A few weeks ago an article popped up on my Facebook news feed called 13 Sad-but-true reasons I’m apologising to my baby. When I saw it, I didn’t read it. I didn’t read it because it made me feel guilty, it made me feel things that I didn’t really want to feel, because it made me think about things that I didn’t want to. Avoidance for the win!
Over the weekend I looked up that article again and how I wish that I had read that article a few weeks ago. It was the complete opposite of what I had thought it would be. I had been ruminating for the last few weeks about all of the ways that I believed that I did wrong when Mr 7 was a newborn and how I would change them if I could go back. I was writing a post in my head about these things, not sure if I wanted to share them. Then I actually read the article.
The article is about a brilliant website called Dear Baby XO. It pokes fun at all of the things that we feel we are failing at as new mothers, or even second and third time mothers. The creator of the website was at a place where she felt overwhelmed by all things baby related. She found herself wishing her baby would hurry up and finish feeding so she could have a wine. Then she laughed. This lead to a giant list of ways to poke fun at herself and the pressure mums are under. After a while she figured that if she was thinking these things, then surely other mothers were too. And so Dear Baby XO was born.
I do have regrets about those first few months as a new mother. I do wish that I wasn’t in a bad place mentally and that I could have enjoyed being a mother. I do wish that I could go back, if only for a day. I do wish that I had advocated for myself better at the time, that I didn’t let it get to crisis point before something was done. However I also know, at least deep down, that wishing all of those things won’t make an ounce of difference.
As parents we do the best that we can with what we have at the time. Of course it’s easy for me to look back now as a parent of a 6 year old and say that I would do things differently. Even this week I can look back at things I did last week and wish that I had done things differently.
The reality though is that living in the past, pining for do overs means that I’m not looking at what is happening right now. I am missing things because I am so caught up in combing through everything I have said and done looking for mistakes. It’s one thing to learn from my mistakes, it’s quite another to become paralysed by them.
If you could go into the past for a day, would you change anything?
I really wish I never got pnd. I feel so guilty for those few weeks where I wasn’t really involved with her and I was so mentally absent and incapable, but a huge consolation is that she won’t have any memory of it. I wrote about it on the blog so maybe eventually she’ll probably find out about it.
I regret so many things. There are so many things I would do differently if I had my time over. But you know what? The paths we take are all part of our journey (which sounds wanky), but do truly shape us. My kids are growing into wonderful people. If I hadn’t met their Dad, if I hadn’t been me, if things hadn’t turned out the way they did … would our children be so wonderfully wise and empathetic and funny? I don’t know. They wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t met their Dad, and that is unthinkable. I have learnt we can’t live our lives looking back. (Well, we can and I still do to a degree, but it will drive us nuts). We have to forgive ourselves for past mistakes and/or choices made and move forward. Like you, I feel I have a lot to have to apologise to my kids for. I am sure I still will before my time is up. But all parents stuff up. Just as kids do. It’s human nature. The important thing is admitting when we’ve messed up, asking forgiveness and making things right. And that’s how our kids learn. I think the fact that you are even worrying shows you are an engaged and wonderful parent and your child will love you for it.
I don’t know what you went through, we were new friends a few months after birth so I really wasn’t aware of what you were going through. I am glad though that you were at least at a point of making a new friendship with me when you did. And I guess the positive point is that when you hit crisis point, you did reach out for help. Xo
I feel so much guilt for my 23 year old, I did so many things wrong. I have learnt so much about life since then, i wish I had been better at life for his sake. There is much guilt, but I am getting so much better to get past it, for the better. I am paying it for it now, in the help that I have to give to him, that I should have laid the ground work for, before. You live and learn. That is the key, you learn from your mistakes. Onward and upward x