The prompt for day 17 of #blogeverydayinmay (I know it is actually the 24th but on Vanessa time it is the 17th) is to post my favourite photo of myself. My favourite photo of all time is the one of me holding Noo just after he was born. I've already published it several times on this blog but what the hell, here it is again.
You can read about the day Noo was born in more detail here. On this day my life changed. In this moment I wasn't thinking about what kind of baby he would be or what kind of parent I would be. I hadn't even thought about parenting styles let alone did any research into it. I just figured mothering would come naturally.
What came naturally was the love I felt for my son. So pure and simple. But parenting? This gig sucks sometimes. Sometimes I think I'm doing an awesome job and others, like now, I feel like the worst mother in the world.
I've mentioned quite a few times on my blog and on social media that I've been brought to tears a lot lately. I'm crying right now as I type this. An emotion so strong overwhelms me. Sometimes I think it is my anxiety but as the days turn into weeks I feel like I'm dipping back into depression. I'm not quite sure how this could be.
I keep telling myself that it's my meds. Maybe after four years of taking citalopram my body has built a tolerance up. Or maybe my iron levels have dropped again. I had chronic iron deficient anaemia until this time last year when I finally got an iron infusion. Or maybe my thyroid has gone crazy again (I had postpartum thyroid disease so there's a chance my thyroid could go nuts again).
Surely there has to be a rational explanation for all these tears!
Now back to the photo. The trigger for my tears over the last month has been Noo. He's changing before my eyes. He's back chatting, refusing to do as he is asked, hitting me, so angry with me. It breaks my heart because I don't know what to do.
I am turning into the parent I don't want to be: screaming, distant and inconsistent. But my usual methods of parenting are not working. Nothing is getting through.
I made the decision quite early on after Noo was born to do 'attachment parenting'. This style of parenting fit in with my values. I could never let him cry himself to sleep. We co-shared our bed until he was three. I have always tried to discuss any behaviour problems directly with him rather than doing timeouts. So far it has worked.
Noo and I have always been as much mates as we are mother and son. I guess not having a dad around has made this a really natural way for our relationship to evolve. I've always loved his company. Yes there have been bad phases before now. This time last year I was at my wits end with severe RLS, anxiety, low mood, headaches and concentration issues thanks to the anaemia. I even briefly put him in for an extra day at daycare a week because I just wasn't handling him.
The situation last year was a lot like it is at the moment except Noo is older. He has more words and has become more physical. He sometimes looks at me with these angry eyes and angry mouth, his little hands clenched in balls and I just don't know who he is any more.
Why do I make him so furious?
I look after my niece two days a week. On Mondays Noo goes to daycare and I look after Mala. Is that what makes him cross?
On Tuesdays I have both children. Noo loves his cousin but is always trying to pick her up or bop her on the head or trip her over. I am constantly telling Noo to leave her alone. Stop touching her! She's only a baby! Does that make him cross at me?
Is he craving a dad and doesn't know how to articulate it? Is he angry he doesn't have one? Is it a testosterone surge that has him needing to do male things? Is he sick of hanging around women all the time? He doesn't behave badly with his grandmother or aunty...
Why aren't I handling this situation? Why do I fear my four year old child?
Does Noo pick up that I am not feeling well and so he behaves badly as some sort of defense mechanism? Is he angry that I'm crying. A mother should be strong, right?
I know last year after I had the iron infusion and my restless leg syndrome was cured and my mood stabilised Noo's behaviour improved incredibly.
But what if my mood now is low because of his behaviour, not the other way around? Chicken and egg... which came first? Noo's bad behaviour or my bad mood?
Fucking hell. I hate this. I just want my baby boy back. My heart is breaking for him. Fuck knows what his teen years will be like, for the both of us.
I know I broke my parent's hearts more times than I care to count. I know that it is a certainty that Noo will one day say he hates me and lash out at me because of something I wouldn't let him do or have or whatever.
But why now?
Isn't it too soon for kids to hold grudges against their parents?