Before I had Eli I remember so many times wishing, hoping, praying, even begging to be a "real" mom. You know....with a child I can actually hold, cuddle, kiss, rock and sing to sleep, teach and watch grow and learn to do new things every day. I thought being a parent would be the greatest thing in the world. I thought it would come naturally and easy to me. Children have flocked to me my entire life, since I was a child myself!
During my years of trying to conceive and losing babies, I would get so angry at other parents who "complained" about their children or their role as a parent. I felt like they were ungrateful. I felt like they just didn't know how to handle their children or their own emotions. And what pissed me off the most was when I would hear things like "you just wait until you have kids" because God damnit I had kids and they died!!! So by golly when I have living children I will CHERISH every single time they wake me up at night, every single moment I have with them, and every single responsibility that comes with being a parent. I WILL NOT get frustrated at my child because I struggled through years of heartache to have my child unlike the person telling me that I WILL get frustrated too. I WILL NEVER scream at my child or get so anxious that I feel like running away for a few hours because I will want to spend EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF MY LIFE with my child because it has hurt way to bad to have children that I can't spend it with at all.
Wow. Was I a complete and utter fool or what?! Honestly, 50% of my time as a parent has been spent feeling frustrated and defeated. 90% of my time is spent feeling exhausted. I HATE waking up constantly at night to a screaming, crying baby that, at times, we can't console because his pain is too much for him. 90% of the time I think there is no way I want another child-and I used to want 3 or 4. I have now become that annoying, ungrateful mother who questions why anyone would want children-out of complete exhaustion, and the fact that I have never had a normal pregnancy or parenting experience and have no idea how anyone ever does.
Then there is that other 50% of the time when I am in complete awe of my child. The things he learns to do despite his struggles. The strength he has to face each and every day. His smiles. His laughter. The way his grabs my face to plant a kiss on me or pulls me close to him for a hug. The way he interacts with other people and loves to be around other children. There are those very very VERY rare nights when he sleeps most of the night and I am HAPPY to get up with him to feed him. There is that 10% of the time when I think he deserves to be a big brother one day and we would be doing him an injustice if we didn't find a way to have a sibling for him.
But then again, there have been times when I feel like the worst mother on the face of this earth because I yell at Eli to stop crying when my anxiety is through the freaking roof after a 15 hour work day or the night before a 15 hour work day. I know it's not even his fault. After I yell I don't feel the least bit better. I feel ONE MILLION times worse. It really isn't him I'm angry at when I yell. I am angry at his disease. I am angry that as his MOTHER I can't help him. I can't take away his pain. I can't cure his disease. I can't rationalize with a baby to make him understand any of it. I wish I didn't have a child with special needs. But I can't even begin to wrap my head around not having him as a son either. I would take everything we deal with now over burying one more child-a child that I have held, and rocked, and sang to, and kissed, and taught how to do new things that we never thought he would be able to do when he was born.
I would go to the end of the earth for my son, so when I feel burdened by him and his 10,000 needs-I hate it. And I can guarantee that you hate when you feel that way too. Because we are humans. We have emotions. We feel like we need to be SuperMom ALL.THE.TIME. And when we aren't, because we just can't, because we don't have one ounce of energy left in us, we feel like bad mothers. And that feeling right there-that is what makes us a DAMN GOOD MOTHER. It is hard to remember that in the midst of all the crisis around us. But it is the truest thing you will ever hear.
To anyone who is still in the midst of grief from trying to concieve and/or pregnancy loss, please know that the complaining mother is not ungrateful. She is everything but ungrateful. She loves her children with all her heart. She is just tired. She is exhausted. Motherhood is the single hardest job in this world. It is so much harder than anyone ever thinks it will be. And yes....it is a blessing. One that we all know can be ripped away from us in an instant. Because, really, we have either experienced the loss of a child ourselves or we know someone who has. And that makes us cherish our children so much. But it doesn't make the hard days any less hard. I was such a fool for ever believing I would never understand these words. But I do. I truly understand.