Tuesday, July 7

Some thoughts on being a MOTHER...

Such an awesome repsonsibility. You become a "Mother".

You are assumed to be, all mother, all nurturing, all seeing, all understanding, all wise, ... all of a sudden!

The reality is, you are terrified, the first time this small being is thrust into your arms.

Or you demand to have the small being thrust into your arms. Because, often, back in the day, you were not given that little bundle of being, to hold or contemplate.

'It' was often whisked away, presumably, for your 'own good'.
'It' may have been returned, bloody still, or swaddled, tightly, or simply swept away, while you were told it had to be put into the incubator, or - even worse- intensive care.
Which would seem to indicate you were a monster of a mother, because your baby required 'extras'.
Therefore you were a failure, right from the beginning.

Luckily for me, I was never subjected to that, although, the birth of my daughter, (my last child) was a somewhat fraught affair, with no theatre available for her delivery. She was in fact, delivered in a side Labour Room, with no pain relief, & b*gger all attendants.

Almost 16 days late, & after 3 false alarms.
She began to cry, long before her body appeared. The Doctor declared, that whatever 'it' was, 'it' had a good set of lungs, when the little head appeared, & wailed loudly, in protest. When she was finally all present, she was being whisked away, being hidden from me. I demanded to hold her, & on inspecting her, I found a small 'oddity' beside an ear. Of course, I was dreadfully upset. She was my longed for daughter. I felt she was perfect. But what about???....

I was assured, it was nothing, a minor 'extra'. Easily fixed.

Of course, I felt a failure. I was so torn about the 'extra'. Which, really was nothing, a small extra easily removed when she was 11 months old, & no scar, & no damage.

But I still racked my brain, as to what I could have done to 'cause' the extra. I was assured over & over, it was nothing I had done or 'caused'.

It was around the Thalidamide scandal. I had avoided all drugs, during pregnancy. I refused all medications. I was lucky in that my only sickness, was tea (yes the drink, plain old Indian Tea) induced, & once I had eliminated drinking tea, from my diet, I never suffered again.

When I was about 13 or 14, that beastly age, where you hate your parents with a passion, for good reason, or not I contemplated my childish wounds.
I decided my mother had not 'Taken Good Care Of Me'.

I had suffered a trapped & torn ankle due to it's being caught in the spokes of her bicycle. I still have the scar to this day.
My Mother had to cycle to the local village for supplies, & her bike had a wooden seat fitted to the back of the cycle. I was duly strapped into the seat & taken along. I remember most vividly the wild roses & the Honey suckle vines that grew in the banks along the country road to the village.

I don't, however, remember the actual tearing of my ankle.

Then, she left me with a neighbour, who had a son younger than I. The neighbour was a very nice & kind young woman, as near as I can remember, but once, I rode the beautiful Rocking Horse she had, & fell, & cut my lower lip, my two lower teeth piercing the flesh, beneath my lip, a scar which also remains to this day.

I was then convinced I must be a 'clumsy child'. I had reinforcements to that effect, with remarks. I do remember crying, because I could not close my mouth to eat my tea. A dim memory of my father being very kind about the cut lip.

I later, -or earlier??- had a finger shut in a car door, almost severing the top of my ring finger on my left hand. My fault, I was told, because I left my finger in the wrong place. OMG, the damned pain from arthritis is ghastly today!

A following, hideous rip, to the middle finger of my right hand, which needed stitching, but was never given any treatment beyond a ratty bandage by an impatient Doctor, who was closing his surgery. Sad but true. Not my mother's fault.
But of course, in teenage bitchery, I blamed her.

I am ashamed now, to admit I accused her of "Not looking after me! Not taking care of me!"

When my own children came along, the inevitable accidents happened.
My son drank turpentine, under my nose as he climbed up, & grabbed the container. How guilty did I feel over that! Rotten mother!!

My son's finger cut off at the top joint. Being told it would be amputated. Absolute horror.
It was saved, & a skin graft avoided, but I remembered my mother, & how accusatory I had been.

My daughter landed on a glass, cutting her foot really badly. We rushed her to hospital for emergency treatment. Five years later she was having an operation to remove glass from her foot. Guilt.

My daughter broke her thumb, when a window crashed onto her hand. The sashing had rotted & she sat screaming until she managed to free herself. Guilt. We had not heard her, then the Hospital set it incorrectly! Bastards. Guilt, even though it was not my fault.

I look at my daughter today. I think the midadventures of her daughter were nowhere near as prolific. I think she has been a good mother. To both her children.

Our children have had other mishaps, accidents, in the long years since. Somehow we never stop feeling resposible. We never stop feeling, "Did we take Proper Care"??

I think at the end of the day, I can say, "I did it all to the best of my ability."
Who can do more.

We have had our aircon serviced. Yay!! we have warm air!! How good it feels after the cold days we have been having.
Who knows, tomorrow I may be sewing again!!


Molly said...

