As a new first time mom I really battled with the notion of letting go. Throw in seven years of infertility and the idea of letting go was an absolute no-no in my mind. I wanted to be able to do EVERYTHING for my son. I so badly wanted to prove that I DESERVED to be his mother. In my mind that meant that I had to do everything for him myself and I had to do it perfectly. I put an immense amount of pressure on myself to be the perfect mother. Throw in some sleep deprivation and a refluxy baby, lets just say things were not always perfect… that meant that the guilt set in. That useless emotion that gets us no where.
Guilt that I wasn’t doing everything perfectly. Guilt that I would sit on the bed and hold my son tight,tight, tight in my arms and literally BEG him to go to sleeeeep. Guilt that I craved sleep more than I craved the desire to care for him. So I put more pressure on myself. I battled to allow Cliff to help me. Cos I had to do it all myself. In not allowing Cliff to help me, he happily toddled off to bed to sleep most nights and boy then did the resentment set in. How DARE HE SLEEP WHEN I CANT?? More guilt. For being a shit wife. A wife who begrudges her husband his sleep. Useless, useless, non productive guilt.
On and on and on the circle of pressure on myself and guilt went. Until one Sunday when Kade was about 3 weeks old my mother came to visit and found me in Kade’s room in a state. I was overtired, cluster feeding my child and so overwhelmed with this thing called motherhood. Battling to figure out how to manage it all. Still trying to figure out this little person who was my child. She told Cliff to pack a bag for Kade and told me that she was taking my son to the shops for the afternoon. That I needed a break. I burst out crying and told her to just take my child away from me cos I wasn’t deserving of being his mother cos I couldn’t cope! Talk about drama queen!
That afternoon was the first lesson I got in allowing myself to let go. To allow myself some help and to give myself a break. I started accepting offers from my family to come over and watch Kade for a few hours so I could sleep. I started allowing my husband to do more than just change nappies and wash bottles. I started allowing myself to think that altho no-one could care for Kade like I could (cos lets face it Mom’s always do it best *wink wink*) that maybe their way of caring for him was not so bad after all.
It was not an easy process, and it took some time for the notion of letting go to sink into my stubborn mind. But I have to admit that allowing myself that “break” made life a lot easier for everyone involved.
I still battle to let go sometimes, but overall think I’ve managed to balance the act of wanting to be everything to my child and allowing myself to remember that in order to do that I too need a break. It’s still a work in progress, one I’m sure that I’ll never truly master. All I can hope for is that in allowing myself to let go, that I become a better mother to my son.