Wednesday, July 09, 2014

As A Mother I Did Everything Wrong... ♥

Sitting in the doctors surgery waiting to be seen for a routine checkup I opened up my copy of Maternity & Infant magazine which I had been sent to have a browse through. Being delighted at the fact that I finally had some quiet time to enjoy my magazine I flicked through the pages, read the lovely articles which exuded motherly love, I even became a bit teary eyed at the newborn photography ads in the back pages - don't ask me why! I then read the article on attachment parenting and a sadness came over me, I realised that as a mother I had done everything wrong. When I was pregnant I had so many plans for my boy, I was adamant about breastfeeding, it was something I had planned to do and was sticking to it no matter what, I wanted him close to me at all times as I had read that newborns gain comfort from the sound of their mothers heartbeat, I was also adamant about taking him on a long walk everyday so that he would get lots of fresh air... I sadly failed on all these plans. 


The are apparently 'Seven B's' of attachment parenting and if I'm lucky I've achieved two of them, I felt like such a failure at that moment, reading these things and realising I had failed on so many. Breastfeeding didn't work out because after a blood transfusion and refusing the second one they offered me I'm ashamed to admit that I just didn't have the energy and it hurt me so much, my milk didn't seem to be appearing either so I sent my other half to the shop in a fit of tears to pick up some milk for our boy, it's something I wish I hadn't done as we never had that special feeding bonding then and my son weaned himself off his bottle at eight months. Another thing I failed on and something which makes me cry is birth-bonding, getting that skin to skin contact with your child as soon as they're born. My son was placed on my chest for literally five seconds after his birth as they wanted to whisk him off to check his lungs for fluid. He was then put in a baby grow and hat by a nurse and given to me, I then fainted and my partner had to take him. Looking over at my two boys, my partner smiling with joy at our beautiful, just born son filled me with happiness but also sadness, I never had that instant bonding session and it still haunts me to this day. I've mentioned it in a previous post about how I felt that it took about six weeks for my son to warm to me and I blame it on the lack of skin to skin contact. It makes me so sad that my beautiful baby boy never gained comfort from my cuddles or my heartbeat, it just wasn't how it was meant to be.

We never got the chance to bed close to baby either, my son is far too independent for his own good and won't sleep anywhere but his cot. From six weeks when he was moved into his own room into his cot he slept throughout the night. It just showed me how independent he is, how much he likes his own space. Even now at 16 months he'll come into my bed for a quick cuddle but won't settle, he always wants his own space. When I read of other people's co-sleeping experiences I feel so jealous, why won't my boy settle by me? I failed so much on the closeness and comforting factor with him and if I'm honest it makes me feel awful.

I thankfully did get to baby-wear and those little adventures we had with him out in carrier fill me with joy and happy memories. I was recently going to sell my carrier but I just can't, looking back on pictures of him in it, close to me and enjoying the great outdoors just fills me with a sense of nostalgia, I only wish I had had a carrier or sling since his birth and was even aware of baby-wearing in the first place. I failed on the everyday walks due to my crippling depression and anxiety which left me housebound for weeks, caged within my four wall cell of a house with no inclination or wanting to go outside. Thankfully I'm feeling much better now and we now go for a walk everyday which I am so glad for but when I look back on those first few months I wasted due to my stupid mind I feel so guilty and sorry to my boy, I only hope we can have so many fun, adventurous days together from now on to make up for that time, even though I know I will never get it back.

I know to many that this post may seem as thought I'm being very hard on myself as a mother, after all I have quite a happy, beautiful little boy who is super healthy and who has a fabulous personality but I honestly do feel like I did everything wrong. When you make all these plans in your head and none of them come to fruition you just feel so useless and as if you've failed. So my attachment parenting plans didn't work out and it makes me feel like a failure. I try everyday to get that closeness from my boy, to give him as many cuddles as I can and to tell him I love him no end. I try to get him to sit on my lap, come into my bed for cuddles, be there for every cry and need he has and just generally try to be the best, most supportive mother to him I can be. I need to learn not to be so hard on myself and I would urge any pregnant ladies out there not to have too many expectations when it comes to what you want your mothering journey to be like. Children have personalities, things go wrong, some things don't work out, you're constantly learning new skills, fads, wants and needs and things change along the way on the great adventure that is motherhood. No matter what course of parenting you wish to take upon the most important thing for any parent to know is that if all else fails, as long as you love your child unconditionally and would do absolutely anything you possibly could for them then you're succeeding, winning in this fantastic, life-changing, mind-altering experience that is parenting. I know deep in my heart that I did everything wrong but I'm trying my best and hopeful that my achievements as a mother, my unconditional love and being the best parent I can possibly be for my son will triumph over any failings I will ever have.




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29 comments

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect parent - you just have to do your best with what you have at the time. Saints can't do more!