Oh Meggie! We've all been there, so arrogant in our know-it-all youth! I still cringe when I remember how, in a letter to my sister, I scathingly referred to our mother as OM. My mother found the letter and read it, though it wasn't addressed to her---a whole 'nother kettle of fish---but I can only imagine the hurt she felt. Wisdom, and compassion for our parents and their struggles, which were as real and valid as our own, comes slowly to some of us, often kick started by having children of our own. I'd give anything to be able to go back and un-write those cruel words......

Catalyst said...

Guilt does nobody any good.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Most mothers try to do the best for their children. I know mine did. I wish she had done some things differently but she did what she thought was best and I turned out OK.

I hope I am doing a good job with my children.

I think with regard to the accidents - it is a mother's job to let her children have freedom and fun and experience and learn and inevitably there will be mishaps along the way. I think that children who never have accidents are those who are kept closeted inside and never allowed freedom - not sure that is good mothering really.

Grandma Linda's Attic said...

Tues, July 7, 2009

Do you know how much of a relief it is to read exactly how I've felt from another Mom? I have felt the same way over the years as the mom of an awesomely incredible, awesomely smart, awesomely gorgeous son who has been through more hell than any child should have to cope with. Not because I didn't do the best I knew how, not because I didn't try as hard as I knew how, but because so many others failed both of us. Not right. Not fair. Not my fault, but man oh man have I shouldered the guilt! Still do.

Did I really try to stop some stuff as hard as I knew how? Did I really try as hard as I knew how to get out of a bad marriage? And what if I had done so sooner? But then, what if God had answered all my prayers and gotten some of these idiots -- including a rotten mate --- dead when I begged? All the "what ifs".

It really is comforting to know that others have felt the same over less, over more, and over the same, and that we really aren't alone in what we feel.

God bless you!
Grandma's Treasure Box

Marja said...

Oh you remind me of the many worries guilt feelings The deep compassion you have for your children and than in return as they become teenagers they tell you what you all do and did wrong.
Luckily my kids are not as bad as I was My poor mum

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I have come to the conclusion that all mothers feel guilty at some point. Deserved or not.

~Bren~ said...

I live with horrible guilt everyday! I took prescription Ibuprofen during the first weeks of my 1st pregnancy unaware I was pregnant. My son was born with a cleft lip and palate...which is due to folic acid deficiency, which can be caused by ibuprofen (it causes cleft lip in rats) AND then the next one, I did not damage until AFTER birth when he got a pertussis vaccination which happened to be a BAD lot...he seizured 100 times a day for 12 years and is now mentally handicapped!!! THEN I QUIT! But still I ended up with 2 more children damaged by a womans inability to parent. Guilt...yes I know it well!

lovelyprism said...

It's never ending. The second guessing, the guilt over the fact that those beautiful little beings don't come with a manual and if they did you wouldn't have time to read it. If you do your best, that's all you can do.

Alice said...

Is it just the curse of motherhood that makes us look back at all the things we would have done differently, if only we had that elusive helper, HINDSIGHT?

I think we all try and do the best we can at the time, with what we have, and what we know. Mishaps can also be great educators. ie. don't touch the hot stove - it will burn you; be careful with sharp knives - they may cut you, etc.

I'm sure you are a great mother, grandmother, wife, and friend to many, Meggie.

The Sagittarian said...

Fantastic post. One of my daughter's went to a birthday party and ended up breaking her arm on a flying fox. I felt terrible, but luckily I could also "blame" the other mother for letting it happen! You sound like you are a fab mother, Meggie.

Anonymous said...

Such a thoughtful and insightful post. I really enjoyed seeing 'inside' another peron's mothering. Thank you!

Pauline said...

Ah, Meggie - I think guilt used as a kick start to improve behavior is helpful. When it's used as a whip, it's harmful. When the inevitable questions and associated guilt arise about things I've done in the past, I make myself ask if I'm willing to learn from the experience and let go or if I'm entertaining the idea of martyrdom. (And noting the awfulness of martyrdom, I usually opt for letting go ;)

Selina Kingston said...

SORRY?? 16 days late ?!

julieQ said...

Maybe guilt is a part of motherhood...happens to us all.

Christine Thresh said...

I remember the time my son Robbie slipped in the bathtub. I reached to grab him and accidentally hit him in the eye with my elbow.
The next day we were shopping in a grocery store and he was sitting in the seat in the cart. He had a big black eye. A woman asked him, "What happened to you?"
He answered, "My mother hit me."

philly5113 said...

Yes motherhood is an awesomme task. I remember my Ob came in to see me after I got cleaned up and went to my room in the hospital, about 3 hours after the delivery of my first child. He looked at me and aske "how does it feel to be somebody's mother?" I didnt know how to answer that questions but I do remember thinking what a responsibility.
We all want what's best and want to cushion all of the hurts that are inevitable in growing up and some just in living. Guilt naturally sets in when we think we could have done more, which is not always the case. As you see, it goes up and down the chain of motherhood.
Hopefully you and Your Mom can have a laugh on each other. My Mom certainly does with us.

Stomper Girl said...

Ah guilt and motherhood, it's a match made in hell. I hope my kids will grow up to think kindly of their parents!