I used to be very maternal. Everyone said so.
I used to adore kids. Everyone saw.
I used to want eight of my own. I told everyone.
Now, well now I’m not so sure I was meant to be a mother. Nobody knows.
I remember perfectly when my son was born. I can tell you my birth story in detail, which I’m sure I will sometime. But I cannot tell you that amazing connection mothers feel the moment they hold their children. I can’t tell you about that because I didn’t feel it.
I just wanted to go to sleep. I looked over at my darling boy, said he looked like his father, and passed out.
When the nurses brought him to my room so I could take care of him, I kept asking them to take him away. I wasn’t ready. I needed more sleep, more time.
Slowly that connection, that amazement, came. My son was in the hospital for two weeks after he was born. When I sat with him in the nursery I would hold him and stare at him for hours. No one else wanted to come visit because it was boring for them to watch me stare. He was perfect, couldn’t they see?
I got lucky. I had an easy baby. I loved being a mom. I loved watching him explore the world around him and take everything in; I loved being there for major moments; I loved how he would curl his body into mine for comfort. I had never known a love so strong. I was obviously meant for this.
But now, now things are different. And I haven’t yet told anyone.
Now I get bored watching him sleep. I get excited for the milestones, but only because finally the hard work of getting there is over. I get uncomfortable when we cuddle and crave a cigarette more than his warmth. I get so irritated when he always comes to me for comfort — why can’t he go to Jack?
I feel like a failure. I feel like I don’t belong. I feel like, maybe, someone made a mistake. Maybe this isn’t what I was supposed to do. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.
Maybe I’m not cut out for the sleepless nights and the tantrums. Maybe I’m not cut out for being late to every single thing I ever try to do. Maybe I’m not cut out for struggling to get shoes on for half an hour, or meticulously teaching every letter a thousand times, or wiping the same butt for the millionth.
I feel like I’m suffocating. Truth be told, I still have it easy. My son is a good kid, an easy kid. So why is this so damn difficult?
I wake up and he’s there. I go to the bathroom and he’s there. I smoke a cigarette and he’s there. I try to eat a piece of chocolate and he takes it. I go to sleep and he steals my spot. Every moment of my life is centered around this fabulous being.
Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s amazing. I adore him. And I make sure he has all that he needs. But I do not feel like a good mother. I feel like I’m failing him. I feel like I don’t love him enough, even though I know that I do.
I feel like this should be easier. I feel like I’m waiting for a day that will never come. I feel like I should cherish our moments far more than I do.
I feel like I’m not cut out for this, but I push through because I know I have to be.
I just hope I get that initial spark back. I hope I can love him the way I’m supposed to. I hope this will stop, someday.
And maybe that hope means I am cut out for this, after all.
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