A Mother's love
Monday, 26 November 2018 | Mummy and Little Me
To my second child, I am sorry you don’t get all of me,
I often look at you and feel guilty.
Guilty that you perhaps don't get what you should from me, that you don’t get all of me.
Let's start of by saying I love you from the bottom of my heart, I will do anything to keep you safe, happy and loved.
But I have found it hard.
It wasn't your fault, nothing you ever did wrong but I found it so hard to give you all of me.
The second child
With your brother being ill when he was born, I was protective, you were the second child.
He was at the centre of my world, we went through so much with him, we had a very different relationship and journey to what me and you have had.
I put a lot into him and I still do each and every day for him to have a normal life, to do everything he wants to never feel as though he is different.
I sometimes wonder if I put as much into you and if we are honest, I probably don't.
I don't worry about you as much, I don't wonder what you are up to when you're not with me as much as I should because I have never had to worry.
I worry I leave you behind.
I love your brother fiercely, he needs a lot of me and I worry you will always feel second best.
That you will begin to resent us, the situation we find ourselves in.
You are never second best.
It took me a long time to enjoy you, to want to spend time with you but that wasn't you it was me.
Having an ill baby who nearly died, compared to a straight forward uncomplicated one threw up so many unresolved feelings.
I fell into a darkness, one that consumed me for months.
Feelings that were there from before you arrived, came to haunt me once again.
You didn't get the best of me, you didn’t get all of me and I took it out on you.
Those first few weeks were hard, your dad took the lead and it made it worse that I could see you favouring him.
You wanted him, cried when he left and asked for him, I felt it was my fault you felt this way about me.
When it was just you and me, I felt lost.
I wanted to be a better mother to you, I wanted you to know I felt the same way about you as I do your brother, but it is different.
You were so simple, your birth, your health it was just so normal.
I didn’t understand how I could be a ‘normal’ mum, I struggled with the role reversal.
The transition from being a mum of one to two was a steep learning curve.
Perhaps deep down I was still waiting for something to go wrong, that I would experience that fear and hurt again like we did with Elijah so I kept you at arm’s length.
That I didn’t dare bond in case I would have to prepare myself for the fact that you might not make it.
You got hand me downs, you didn’t get as many new toys as we already had them.
Truth be told we spoilt Elijah, it was a coping mechanism, we tried to make up what he had been through, both is us shouldering some sort of blame that it was our fault.
We over compensated, but we knew you didn’t need all of this ‘stuff’.
You enjoyed playing with your brother’s toys or my hairbrush.
I didn’t take you to baby classes, I didn’t do as much with you and we rarely got much time together.
I blame myself for not giving you all of me, but with your brother, work, life and everything in between it felt there wasn’t barely anything left to give.
I shut us away, I hid away, I couldn’t face taking you both out at the same time, anxiety crippled me.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on ‘mum life’, but when you arrived it was if the last three years had been wiped and I suddenly I didn’t know what I was doing.
When you didn’t sleep through by the time Elijah had, when you walked and talked early and suffered from being apart from us, I was overwhelmed.
You were so different, I found our journey so much harder and I felt as though I was a terrible mother to you.
I fed you, hugged you when you cried, celebrated when you achieved your milestones, took photos of us where looking back we look happy, but there was still a degree of detachment.
For a long time it felt as though I was on auto pilot not fully reacting to the situation.
I became convinced that there was something wrong with me, that it shouldn’t be like this.
It should be automatic, it felt like we fell into a routine and more and more time went on I struggled with our relationship.
A mother’s love
I felt as though I turned into the person I also feared, my mother.
One who resented me, who didn’t show me any love who put me last over my brother’s and who caused me lifelong problems.
Then something changed, it felt as though I could finally let go and enjoy you.
I wanted to spend time with you, I began to enjoy your company and it finally felt as though we bonded.
You are now sixteen months, but it feels as though we understand one another.
It is still hard, of course it is, and I still worry you didn’t get all of me, like your brother did.
You are so funny, and I can see you becoming such a character, you do so much more now and that has made it easier.
I know you won’t remember this time, and I never want you to feel as though you did anything wrong.
None of this was your fault, it was all me, but it doesn’t mean I love you any less.
The days are long, busy, messy there is so much going on I feel as though because you are the youngest you are always on the side lines.
It took me a long time to figure out how to be a mum of two, and when you are old enough to read this, I want you to understand something.
That you are loved, so loved and I will forever make it up to you for missing out on these first months and not giving you all of me.
From now on, you both have all of me.
Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog, founded and runs The NICU Parent Partnership Organisation and co-hosts @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club.. You can contact her via her blog or social media;