My family will be with me to celebrate my reading at the "Tales from the South" presentation and I am so excited I could just spit. (That's the Southern Redneck girl coming out in me. Sometimes she trumps the Belle.) I can't think of a better early birthday present and I am just as excited as all get out. My story is about a hard day early in my parenting career. I learned a valuable lesson that day from my daddy that I think made me a better mother. Below is my story:
I was a young mother of 20 trying to cope with a colicky baby while suffering from severe postpartum depression. At the time I didn't know I had postpartum depression, I just knew that my baby cried most of the time and when he was crying it seemed like I was crying too. We cried together and never seemed to really sleep. We just spent our time crying together in total despair. He from a tummy ache and me from a pain in my psyche that just would not budge.
My husband was young too, going to school and working. He didn't know what to do with a crying wife and baby so he either stayed at school, worked extra hours or hid in his study. I know he was lost in this situation and I don't blame him for hiding, if I could have gotten away from myself I would have.
My beloved little son Sean was the light of my life. I loved him with all my heart. I rocked him, I sang to him, I wound up his swing a thousand times and yet we kept crying together. I wanted to be the perfect mother for him because to me he was the most perfect and beautiful baby I could imagine. In fact, I didn't know how something so precious could have come from within me. During the moments when there was no colic and the depression was not so bad we cooed and laughed back and forth at each other with great delight and enjoyment. He was my heart and I wanted everything to be thus and so in order for him to grow up and be the special man I knew that he could be. Yes, I was planning his future when he was three or four months old.
On the particular day in question we started the day pleasantly enough and then Sean's tummy ache began. He was howling in pain. As he yowled, I developed a migraine from the stress and anxiety. I was sobbing in physical and emotional pain. I did everything in my power to calm my little son but nothing helped. Finally after one last tummy and back massage I finally put him crying into his bed and left him there because I was beside myself with a sense of failure. I then went and crawled into my bed crying my hardest because I hurt and I couldn't be a good enough mother to my son.
Suddenly there was a loud knocking on the front door. I couldn't imagine who it could be but I tried to stop crying long enough to answer the door. To my utter surprise it was my father who had stopped by on his lunch hour to see my little son, his first grandchild.
Daddy was taken aback to see me crying so and to hear Sean screaming from his bed. He went in and picked up Sean who stopped crying immediately. I couldn't believe it. This child had been crying for hours and by simply picking him up my father had quieted his tears. I felt like a totally incompetent mother but then I realized, that my daddy had no expectations of himself or Sean. He just wanted to see his grandson and there was no stress between them. It gave me a new perspective on myself as a mother and despite my migraine I was able to understand the significance of this moment along with the change it would have on my mothering. I didn't have to try to be perfect. I didn't have to have a perfect relationship with my child. All I had to do was love him without expectations and we would be okay.
After my dad's visit my son stayed tear free and even had a little nap. It turned out to be a wonderful day.
There were still peaks and valleys in my experience as a mother but when I learned to set aside unrealistic expectations, of myself as a mother, from my daddy, I became a better mother to my son.
I hope you enjoyed!