When a home pregnancy test gave a positive result, I was filled with fear. My husband and I were planning on having children – one day – not this soon. There was no doubt that HedgeHusband would be thrilled; he was looking forward to being a father. I was very uncertain, for many reasons.
To most people, I describe my past as “colorful.” It’s a safe way to shut out questions. The reality is that my childhood was painful and I am estranged from my family. My brother and I were neglected and physically abused by our parents. I was sexually abused by a family member. (I was honest about my past with the OB. That’s a different story: medical staff was not sure how to treat with me.)
Home was not a safe place for me. Once I was 18, I moved out on my own and struggled to get by. Lonely, full of shame and wrestling with depression, I attempted suicide. As strange as it sounds, surviving suicide was the best things that ever happened to me. I started therapy and the long journey to becoming healthy and whole.
Even after many years of therapy and marriage to a wonderful man, I still feel like an outsider in social situations. My journey to adulthood was so different from my peers. After everything I had been through, could I raise a child? Could I even relate to the experiences my daughter or son will have? I felt awkward among friends and co-workers, now I feel like a freak among other mothers.
One of the victims of my emotional turmoil was my education. Going to college was difficult in many ways. Eventually, I found a career I loved and started to take classes part-time in order to get my bachelor’s degree and advance in this field. After seven years of hard work, I was laid off from my job after my maternity leave was over.
The other night, my husband and I were discussing our future. I feel very lost. Losing my job was a blow to my self-esteem. My work was the only thing I felt good at doing. I haven’t completed the degree and doubt that I can go back to school. (The campus is in another town. Gas and tuition are expensive. On-line courses are not an option – there are none offered for my major, biology.)
Our daughter was born premature. She had jaundice, followed by colic. She is now nine months old and quite healthy (thank goodness), but still not sleeping through the night.
I feel like a failure. No education, a social outcast and a poor mother.
To be honest this is the first post, on this site, I have ever read, but I feel compelled to respond. You are judging yourself way too hard. Remember that it is all of your experiences as a woman that make you the unique person that you are...no matter how "colorful" or uncomfortable, or difficult they may be.
The way you navigate through the rough patches are just more life lessons (they don't really ever stop) but they continue to help you grow, evolve.
And what you learn from it all goes into your bag of tricks...and better suits you to help your child later in life, to be a better parent.
It is all just perspective...you're not a freak or a failure...just struggling a bit right now. Things have a way of working out...but you already know this...
And remember all those other moms that seem so normal...they all have "stuff" that they have weathered through as well.
You can raise a child. You can look at your past, decide what you don't want for your kid(s) and make a decision to do much much better than what you experienced. Remember that your husband is in on this with you and that he will have input into parenting styles and his own way of doing things that could help you out when you are unsure. Read books, keep up with forums like this one and talk to as many close friends as you have, even if it's just alone time with your husband. We all have moments of thinking we've failed, and yet our kids turn out fine. I wish you all the best.
IMHO anyone who is as concerned about being a good mom as you are is destined to be a great mom. Relax and enjoy your baby.
As far as your baby not sleeping through the night, don't sweat it. Charlie isn't either. He was but now that he's teething he isn't anymore. Babies go through times when they do sleep through the night and just when you think life is good, they start waking up at 3 am again.
Parenthood is not easy. Just remember your love and bond with your baby is what makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
I agree with the other posters, you are being too hard on yourself. Also..you are on the outside looking in on these women's lives, there is no telling what kind of past they have. I know I sure as heck don't share the nitty-gritty/less than wonderful details of my past with everyone! As mothers, we all share a bond, just based on the fact that we are mothers, the other details don't even matter.
You question whether you can raise a child, yes!! you can! You have been through so much but you made a choice to get help and turn your life around and you did it. So that tells me you are a strong person. Like all the other posts, don't be so hard on yourself, it is easy to get into a pattern of beating yourself up. Think of all the things you have done! It is hard to lose a job and to feel your life has turned upside down but you must be optimistic that it will turn out ok in the end. You may not have finished your degree but you have seven years job experience to build from and experience is still very important! You have a supportive husband and a beautiful baby, enjoy that!! Also, you are not an outcast, like Mamaof1 said, a lot of people don't share the details of their lives to everyone. I do believe there are more people out there who have been through traumatic experiences like yours than you think. Please keep your chin up and know the power of positive thinking. It may be tough right now but nothing lasts forever so focus on the good! Good luck!
You and I have many things in common and I think I can help you with some of your concerns. If you would like to discuss this further with someone who has been in the same place you have, e-mail me with a phone number or e-mail if you prefer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, i sat here for a good five minutes debating on whether or not i would share my colorful past with everyone and anyone who reads these forums. Just you would be one thing, but everyone... i'm a little uneasy about that. Many babies are premature, mine will be - guaranteed. they all have colic and don't sleep through the night. It has nothing to do with ur parenting!
The way i look at it is.... i've been through it all, to hell and back. My experiences just make me even more capable to protect my baby. Due to the things I've been through I'm wise to everything. Anything getting past me is slim to none. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, depression, drugs b/c of me my child will never experience any of that. If anything you should feel more capable than most. Use it to your advantage.
I like the rest, have to agree. I have been reading posts on this site for 4 years. Parents struggle all the time, and even those of us who do not share the same "colorful" past as you, sometimes feel like failures as parents. It is hard, and no doubt each of us sees our short comings first and the struggles we have been through as something to fear. The truth is, the more we have been through, the more experience we have at overcoming these hurdles that life keeps throwing at us. When you get down on yourself, take a moment to reflect on everything that you have (now).
The baby may be premature, but she is here with you.
You may have lost your job, but you held it for 7 years, and you lost it at no fault of your own.
You sound like you have a supportive husband. Some have nobody they love to turn to in a time of need.
For the Colic, ask your pediatrician about Gripe Water. Worked wonders for my Colicy nephew.