Being a parent: the only relationship in which you are always preparing for the person you love, to leave you - and that's an outcome to aim for! Truly the definition of if you love someone, set them free.I never understood the concept that love could be redemptive before I had my son. When the pregnancy test was positive, I remember feeling that I was no longer "alone" despite being in a relationship - that there were two of us now, but that we were in some way more equal. I felt like here was a person who could know me from the inside out and we could grow together to know each other. I never realised how much loving him would change me as a person.
I wasn't prepared for the intensity of feeling I would have for my son when he was born. It didn't take much for that all consuming, instant feeling to kick in after birth. But it's not even so much love as a turbo-charged primal, feral intense feeling of protectiveness. When the midwife did the reflex test and made my son cry, I wanted to tear her arms off to get to him. Every time he cried, which face it, was quite a bit in the early days and months, I felt like my skin was being ripped off if I couldn't get to him quickly enough. I felt worn to a raw nerve a lot of the time, terrified that something could possibly happen to him.
Trusting people has always been hard for me, expecting them to leave or hurt me at any moment. But with a child, you have to earn their trust, you are entirely responsible for this tiny human being. I really struggled with this responsibility and the weight of emotion that sloshed around inside me - that messy postnatal soup of hormones.
None of the books or blogposts I read prepared me for how to deal with such a one sided relationship in which my anxiety seemed all-consuming at times. I felt - feel - so vulnerable in my love for my son. It is hard to have balance sometimes. In the early days, my fears for him were common - feeding, sleeping, pooping - was everything normal? Any ill health was paralysing though, and the thought of anything worse - SIDS was a constant terror. I still, every night, go and check on him before I go to sleep. A hand on the chest, reassuring up down movement.
It is hard to put into words how I feel or why it is so scary. Which is almost why this post needs to be written. Sometimes I feel so alone in my feelings - do other people also see the worst happening, before it even happens. The fall from the climbing frame, the too-thick bedding, the speeding car, the too-large grape. Everything seems risky sometimes. And then I have to be normal, act normal. If he does fall and hurt himself, if he is unwell, to remain calm, to have perspective. To not alarm him or transfer my fears onto him. To show balance.
But even the smallest hurts to him, trivial as they are to an outsider, when I watch his little face crumple, just wring my heart to bits. And the knowledge that one day a cuddle will not fix his problems....saddens me deeply.
Sometimes I think I need to be tougher, to feel less like a piece of my heart is walking around, playing on the swings, asking for a snack. But I think I need to make the most of this time because one day he will be too big to want "kisses on my mouf mumma" and wind his little arms around my neck. To have hurts healed with the power of a kiss.
I like the simplicity of a toddler's life, the soothing predictability and the time to explore the world within safe, familiar boundaries. To be able to return home to loving arms whenever things feel strange and receive an explanation. I love being able to provide this for him.
It is strange and hard to be vulnerable, to trust, to love openly and without constraints. But maybe this is what my son is here to teach me. To allow myself to do these things and take down my walls, so that I can enjoy life more. As much as it's scary, it's exhilarating also. I wouldn't change it, it just wasn't what I was expecting.
Thank you and goodnight,
Stupidgirl has left the building.