Before I get started, I’ll just reiterate something I posted over on my Instagram this week. First and foremost, I am a Mother. I do health and fitness, I am not health and fitness. The only thing that I surely am, is a mother. So while this may not be the type of publication that many of you are interested in reading, I’m going to write about it anyway. My blog, my rules. And this one is important to me.. So, bare with me until the end, and you’ll see why I’ve decided to write this blog entry..
This week did not get off to the bright, motivational, enthusiastic start I usually aspire towards for a Monday morning. No, quite far from. In fact, I spent pretty much the entirety of my Monday being completely unproductive, bursting into sporadic bouts’ of tears, and feeling utterly useless.
Why? – Motherhood. That’s why.. I’m not complaining about it at all. Being a mother is the best job in the whole wide world, it really is. But, it is also the hardest.. Most days go by blissfully, with an air of accomplishment, a heart full of content, and all in all, a great sense of ease; we really have been blessed with such a good, beautiful, happy little soul. My husband and I, are constantly praising each other on our accomplishment of producing such a wonderful little person. ‘Look what we made’, ‘We made the best baby, didn’t we?’ .. She makes our world a better place. Hell, she is our world.. But some days are difficult. Not because she’s had a monstrosity of a tantrum, because we’ve put Daphne’s (the dogs) biscuits out of reach, or for the fact that I’m fairly sure I’d be able to wrestle Mike Tyson with more ease than it takes to dress or change her nappy at the moment, but for the days I doubt myself, and feel inadequate as a mother.. Mum guilt is the worst! (Ask any mother, and I’m sure she’ll agree.) Monday was possibly the lowest it has got for me in my days of being somebody’s mummy.
So, let me take you back to Sunday. All had been well. I was due to work a night shift that night, so we were all having a relatively lazy Sunday afternoon. I’d fallen asleep on the sofa, in preperation for my night ahead in work, whilst Rory was upstairs having her routine afternoon nap, and Trist watched re-runs of the weekends rugby. In a sleepy haze, I was aware of Rory stirring on the monitor. Trist had gone up to greet her from her slumber. 2 minutes later, (about 3pm) she was downstairs toddling around the front room, talking away to herself.. Just as I was coming to, from my own afternoon slumber, she crouched down into all fours, let out a little worried grunt, and proceeded to vomit. SO. MUCH. VOMIT. She stopped, looked up, burst into tears, and stared up at me with the most concerned little face. In that split second I was wide awake, leaping onto the carpet beside her, ready to wrap her into a cuddle, and provide reassurance, when she bought up another load, of milk combined with the spaghetti she’d had at lunch (..There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.. Couldn’t resist. Though it wasn’t ‘mom’s spaghetti’, but that of our good pal, Mr Heinz.) . Now, let me tell you something about myself; I am a chain spewer. Give me feaces any day, (I have worked in healthcare since the age of 18, so poop literally does not phase me) but puke? Nah. I’m out of there, or in a bathroom heaving my own guts up. The second the smell hits my nose, I am GONE.. People used to laugh and say, it’ll be different when it’s your own child. Which I obviously thought was ridiculous, and would scoff at. But how bloody right were they?! .. Here was my precious daughter, covered in an extraordinary amount of sick; I didn’t once wretch, I didn’t turn my nose up, I didn’t bat an eyelid(!), I just scooped up my covered, little love, and cradled her all the way up to the bathroom, where I ran her a bath. The very moment she’d looked up at me with those eyes full of fear, I knew there was no way I was letting her out of my sight until I knew she was okay. If I’d have gone into work that night, my head wouldn’t have been there, and I’d have just been consumed with worry, so I cancelled my shift, feeling the urgency to stay at home and nurse my little girl, back to health. (Yes, Daddy was there, but who doesn’t want their Mummy when they are sick?!) After her bath, she just lay there, no longer crying, but looking so very sad. She didn’t even put up a fight when I put her nappy on and slipped her into her new, super soft, unicorn pyjamas. (intended as a Christmas present, but these circumstances definitely called for the lovely fleecey two piece to come out of hiding early.) For the remainder of the afternoon, she slowly made her way around the lounge with her blanket, finding a spot to curl on in, and then lay there for a while, staring off into space, and looking really very sorry for herself indeed. That evening, we decided to skip her normal bedtime, and kept her snuggled-up downstairs with us. I kept having horrible visions of her being sick in her bed upstairs, and missing the sound on the monitor, so for our own peace of mind, she snuggled on the sofa with us, until she fell asleep, cosied into my chest. We substituted her milk for water to try to settle her stomach, and so far she hadn’t bought anything else up. Eventually at 9pm, I decided I’d try to put her down in her cot; She was getting restless on my not so cushioned chest, and would let out an unhappy little groan each time she moved and interrupted her snooze. Almost the second I put her down, she was snuggling into her favourite bunny toy, and sleepily closing her eyes. As much as I knew she’d get a good nights sleep in her own room, I wanted to be selfish and take her to bed with me, so she was close, and I’d be there if she needed me. But I didn’t. I left her to sleep, poking my head around her bedroom door every 10 minutes to check she was okay, until I eventually went to bed, and fell asleep myself, just after 1am.
