It wasn’t until recently I realised I still carry a lot of guilt about what happened last year even though it was all completely out of my control. I feel guilty and that guilt is now impacting how I am as a mother and a person. I don’t like it and I am slowly picking it all apart and processing things so we can all move forwards as it’s not doing any of us any good. For those of you that don’t know our story, you can catch up here The pain of 2016.
Guilt is a self inflicted bully. It makes you do things you probably wouldn’t normally do and it tricks you in to making yourself feel better because of these actions. I went through a phase of seriously over spoiling Noah. I had slept by his side on a hospital bed for so many weeks last year. Weeks that eventually changed to months. Every time I opened my eyes there was my beautiful two year old….. covered in drips, drains, tubes, morphine pump. He was constantly surrounded by doctors, nurses, specialists. Every day I wondered if he was going to be OK, every day I questioned whether he was going to die. I felt awful that his sister, who relies on me so much, had been abandoned by me with no word of warning. Now I know you can’t plan and prepare for the unexpected but she was constantly in my thoughts because I knew she was struggling and fate had just removed me from her life for a while at the worst time possible. Three operations later and he is home, thriving. But the memories stay with me and have often triggered the anxiety I now struggle with that I never had before. So I fell in to a short time of spoiling him, doing everything for him because it eased my guilt a little bit each time. My heart and head were so happy he had survived everything that I felt this need to give him the world, or at least some extra toys and treats. However I soon realised this wasn’t good and it certainly wasn’t healthy or productive for any of us. I risked changing him and his personality because guilt sat there poking at me. Guilt also made me feel stupid for feeling guilty! After all it wasn’t my doing that he became so ill and needed operations. The brain is a crazy thing sometimes.
Reflecting on things like this are never easy but they are often necessary. I have been reacting a similar way with Eliza. I do too much for her. I know that now. Last year took a lot away from us all as a family and now we are back together I find myself taking over tasks that she can do herself. This morning I did her shoes up for her. They are one strap velcro and she can do them herself. The other day I tidied up around her whilst she sat and watched me yet I know she can tidy away her things. So why do I do it? Little things like this have just somehow fallen in to our routine and I just take over things that she can or could be doing independently. Obviously, being Eliza, she will let me because she trusts me and we are so close (perhaps too close to notice things sometimes) she will simply assume it’s a mum job and not question me. As above with her brother I think a lot stems from guilt that I left her for so long last year. I’d barely left her before ever and because I had no choice it made it so much harder to deal with. But then the additional or knock on guilt takes over – I’m doing too much for her, I’m taking away independence, I’m not being the mum I was before all this happened. The vicious circle starts and I need an exit. We have become stuck in a rut. Her because she lets me lead and me because I’m controlling things. I’m trying to make up for last year by over compensating and again chipping away at that guilt that sits there. I’m working through the guilt and trying to take a step back and let her be the feisty, capable diva I know she is. I’m not helping her and I know that but I am working on it and it takes time. I am human, I make mistakes, I have feelings, I feel pain. I too need processing time for certain events because life isnt all about smiles and good times, it often throws a lot of shit at you all in one go. I said before in a previous blog about something I came across via a friend regarding the future – That the best thing we can do for our children is to teach them how to live without us. It’s not morbid, It’s not something to be feared. It reminds me that actually that is what I do and need to keep doing. We won’t live forever and one day these children will have to live without us. It’s vital that I snap out of my guilt stricken behaviour for the sake of both children but especially for Eliza who needs me in such a different way to her brother.