Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good Mother, Bad Mother

In case you didn’t know, motherhood is terrifying. To me, at least.

Due to the broken road Hub and I had traveled while trying to start a family, I was scared to death my entire pregnancy. Scared we’d lose this baby too – scared of when he’d arrive. I’d completely reconditioned myself to a life of childlessness. It almost felt as if I were being submitted to maliciously cruel stress tests. But in retrospect, it paled to what was to come.

Initially, I was completely terrified of Incrediboy, and bore crushing silent embarrassment for that. I was exhausted just by the thought of the tasks ahead, and nerve wracked beyond collection. When he cried, I’d fall apart. Hub had to handle much in the beginning – I couldn’t seem to get myself together. It was awful.

In short time the overpowering love and devotion came upon me. Of course you love your child, but it’s not uncommon to feel very detached at first. Sometimes it takes a while to absorb and adjust to the shell shock of parenting an infant, and truly emanate that from your heart and soul. Not too many sources warn you of that, and the self induced guilt if you are one who experiences this can be squelching.

Perhaps for some, it is - but for me, parenting was not instinctual. I had to learn things that everyone else just seemed to innately know. And ignorance is not bliss.

I have often been told that I’m a good mother. That I am so cool and relaxed, seemingly taking it all in stride, and that Incrediboy’s pleasant nature is an obvious reflection of this. But truthfully, I don’t feel like I have it together at all. I still worry and second-guess nearly every move I make. While other mothers exude confidence, I cower inside, questioning my choices even when I know they are sound. Am I doing right by my son? I crumble inside from the ocean of the love I feel for this little boy. I implode from wondering if I’m not doing enough, not being enough. I constantly battle the mindset that I am simply not worthy – that he deserves more than what I am. More than I could ever be. That maybe God made a mistake. Why has He placed such trust in me?

I know God doesn’t make mistakes. But it’s just the way I feel. I feel so shamefully underqualified.

Is this normal? Is this … right?

Please, please, please. Lord of the Universe, please replace my doubts with confidence and wisdom. And please please, please. Above all, please help me be the mother he deserves.

16 comments:

chesneygirl said...

OMG, CLEW!!!!

I feel this way EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
I have never EVER shared it with ANYone cause I thought something was wrong with me! :(

Lately I've been thinking these thoughts ALOT as I'm struggling SO HARD with thoughts of MAYBE having a second child.

People tell me too that I am a very relaxed and laid-back mother, especially for a first-time mom. Unlike my other mom friends I don't "freak out" and panic about things that most moms do.
Adam is very good natured...some say that it is a reflection of my easy-going attitude also but I sometimes wonder if God made him that way because I'm not capable of mothering a more "hyper" "out-of-control" child...???
And I worry that if I had a second child I wouldn't get so lucky the next time.

I'm so glad you shared this Clew...you have no idea how relieved I am to know I am not alone!

Itchy said...

These questions are what has prevented me from jumping right in and getting pregnant. I feel like I'm thinking it to death...beating a dead horse. But I am consumed with fear that pregnancy will freak me out. That I'll have a baby and then not know what to do with it. Or that I won't love it enough. Or enjoy being responsible for it. Doing all the Mom things. But the thoughts of regretting not doing this scare me to death as well. I don't know how people make this decision. It is just so big...such a huge decision. Once you become a mother, you are a mother for life. It is overwhelming...

martie said...

Motherhood is overwhelming! And so worth it! Clew, the feelings you have are shared by every mother at one time or another during the course of raising a child. It's just that most people won't admit to it.

As you know, I am the mother of 5 and the grandmother of 13, and I still question my judgement regarding whether I did the right thing at the right time with each of them. Motherhood didn't come with any manual to read that would instantly make us good mothers or give us knowledge as to how to react in different situations. It's a learning experience for all of us....each and every day; even after they're grown and out of your home! Hang in there, Sweetie. You are doing a good job, even though you question yourself.

Love,
MM

naive-no-more said...

Your prayer has aleady been answered dear friend. Your love for Incrediboy is evident in this and every post you write. When love is first, everything else falls into a neat little order.

You're doing more than fine with you son. Time for another one. ;)

Nelly said...

I was on zoloft after the birth of both of my kids. With my first, I was afraid to be alone with him, I didn't feel connected to him, I didn't know what to do. After I had my daughter I thought things would be better the second time around because I knew what to expect but it wasn't any better. I wasn't afraid to be alone with her, but I was anxious all the time and couldn't eat or sleep. It was a horrible feeling. I was only on the medication for a couple months, but it was very much needed and I don't regret taking it.

All mothers question every move they make, MANY times over. You're always wondering if you're doing the right thing, saying the right thing, teaching the right way, disciplining the same way. Our parents learned by trial & error and so are we and so will our children once they have kids. It is the circle of life and learning along the way with your kids is the best way to do it!

