YES, I AM PROUD OF MY DAUGHTER BUT THERE’S SOMETHING BUGGING ME.
“Can I have one more smile before I go?” he asked, his blue eyes twinkling, a wide grin plastered on his kind, weathered face.
Emi turned her head slightly to her left and shifted her own pair of bright blue eyes coyly back at her new friend. The corners of her mouth slowly turned upward. Checkmate. She had just delivered her ‘small smile’. It’s possibly the cutest one in her repertoire and not surprisingly, she now had this elderly gentleman in the palm of her squishy little hand.
5 REASONS I'M GRATEFUL I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH POST NATAL DEPRESSION
After ‘The’ appointment had been made with my psych, I sat and reflected on how much I’d changed in the 14 months since my daughter’s birth.
I thought about my newfound patience, resilience, compassion, obsession with the TV show Pawn Stars; and it was just as I was considering how steep of a learning curve I’d navigated, that I came to a somewhat startling realisation: I was thankful for my mental illness.
MY DEMONS FORCED ME TO SQUEEZE MY DAUGHTER'S FEET INTO SHOES A SIZE TOO SMALL
It turns out, that for the first two months of my daughter’s shoe-wearing life, I’d been squeezing her little feet into sandals a size too small for her. Her foot slid in easily, and the buckles clipped into place without any hassle, so in my head, job done. Pat on the back mum.
But. There’s always a ‘but’ when it comes to parenting isn’t there? ‘She’s a good eater…but she hates vegetables.’ ‘She’s sleeping through the night…but every third night or so, it’s party time at 3am.’ ‘I love her…but she’s shitting me today.’
Under the watchful eye of grandma, I encountered another ‘but’.
MY DAUGHTER CAN KEEP HER DUMMY FOR AS LONG AS SHE LIKES
I share photos of us on social media and I wonder what people think. I imagine them saying to one another,
“Why does she always have a dummy in her mouth – is she not a happy baby?”
“Wow! She’s still giving her daughter a dummy – isn’t she old enough to go without one now?”
And I’ve actually had people say to me, “It’s time you started taking those dummies away from her.”
I TRIED SLEEP SCHOOL AND IT WAS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME FOR MY BABY
“No more of this,” says the nurse sternly, with a small shake of her head, cuddling an imaginary baby to her chest.
I feel sick. My heart, heavy. Easy for her to say when the make-believe baby she’s holding is just that – make-believe. Fake. Not there. No sweet baby smells, no mewling kitten noises, no warmth permeating off a small human body, through her arms and to her very core.
THE DAY I COMPLETELY LOST IT IN FRONT OF MY TODDLER
You know the saying ‘this too shall pass’? I’ve come to realise why it’s used so often in parenting circles.
It’s because EVERYTHING is a phase. There’s the colic phase, the putting everything in the mouth phase, the ripping books phase, the teething phase. Nothing really lasts forever. And most of the time, this is a source of comfort for parents of young children.
FIVE VERY REAL CHALLENGES ONLY MUMS FACE ON A DAILY BASIS
One morning I sent a message to my hubby. It went something like this:
‘Our daughter just went to scratch the side of her thigh, hooked her finger into her nappy, and pulled out some poo instead. So I took her to the bathroom, stripped her and washed her. She then ran out to the lounge room nude. I followed her with fresh clothes and watched, helplessly, as she peed everywhere. Took her back to the bath, went back out to the lounge room to wipe up the pee. Rushed back to the bathroom to wash her again. Finally got her dressed. Gave her brekkie. Went to the toilet, and when I came back she was covered in Sudocrem. FML.’
He read that message out to his work colleagues and they all said the same thing. Something along the lines of, ‘I’m exhausted just listening to that sequence of events.’