Monday morning came, and we were not greeted by the normal happy little sounds of Rory testing her voice, but instead some very feeble sounding cries. I tiptoed in, to inspect, half expecting to find her swimming in puke, or poop, or both. But thankfully, she was not. What I was greeted by, were the sleepiest, saddest looking eyes, a ghostly white complexion, and teeny tiny little feet, like blocks of ice. It was 6am, and as the previous night had been late for her, we didn’t go straight downstairs, but instead went through to our bedroom, and placed her in between Trist and I, in our warm, cosy bed. Within 5 minutes, she was fast asleep. Trist got up shortly after, leaving us snug in bed, and headed off to work. Around 9am, Aurora awoke, letting out a few whimpers, but desperately snuggling in, her eyes barely open. Downstairs we nestled up in a mountain of fleece throws, and put on ‘Moana’. She had no interest in playing. She just lay cwtched into my side, looking helpless, and exhausted, not really taking in anything that was going on around her. She’d barely made a sound all morning, as if to cry would exhaust all the energy she had. Instead she drifted in and out of sleep, and sipped on her bottle of water now and then. By 10.00am I was very conscious of the fact she hadn’t eaten since yesterday, so I decided to toast a dry slice of fruit bread, and chop up a banana for her. I sat her on the floor of the lounge, whilst I did this, where she slumped onto her side, and snuggled a blanket. She remained like this, even after I returned from the kitchen, totally unphased by the plate of food I’d bought back for her. I picked up my floppy, suddenly very dependant little girl, and settled back down into the sofa, with her staring glossy eyed up at me. All that morning I umm’ed and err’ed about whether I should take her to the doctors or not. There was the voice of the worrier in me, telling me that this was something more serious than your typical sickness bug, how could a baby be this poorly from a simple sickness bug(?) and that I should even take her to A&E. However, it was pouring down outside, she was temporarily comfortable, snuggled into my arms, and it felt somewhat cruel to disrupt her further, take her out in the wind and rain, and sit waiting in the doctors waiting room for possibly an hour, (or several if I opted for a&e) to be told she had a bug, and I was overreacting. Plus she hadn’t actually been sick again. That was until 11am. She’d started showing interest in the banana, opening her mouth, waiting for me to deliver a slice, – it was pretty cute, the way she couldn’t bring herself to feee herself, so would just drop her jaw, and await the next segment, -and she seemed to be enjoying it. However, after piece number 5, she gurgled it all back up over the both of us, along with the water she’d been sipping that morning. So, up I got, baby in arms, and ventured upstairs to run a bath for the two of us. For the duration of the bath, she reassembled a koala bear, clinging onto me for dear life, whilst I washed the vomit off of her weak little body. We got out of the bath, I wrapped her in a towel on the bed, climbed into a baggy jumper and tracksuit bottoms, whilst helplessly watching on, as she lay there, not even attempting to move, staring off into space. This was when it hit me. It was too late too get a same day GP appointment now, and what if there was something seriously wrong here? Why hadn’t I called the GP. How could I be so stupid?! What had I done to my sweet little angel? Was it something I’d fed her? Was one of her bottles not properly clean? had she picked something up off the floor? There were a million scenarios running through my head, but they all came back to the same conclusion; this was my fault. The guilt was overwhelming, and her lost expression made every inch of my body ache, and before I knew it, I was perched on the edge of the bed, hunched over Rory, tears rolling off my face, and onto her body; pleading to her, ‘oh my baby, my poor little babba. I love you so much. I’m so sorry babba.’ I knew I had to pull myself together. Rory looked solemn enough without having the confusion of her mother crying on her. So I wiped my eyes, and slowly proceed to dress my limp little love, and once she were dressed, I snuggled her so closely. I couldn’t shake the doubt in my mind though, and decided I’d get my mother-in-law to come and see her. First for reassurance from a retired nurse, that I hadn’t actually broken my baby, and what we were experiencing was very normal for a child with D&V, but also because she’d offered to pick up some rehydration sachets, and it was playing on my mind that she’d had very little in the way of food and fluid over the past 20 hours. She came, and bought with her that reassurance I needed. And Rory even perked up enough to sit up on Mamgu’s lap for a cuddle, and munch on a cracker, during her visit. In total, she must have spent no more than 5 hours of the day awake, as if she just couldn’t bring herself to do the day; her body exhausted, and not knowing what was going on. We spent the day snuggled into one another, watching Disney films, sipping on water with rehydration treatment powdered into it (her, not me), and snoozing the day away. It was by far the laziest day I have had this year, but emotionally, it was absolutely exhausting. I was tired, and teasey, and worried, and stressed, and worried, and angry at myself, and really really worried.
