As if there weren’t enough things that parents end up feeling guilty about; I’ve just discovered a new one.
The overwhelming guilt of being a poorly parent.
I’m having tests at the minute because the doctors have no idea what’s wrong with me, but I’m in a lot of pain and unable to eat or do much of anything productive, really. I’ve lost 5kg in less than 4 weeks and just don’t feel like myself anymore, and I can see how it’s impacting on my ability to be a good mum.
D reassures me constantly that I’m doing great and she loves me, and I know when I see that little face light up that it’s true but it’s so hard to lie on the sofa, spaced out on tramadol and crying with pain, watching D changing SB’s nappies and feeding her and doing everything and I know in my head that I should be doing them too – but it’s too painful to get down on the floor to change her, and I don’t have the energy to feed her. I seem to spend most of my time these days either running myself ragged over this dissertation, or flat out asleep on the sofa.
I had a scan today which showed nothing, so I guess the tests continue, because I can’t carry on like this. I think the next step pain-relief wise is morphine, according to the doctor, and it seems to be coming to that point now. I do feel a little bit like I’m drowning at the minute; under dissertation work and appointments and pain and this guilt, niggling away at me and telling me that I’m not being the mum that SB deserves. Parents are supposed to be totally selfless and, no matter what pain they’re in, they have to just carry on and sort their children out, and right now, I don’t seem able to do that.
I guess it just shows the pressure we’re put under as parents to be perfect – and it’s not easy to accept that perfection isn’t always possible. D is being so supportive, he hasn’t complained once, and is constantly there, holding my hand when I’m in pain, taking me to appointments, making sure I take my tablets and, most importantly, taking care of SB pretty much all by himself, save for the rare occasions I’m human enough to help out. He deserves to take some time out; to go and have a drink with some friends, but I know he’s too worried to even do that right now. Parenting really is a team effort, and I feel so lucky to have a partner who will not only pick me up when I’m down, but will take on the work I can’t do too, without complaint, even though I know he really wants to.
Through everything we’ve faced this last ten months; starting nursery, SB coming down with her first MegaCold™, organising the naming ceremony and coming to terms with the inability to breastfeed, I feel like this is my biggest challenge so far – overcoming this crushing guilt over something I can’t help and I can’t change, and yet it’s affecting not just me, but my baby, my partner, my friends and my family too.
I know the blog today isn’t very funny, or lighthearted, but as I keep saying – I promised from the start that I’d be honest. I’m not going to put on a brave face and lie and say today’s been great and everything’s been fine – I’m going to tell you that, as a parent, when you get ill, you may well feel this guilt too. If you’re already a parent, you may recognise the feeling all too well. To lie and pretend that it doesn’t happen would be going against everything this blog is about – hopefully by tomorrow or the day after I’ll be feeling brighter, and ready to regale you with a story about something daft SB has done, or a parenting mishap I’ve had, but I promised you the ups and downs of unexpectedly expecting (and unexpectedly parenting), and that’s what you’re getting.