Someone on facebook linked to this blog post today and as I was reading it, I both totally understood and had feelings about it I couldn’t quite sort out.
In case you didn’t want to go read it the gist is that when you have a special needs child, you mourn not just the child that could have been, but the mother you could have/expected to be. And I totally get it, because … yes.
You see, I was going to be that MOM. Who takes her baby out on walks in the stroller. Goes to story time at the library. Mommy-and-me classes. We’d get the grocery shopping done, and all the errands, and the house would still be clean. We’d do crafts, and it’d potty train right at 2.5 years old, just in time for the next baby to come along and everything would be lovely.
Then came twins. You know how many times we went on a stroller walk? Twice. Once with help. Library? Never. Mommy-and-me classes was a no (one mommy, two babies). Grocery shopping? Nope, not until they were 3.5 and I was on bedrest so their dad took them. House clean? HA. Errands? Nope. We’ve gone to Target alone like 3 times in 5 years. We’re only now starting to do crafts. They’re finally potty trained only in the past couple of months.
It wasn’t special needs that stole the mommy I was going to be, precisely. The moment there were two heartbeats, I knew it was gone. I just didn’t know how profoundly gone it was – I thought we’d still do SOME of it! But no. We didn’t.
Because I got the double whammy of special needs on top. And it just took so much LONGER to do everything. The end of one feeding signalled the start of the next. There was vomit everywhere, all the time. Endless mounds of laundry that was so coated it would mold and mildew if we let it sit out at all. And I just … didn’t …. get to do any of it.
And it’s so STRANGE now to have a 100% normal baby. He’s just …. he’s perfect. He’s maybe ahead of the curve even. and it’s just … it’s weird. And it hurts in it’s own ways. It fucking HURTS to be putting him in the pants I just put away from D last spring, knowing by winter’s end they’ll be in the same size. The first time around you only “know” what you’re missing. This time I KNOW what I MISSED.
And in some ways I know this is “better” … I’m a different better person than I would have been.
But some days it makes me wish the other two didn’t exist, that this was my first. Because I COULD have been that mom. The other one. Who didn’t yell and cry all the time. Who didn’t obsess over every bite everyone took. Who was relaxed. And … that’s a shitty person to be, wishing that you could go back and do it over and make two of your kids not EXIST because you just want THIS ONE who’s so fucking normal it’s disgusting.
I don’t really MOURN the other mother so much as HATE HER. Hate her for not BEING. For making me look and feel like LESS because I couldn’t do it all in spite of it all. Hate her for being there behind me reminding me of all that we didn’t get to do. Hate how I see her in all those other mothers, knowing they can’t see her in me.
And I mean, this time, now, we’re able to do MOST of it. No, I don’t do the grocery shopping or run errands. It’s just not … sane, because now there are 3 and none of them are old enough really to not be TROUBLE. But we go OUT. They’re in a class. We do crafts and have dance parties and sing silly songs. The house is clean.
But I’m still not her. I never will be her. Because all that other stuff happened and changed me, the core of me. But she’s still the, the other mother, the could-have-been. And on hard days, she comes out and sits there, haunting, taunting.
And I mean it’s ok. I’m this whole other person now. Maybe it’s the person I was meant to be, truly. Maybe I was never supposed to be her. And someday I’ll get over that, like I’ve gotten over other things I wanted but wasn’t cut out for.
The hard season is almost over. Just a few more weeks. And then she can go back in her cave I hope and leave me alone to be me. Not perfect, but … me.