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    1. You're totally right Sandy. Us parents always give ourselves a hard time though, no matter what we do it seems that we could have always done more. Thank you for reading xo

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  2. Fiona I wish I could give you a big hug - you are anything but a failure. You haven't failed at ANYTHING when it comes to Tyler-Lee. Just look at this website - every photograph of him shows a very, VERY happy, smiley little boy. That's because of you. xxx

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    1. Thank you Sharon, as always you're such a doll. I know he's a very happy boy, I just wish we were closer and that I had gotten a chance to do all I wanted with him from the beginning xo

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  3. Ser madre/ padre, es difícil, no nos enseñan a serlo, aprendemos a ser padres, al mismo tiempo que nuestros hijos crecen. Yo también considero que hay situaciones que hoy en día hubiera resuelto de otra manera, mi consejo, disfruta mucho con tu hijo, crecen muy rápido, y siempre dile que le quieres mucho!!!!

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    1. Muchas gracias por la lectura y por su consejo. Yo sé lo rápido que crecen los niños, parece que fue ayer cuando mi hijo era un bebé recién nacido. Yo le digo que lo amo innumerables veces al día, espero que siempre sabrá lo que siento por él.

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  4. Oh Fiona what a beautiful post and I relate to everything. I didn't breast feed, I had emergency c section and got no skin to skin contact for hours after. My lil one never co-slept but I think this is important for thier own independence! I also had terrible PND and never left the house for weeks. Your lil man is a credit to you, always so happy and smiley and totally loved. Big hugs xxxx

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    1. Thank you Leanne, so sorry that you can relate though and about your PND too, it's such a horrible thing. Thank you for your kind words on Tyler Lee and for reading my blog, I very much appreciate it xo

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  5. I think you're right....we can all have our ideals of parenting but you have to factor in the childs personality and wants. Not all babies are the same and they want & need different things from us.

    It's so easy to blame things on yourself but you could still have had that 6 week struggle even with skin to skin contact.
    I didn't have skin to skin contact either but we didn't have that bonding issue - I genuinely think it depends very much on the individual child.
    The best thing a parent can do is adapt to the needs of their child and put the childs needs above their own parenting ideals - rather than forcing Tyler-Lee into your bed or forcing him to do things he didn't enjoy, you sacrificed the way you had hoped to do things for what he seemed to want....I think that makes you a wonderful and selfless mother. xx

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    1. Thank you for reading Hayley and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. I know all babies are different and need different things and I have learned what Tyler Lee craves and what he doesn't want at all - namely the co-sleeping. Thank you so much for your kind words, you're so lovely xo

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  6. I hope writing this has helped. There is no explaining away emotions, and this is how you feel, logical or not.
    I think with a first baby we have many expectations and there isn't a mother alive who fulfilled all of them.
    I know you know that your baby was unaware of your feelings and you have more than made up for it since.
    I may have told you before that a good friend of mine had four children and on one of them she just couldn't "feel it". That initial bond. She got so very down about it and remains guilty, but that girl is all grown up now and loves her mom as much as the others.
    Hugs Fiona. Your first is a very difficult experience, and you have come out of it brilliantly. Try to dwell on as much positives around the birth as you can, which might allow you to remember it differently over time.

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    1. My dear Tric, as always you are a beacon of knowledge to me and such an inspiration with your words. I'm glad I'm not the only mother who has ever felt this way, sad that it is. I hope Tyler Lee and I have a very close relationship always just like your friend and her daughter. You're right, the first is always the hardest and no one sets you up for the guilty, worry, rush of love and everything else along the way. Thanks for reading xo

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  7. I hope that getting this out onto paper has helped you. (well the computer haha).

    You haven't done everything wrong. Parenting is hard work and I am sure you always did what you feel was best for your boy at the time. I "attachment" parent.. but I don't follow the 7 B's. Attachment parenting is about creating a secure bond and attachment with your baby and parenting mindfully and gently. It sounds like that is what you have done. Never tell your self you are a failure. You are not a failure!

    I think before you have a baby you have lots of plans and those plans wont always work out. I swore that there was no way that I would let Eli watch TV... but to be honest..hes 12 months and watches it everyday for short bursts...it helps me get things done and keeps me calm.

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    1. It's has Jenna, it's been like a sigh of relief! Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it and there's nothing wrong with a bit of tv for both children and us adults to enjoy :)

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  8. I'm not a mother and obviously have no experience with PND but I do know what normal depression is like so I can relate to you blaming yourself for all the things that went wrong. If you think back though, none of those things that you think you did wrong were directly your fault or intentionally done to hurt your son. Remember that it's perfectly okay to feel how you feel but you shouldn't look back at that time with regret, remember the good moments and focus on what's to come. I'm glad you're in a better place now and I'm sure you guys are going to have so many amazing experiences. :) xxxx

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read Nicole. I know that the majority of things which went wrong, wrong in my mind anyway, we out of my hands. Thanks so much for such a lovely comment xo

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  9. Fabulous post Fiona, I agree society and health professionals paint a picture of all the things we should be doing & how we should be feeling, however the reality is a different story!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Triona and you're right, they do paint this perfect picture but that's not always the case.

