I have a confession to make. And, it’s one that makes me feel like a failure as a mom.
It has taken me 18 months to feel comfortable spending prolonged amounts of time one-on-one time with my second-born.
Post-partum depression hit early and hard when Roarke was born. I can’t remember if I’ve written about when I knew…but it was earlier than I got meds for it that’s for damn sure.
I distinctly remember them putting him on my chest after he was born and looking at him and thinking, “Oh, he’s not as beautiful as Griffin was.” And, “When are they going to take him back and clean him up.” I sure didn’t feel the immediate attachment to him that I did Griffin.
This feeling carried through the next three weeks, with my head knowing damn-well that there was something wrong, but not sure how to express it without feeling like people would judge me or hold it against me.
And, the first three weeks were rough. Roarke was a fairly complacent baby from what I can remember, but he had awful reflux and a dairy intolerance. And when he was hungry? Lord, get that kid fed right away. One thing about reflux babies is that they eat because then it doesn’t hurt. Roarke would eat from 10 at night until 2 in the morning, I was exhausted by the cluster-feeding. I was losing it from hormones and lack of sleep and the fact this fucking kid wouldn’t take a motherfucking pacifier.
My lowest moment came during one of these cluster-feeding sagas. I had unlatched him for what seemed like the millionth time, and he started crying and squirming his way under the blankets on the bed. I thought (said?) “Just die already then.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I started crying and asked Nate to wake up, get a bottle, and feed him because, while I had no thoughts or intentions of hurting him, I also didn’t know that I could be trusted to take care of him the way he deserved.
Fast forward 18 months (or so). Roarke still prefers his daddy over me, which I understand, but when it came time to get tubes in his ears, and only one of us could go, it felt like it should be me. I’m the mom, right? I know the medical history of both families, of the boys, etc. Because the surgery would be in a town an hour away and he couldn’t eat before hand, we decided it’d be best if Roarke and I stayed overnight in a hotel the night before.
It wasn’t until we were on our way to Pierre that I realized that this was my first solo, overnight trip with my second-born. Our longest period where it was just the two of us. And anxiety started in.
Overall, the night went fine–except he didn’t want to sleep, he kicked me in the ribs, and headbutted my nose–I mean, he was only 18 months old, so what did I expect? The next day he was a trooper, even when his surgery was an hour and a half later than scheduled.
We survived. I made it. He made it. Little to no bloodshed, no fighting.
Yesterday, we had the month follow up for his tubes. I felt like I could enjoy him, enjoy our time together, a little more than I had previously.
I looked back at him on our drive to Pierre, and it struck me how vibrant this kid is. His personality is huge. He’s fearless and beautiful and strong. He hates being told no, loves who he loves fiercely, has a contagious laugh. He’s got a fiery, but short-lived temper.
He’s a leader…usually in a not so great way, but he’ll get there. Hopefully. He doesn’t talk very clearly, but he makes his points known. He loves loud music. He terrorizes the dog. Takes forever to warm up to people, but when he does? All eyes on him, please. He blows kisses like a pageant queen, and glares with a ferocity that would be intimidating if I didn’t know he inherited it from me.
He’s perfect. And mine. And so me it hurts sometimes. He’s stubborn, relentless, and gloriously confident.
I don’t know that I could appreciate Roarke for all he is today if I hadn’t had the moments of unappreciative, angry, sad, hormonally-fueled heartbreak early on.
I do know that I’m glad he’s mine, and I wouldn’t give up any of the last 18 months. Not the tears, not the diagnosis-his and mine-not the screaming, none of it. I would argue that those moments made the sweet moments now: the kisses and “bye bye, luw you!” that much sweeter.