riding memory is of him screaming and writhing in pain. There were times when all I could do was put him down on the floor and walk out of the room as I just didn’t think I could take it any more. And then I felt guilty as it wasn’t his fault that he was in pain. Not to mention the feelings of helplessness as nothing I seemed to do made it better.
Thankfully, his difficulties with reflux seem to have passed, although the screaming is still quite a regular occurrence. When he wants something he wants it NOW (can’t imagine where he gets him impatience from.). When he doesn’t like something he lets you know about it. Loudly. He has already started throwing little tantrums where he cries and puts his head down on the floor (these are actually hilarious – the drama! Hey, I didn’t say I was winning any parenting awards) but he’s only 11 months… There are points in the day when I find it really difficult parenting him. And I worry about our bond because of it. And then I feel guilty – there is just so much guilt in parenting. And the rational part of my brain knows that he is only screaming because it’s his only way to communicate. But sometimes that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to.
What is does all mean is that, mixed in with the sadness about it being my ‘last time’, there is also relief that we’re moving onto the next stage, and therefore closer to a stage that I find easier and enjoy more. Which then makes me feel guilty (again) as I feel like I’m wishing his life away.
I hope that I do not sound ungrateful or as if I don’t realise how lucky I am. I am grateful and I do realise. For all the difficult moments, there are so many more when I think he is the scrummiest, loveliest, most amazing little thing ever. Although I have not experienced it myself, I know the heartache of not being able to have a baby or a second baby. I know that there are parents out there who have lost their children and would do anything to have them back. I am not for one second comparing my experience with the pain that they have gone or are going through. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge the times when we struggle. That there are days when you have to forcefully remind yourself how lucky you are.
I apologise if this post has felt a little aimless. I think like my other personal posts, it is my way of trying to work through my emotions. And I think I am also hoping that someone out there can relate. If so, please share your experience in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.