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  10. Every child is different, he looks happy + healthy. Stop beating yourself up

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  11. Hi Fiona, loved this post, related to a lot of what you said, remember feeling that way at times with my first but you do what need to do to get through! I didn't get to hold my son after he was born, for nearly 48 hrs, I was heart broken, felt he was damaged, traumatised, neglected because I didn't get to hold/feed/bond etc with him immediately (he was in special care, I was in ICU) but that was crazy! We have an unbelievable bond, we have more than made up for it since and there are so many other things I could have, should have done, but what's important is that we are healthy and happy! You are a wonderful mum to a gorgeous little boy and from what I can see through your blog, you are doing a super job! Ciara x

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  12. I can relate to this . I managed two weeks of expressing and syringe feeding.
    Had panic attacks so didn't go out . didn't cloth bum as couldn't cope with my PND . but I did manage to babywear . I still do at 16 months. We cosleep but that's mainly because I have no choice lol . I do like it but not getting punched and kicked.
    There is no perfect parent x

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  13. While reading this post I really feel sad for you. When you get to the last paragraph it seems that you know deep down that you are a good parent, you love your child enough to worry over what sort of parent you are, and that is a lot more than some people I know/heard of. Try not to feel down about it, just look at Tyler and try and realise what a great job you have done and are still doing xxx

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  14. I think that you should look at Tyler Lee everytime this thoughts are crossing your mind. Just to see how much you're accomplised in growing a happy, heathy, indepedendent boy.(by the way, this quality will help him more than you can imagine). Or, if you want to do a recap you always have "The living arrows" and the "365 days project. :D
    I know things are much complicated from the inside. I know for a fact that I'm my worst enemy just because I can't get trough some barriers and fears. So I can get you.
    But you have such a lovely family, now that you\re written all these things, pretty please, let them go and just enjoy the present a 100%. xoxo

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  15. I don't think you failed or did something wrong as a mother. there is no such thing as a perfect mother and your boy is lovely the way he is.

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  16. Hi Fiona, I loved this post and identified with so much of what you wrote about when I think back to my first little monkey. I didn't get to hold him, no skin to skin, no breast feeding immediately etc, I was devastated but he need to be in special care and I needed to be in ICU. I was so so sure I had traumatised him, damaged him, that we would never bond "correctly" but 5 years on we are unbelievably close and most importantly healthy and happy! There's so many things I could've, should've done but I've since learned and accepted that you do what you need to do to get through, whatever's needed and right for the situation you are in, not what "they" think is right! I have been incredibly hard on myself and the stress and guilt was unbearable and had a very negative impact on my health. Thankfully, I have been a lot more laid back and easy on my self with my little girl. You are a wonderful mum to a gorgeous and fabulous little boy, from what I can see you are doing a super job! Xxxx

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  17. Such a sad but also lovely post Fiona! I think every mother is the same, we blame ourselves for a lot of things and most of the time it's completely unnecessary. I think your advice for expectant mothers is spot on, trying not to have too many expectations as you never know what happens. I try to take things as they come and not didn't make too many plans in terms of parenting and yet I still feel like I'm doing things wrong.. You know, this is not going to help at all, but when they get older, you feel the same way but just about different things! Wow, that was a depressing comment in a way.. I suppose what I'm trying to say here is as long as you can see your child is happy and healthy, you're not failing! The fact that you are thinking about these things so much shows how much you care.

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  18. Awww, well, you know you're a fully paid up mother when you agonise over what you should have done! Crickey the whole baby thing is hard enough as it is - and when you get off to a tricky start like you did with being poorly, well, you just go into survival mode. Any images of serene mums with a 3 week old babe at breast (whilst wearing normal jeans) drove me to having ridiculous expectations of myself. I had PND too - what a laugh that wasn't. Plus terrible guilt (perpetuated by the NHS, I might add), when I couldn't breast feed. Now I know that boobs and what jeans I wore mattered not a jot! And so you will too, as you see Tyler Lee grow into the lovely little man you made.

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  19. I really don't think there is wrong and right when you're parenting - short of being like, actually abusive, which would be wrong, obviously. This sounds like you did everything right - by you and by your baby. Neither of you is like any other mom or any other baby. Even if you feel like you let yourself down, I really don't think you let your baby down. I actually love that you let him have his space - that's something my parents have never understood I needed, not the amount of space I do anyway.

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Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate all your comments and try to reply whenever I can.

Peace & love,
Fiona
xo

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