In the Wildflower's 9-point-something months, I have only become angry-frustrated with her twice. Both times were in my head. That is, I didn't act out or anything. I still felt bad for thinking so negatively.
I have been Present through the horrible breastfeeding situation. I have been Present through the torture of sleep deprivation (3hrs a night average since she was born), and I have been Present through hours of irritability during the day.
I have been Present for her whilst I was recovering from c-section surgery, sleep deprived, unable to breastfeed, and having a rather incompetant husband (at the time). I am a child of the Now.
I have and do carry her in a sling or on my hip. I never leave her alone or unattended. She is up close to watch me cook and clean and knit. Other than naps or an hour or two with DIY Dad on the occassional morning, we are always together. Yep, I am an attachment and a continuum concept parent.
I am also aware of the precious fleeting time of their infancy. How this is my chance to create an everlasting bond. I am aware of the impact my behaviour will have on her psyche, for now and the future. And I am aware that other parents have serious issues to deal with compared to my own.
I am aware that I am her first point of reference for Love, Security, Peace.
All this helps me be there for her. Not wanting for her to be or behave differently. Present and accepting.
But I cry.
Sure, you'll say that, of course, I'm sleep deprived. It sends your body chemistry out of whack. Yes, there's that.
But also, I'm so sad. I'm crying now because I'm just so sad.
My poor baby spends so much time being irritable. Something that I laughed off at first as part of her innate Aries nature. Later, I came to realise that she was tired. Yet she struggles to sleep. So it is a never-ending cycle of sleep, short spurts of a Ray of Sunshine, and then hours of ebbing and flowing though crankiness.
I don't feel a failure. No, I am not that sort of thinker. I am aware that I am 110% there for her. I can't DO more.
But I am bloody down about it. It's really got to me now. I feel that as an AP/CC parent, she should be happier, more content. And I feel sad that tiredness, or whatever else it might be, might be having an affect on her developing personality. Afterall, dealing with the world as a cranky person must have an affect on your perception of the world, right?
I read other blogger's accounts of their new babies. About the joy and lovely moments and how they adore motherhood. Sure, there is occassional lack of sleep or colic, but overall, this is just the stuff you expect as a new parent.
Although I adore my Wildflower - she is My Heart on the Outside - and although her sunshine smile and infectious laughter rings through our home, I have struggled as a new mother. I have struggled having that glowing new mother experience. I spent the first few days of her life unbonded to her. I spent the first few months just feeling like a protector and nothing much more. The last couple of months have been different. There have been so many wonderful moments. I guess I just would like the moments to stretch a little further. You know, where the challenging stuff becomes the moments. And I wish for sleep - for her more than for me.
It has given me an ever greater compassion for parents of children with true challenges, such as autism.
I felt bad for even thinking negatively, because I am a strong believer in the reality of energy. That even thoughts have energy. So no matter what I was going through, I breathed in deeply and kept an inner calm, to then exude calm outwardly. I am aware of my affect on her body, mind, soul and spirit. I act and think accordingly.
Yet, my baby, who has never seen me frown, frowns. My baby, who is only ever held and handled with gentleness and love, hits. So I feel this baby ought to belong to a neglectful or distracted parent, not to me.
I guess we just want to do the best right? And when we do that to the best of our ability and the results are contrary, it's sad. I just want to make it all okay for her.
Unlike for some other parents, she smiles, laughs, and enjoys cuddles. Yes, I am grateful for that connection.
And despite all the things I have no control over, I DO trust that my parenting style is laying down a foundation of something good. And who knows, a combination of crankiness and Love might make her into one heck of a strong woman.
But today, I'm gonna be doing some crying, 'kay?