That afternoon, around 5:30pm, Trist arrived home. By this point, I had layed out the blankets on the living room floor, and we were snuggled into a cosy mass; Aurora, Daphne, and I. He knelt down beside her, said a gentle ‘hello’, and kissed her on the forehead. To which the loveliest thing happened; she looked up at her daddy, through her glazed over eyes, and smiled, a big cheesy, meaningful, somewhat dopey, grin. It was the first time she had smiled all day. And now that I think upon it, maybe I should be jealous that she managed a smile for Daddy but not me, but in all honesty, I don’t mind- she smiled, and that was good enough for me..
For anyone who isn’t a parent, maybe this all sounds very dramatic, but for me, as I said at the start, it was one of the hardest days I have experienced during my time in the (mother)hood. Seeing your child suffering, and not being able to take the pain away, is heart breaking.. I think she’s perfected the sad little soul look, which obviously didn’t help my cause, (seriously, that girl is going to run rings around her father and I) but you’ll be glad to hear that yesterday, we had our happy, vibrant, ray on sunshine, back! Albeit, with some pretty hideous nappies, and a couple of small vomiting episodes, but keeping the vast majority of her food down, having rediscovered her appetite, and chatting away, smiling and once again, full of laughter. Hopefully, next time, I’m a little more prepared, and a little less dramatic. (Though I somehow doubt it. Haha.)
As mothers, I think it’s only natural to second guess a lot of things. We all want what is best for our babies. We want to see them happy, and we want to see them thrive. In a moment of panic, doubt, and worry, I managed to convince myself that I was to blame, and that I was a bad mum.. For what? For Rory doing what all kids do, and picking up some horrible bug? For not having a magic wand I could wave, and instantaneously make her better? For not knowing the exact cause of why she was poorly?.. Yup. How bloody ridiculous?!.. I know that now. I can see that now. Now that she’s bounced back, and is well on the mend. But like in so many instances in our lives, I was too hard on myself. I am not a bad mother. I’d go as far to say that motherhood is the only one thing in my life that I am very sure of myself being good at. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I only need to look at Rory, to see that I’m not a total utter disaster! She’s an absolute marvel! So, I decided to blog about this whole experience. Not so much to bore you, or gross you out with the details of the excrements of a sickly one year old, but to serve as a reminder. A reminder to myself, that I am not a bad mum. I spent the whole of Monday cuddling and comforting my baby girl, and when I think to the instances when I’ve been under the weather, all I have longed for, is a cuddle from my own mother. I was able to provide that for her, and I shall do so, as long as I live, bursting with pride, and full of love. There is not a thing I would not do to see that little girl smile, and keep her from harm. And for that very reason, I am not a bad mother. So a reminder to myself, and to anyone else who is doubting themselves; To that little person, YOU are their world. YOU are the most important thing to them. YOU matter, so much more than you even realise. And not only that, but YOU are doing a great job. Even if you are struggling, just remember, this little person is depending on you. Don’t let them down by putting yourself down. You’ve got this, Mama.
Lots of Love