Incrediboy will be a better man because you are his mother! Trust yourself Clew and your instincts...they will not fail you. Hugs! Love u!

Ocean said...

I'm a first time mother of one daughter age three. Yeah some days get really wild, strange, tiring. What ever you can name I have and most other mothers have seen those days. No it's not an easy job. Then when you think of the love and joy this child has brought into and continues to bring day after day. It is so worth going though anything and everything the next day brings :)
Hang in there hun, It will get better. Your a great mother! Hugggs

McSwain said...

Dearest Clew, I think we all feel like this. I thank God every day that a wonderful Lamaze teacher told me that the whole ideal of being completely attached to your baby at birth is a myth. Now that I love him more than life itself, part of me feels like I'm a good mom, the other part is terrified that I'm going to make a horrible mistake. Perfectly normal, perfectly natural.

Love covers a multitude of sins. That's one of my mom's favorite quotes, and very true. Love him up, Clew--that's the most important thing. And this post says you do that Incredibly well. (Pun intended.)

Slap-Happy said...

That you question your judgement is a sign that you allow yourself room to grow as a parent. You and your child take this journey together.

Don't stop questioning, but sleep well.

Slap-Happy said...

Oh, and as for natural parenting, I don't know about anyone else, but I took a ton of classes on it and made efforts around babies long before I had my own.

I was such a girly man, but it's paid off!

Ame said...

I heard a very godly woman speak many years ago who told us about her very godly parents. I had just come to a place where I forgave my mother - something I had been diligently working on for ten years - and I went up to this lady afterwards and told her through choking sobs that I had just forgiven my mother. That's all I said. And you know what she said?! She said, "I had to forgive my mother, too; we all have to forgive our mothers!"

You know, if this godly woman had to forgive her godly momma, then my children will certainly have their fair share of momma-forgivin' to do in their lives! Thankfully, I'm not giving them anything close to needing ten years to work thru. But the reality is that we're imperfect Mommas living in a fallen world . . . and we're just gonna mess up sometimes. But lovin' him and being honest with him is what he needs. He doesn't need a perfect momma; he needs a real momma who loves God and loves him!

Also, he is a gift from God. God created both of you before He created the foundations of the world . . . and of all the millions of people spanning the scope of all of mankind, God chose to put you two together ... and He did it intentionally. Tell yourself this truth over and over every day till you believe it with all of you. Developing your self confidence will teach your little one how to develop his own self-confidence.

When I pray out loud over my children, I pray these words, "Lord, raise me up and enable me to be and become the Momma You need me to be for THIS child (I say her name) so she will grow up to be and become the woman You created her to be before the foundation of the world." And then I relax believing that in my humanity, God will answer this prayer because it IS His will that we be and become the Mommas we need to be for each child.

And the Momma I need to be for my older one is not the same Momma I need to be for my younger one. I cannot do it on my own. Yet empowered by God . . . I can and I do!!! So can and will you!!!!!

Nelly said...

Wonderful comment ame!

Attila The Mom said...

Oh, I have so "been there!"

Thanks for writing this. Just remember, you're not alone. :-)

It's Just Me said...

People tell me that I'm a calm, cool mom too....but you know the story of how I handled the sight of blood when my son fell. Ai ya yi.

And I'm not always 100% patient either. I struggle to be a mother that my kids will be proud of and happy with as they get older. And I worry about that a lot. Quite a lot.

Thankfully, you and some others are there to cheer me on and let me know that it's OK not to be perfect.

I think if we didn't worry about making mistakes, if we thought our decisions were supreme, if believed we were infallible, only then would we be truly flawed mothers.

Motherhood certainly is terrifying at times to me too. {{{HUGS}}}}

Kodijack said...

All those "confident" mothers feel the same that you do. We are all terrified. I spend an enormous amount of time reviewing my parenting decisions.

Cheetarah1980 said...

I just discussed something very similar on my blog. I don't have kids yet and I don't know if I'll ever have them. I think I want them, but like you, I'm terrifed. The responsibility for another life seems so huge that I have no clue how I'd tackle it. But you give me hope. That's it's possible to get beyond the fear and be the good mom that little Brooke Lyn and Christopher Wallace and his twin sister Brianna will need.
Only in Theory

A Real Man said...

Dear Clew,

I am, of course, a man and father but I have made more mistakes than I could ever remember or apologize for with my three children. BUT they are all becoming very successful young adults. That is how I measure success, results. Ask yourself, Does my son love me? Does he some times just run up and give me a hug for nothing? How does my HUSBAND feel about me as a wife and mother. He is your ultimate judge. If he approves of you and your ability in raising your little son, then that will go a long way in helping you conquor (spelling?) your fears.

From what I see from this long distance reading what you write, you are doing GREAT! Keep up the good work and continue to pray hard.

Father, may this woman and all mothers become the wives and mothers that you want them to be. May your loving hand guide them into all truth and keep your protection on them in times of doubt. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.

GBY

IHS, Craig