Count the Bad Mommies

Monday, June 30, 2008

It's All Been One Expensive Mistake

I have this theory, and it seems to pan out mostly. Unplanned pregnancies have an effect on the way you feel toward your child. Women who plan their pregnancies are grateful for them, switch automatically into mothering mode, and seem to relish their new role. I also think that the kind of birth you have, affects your relationship with your child.
Now my pregnancy was definitely unplanned and I never wanted to have children. Children, I thought, were far too much responsibility, far too much of a burden, and I was fine with being a single, career woman for the rest of my life.
One month after having moved out of home, and started my second degree, my boyfriend of two months took me to the doctor. We discovered I was pregnant. At first, abortion seemed like an option. But then I felt a little flutter in my uterus, and realised that there was someone in there. Someone I had created. I dont know whether it was hormones, or whether I had bonded with this little collection of cells, but I suddenly felt protective.
I couldn't picture having a procedure to flush this tiny person from my body. But at the same time I couldn't picture myself changing nappies and wiping snotty noses. But I insisted I was ready for this, and nothing anyone said could make me change my mind.
I was determined to have a natural birth, no drugs as I was told this was the best way to bond with your baby, as once he's out, the doctors put him straight to the breast. And you also apparently feel some sense of achievement at having achieved 'the miracle of natural birth'.
I never got my natural birth with no drugs. I had a c-section under general anaesthetic. The gaps in my spine weren't big enough for me to have an epidural. I awoke about an hour after the birth of my son. I wasn't present for the moment, and even though I have pictures of the event, I sometimes feel a bit excluded. Like I was the last person to see my baby, although I should have been one of the first.
I had no problem bonding with him in the artificial environment of the hospital, where there were nurses on hand to help me out when I felt overwhelmed. I stared at my sleeping baby for most of the time I was in hospital and was in love with this little red-faced squishy thing.
Eight months later when my baby only has eyes for me, and his face lights up when I walk in the room and he laughs and shrieks at the sound of my voice, I feel like a mother. When he cries, is sick, has made a really smelly nappy or is uninterested in his food, I feel like I was coerced into this mothering thing. When he refuses to sleep, play for a while by himself with some toys or doesn't want to know anything about his father and cries to return to his mother, I feel like it's all a little bit too much.
When I realise that I have 18 days until the deadline for my 10,000 word thesis I feel resentful that my baby wants so much of my attention that I cannot devote myself to my studies the way I used to. I call this 'The Accidental Mommy' syndrome. An intense love-hate phenomenon.
Every time he comes back from spending Saturday night at The Boyfriend's parents, I make a promise to him that I'll try my best to be a better mommy this week.
I'll try to be more patient, understanding, playful, and less resentful of sleep/study time lost.Right now I feel like a part-time mother or baby sitter. Biding my time until he has a nap or its bed time, so I can do what I want to do.
Perhaps one day when he opens his mouth and says 'mommy', I will actually feel like one. Until then, ever Sunday I make the promise.
I'll try harder to be a mommy.
I promise.


phillygirl said...

Wow, that's quite a hectic but honest to the core blog-post. It really is nice to read as a not-yet-mommy myself. Things you never think of until they're real sorta stuff, thanks :)

S E E Quine said...

` Wow. That's quite a story! Well, it seems you've done better than the teenage girls in my building who apparently have some kind of 'get pregnant so we can get more attention from our parents' club.
` Most of them do a decent job of physically taking care of their babies but they don't ever seem to play with them or give them much other attention. So, whenever I see a baby, I try to engage it with play and petting my amazing kitties who love to be petted.
` One of them, bless her, actually did breastfeed for a month. Why only a month? Because, she said, she wanted to start drinking again.
` Just last week, I heard one pregnant girl outside my window last week, saying begrudgingly; "God, now I have to work full time for my fucking baby!"
` Yeah, crazy, huh? So you're right, the reason for pregnancy really does affect the relationship you have with your baby.

Caroline said...

Although you may not feel like a good mommy (and we all have those moments) you are. I remember holding my daughter when she was first born...I cried (not tears of joy, but of fear). I was not ready to let go of my old life and step into the mommy shoes. Once I came to terms, it got much much better (not easier, better). It's a journey...

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Single parenting while finishing your education? You are a rock star.

Saying out loud what you're going to do makes it stronger, and more likely to happen - your son will be a great person because of your example.

Hang in there*blessings

The Alterpenguin Superdork said...

Thank you thank you thank you...
you are a [insert words i can no longer use] rockstar... all the things i feel but swallow quietly.
yes please.