There was once a time when I was in a dark place and blamed myself and my body for Scarlett being born early. I felt inadequate. Less than. Unworthy of being a mom because I couldn’t do the one thing a mother should do. Carry her child. I think as preemie moms, that guilt and shame changes and effects us all differently. As with anything else our journeys are unique and one-of-a-kind and we each walk away from it having learned something others did not. (This is true for parents in general – but I’m speaking from my own Preemie-hood experience.)
For me, the guilt and the shame hits me in waves and at different points in my journey. In the beginning it hit the hardest in the weeks before my daughter was born. As I lay in bed each day I struggled mentally and emotionally to accept the fact that my body was barely holding onto to the tiny life growing inside me. It took a lot of strength to be brave enough to face each day.
The next wave hit once we came home. Facebook and Instagram were flooded with pictures of all of my beautiful friends and family members, who were either pregnant and well on there way to meeting their due date (or in some cases past it & praying their baby would decided to finally make their appearance.) Or they had a full-term, beautiful, healthy, baby nestled safely in their arms.
When I saw these things it triggered feelings inside me that I am ashamed of having felt. Feelings that were completely valid and honest, but made me feel icky inside. I felt robbed of my pregnancy experience and to some extent jealous of the fact that I could not have that for myself. Because my body wasn’t as strong as other women’s and I wasn’t good enough. I questioned and second guessed my ability to raise a child based on the sole fact that I was unable to carry her to full term.
These are the lies I let myself believe.
I let my sadness and grief tear me down and trick me into thinking I wasn’t worthy.
But here’s the truth that took me so long to realize…
I AM ENOUGH.
I may not always do things “right”. I may not be able to give my child the moon & the stars. We may not always be dressed to the nines and on a “perfect” schedule. Some days we do ALL the things, and some days we do absolutely nothing.
And that’s okay.
There are times (even now) when I let the fact that we did NOTHING but lounge around the house all day, gnaw at my conscience and try to make me believe that I am a bad mom.
But I’m not.
When my child is upset and unsure of what to do with all of the big feelings she doesn’t understand – its me she comes to for comfort and reassurance.
When my child falls down and scraps her knee, or bumps her head – it’s my kisses that make it feel better.
When child figures out a new skill (i.e. how to climb on the kitchen table, or jump off the couch, or how to shake her little bottom) – it’s my attention she asks for to show off.
It’s all of the BIG milestones and the little moments in between, that reassure me that I am exactly who my child needs me to be.
Yes, as parents we all have off days and days we could have done things better or differently. But don’t let one bad day define your parenting abilities. We are only human and we are bound to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on ourselves. As long as we make an effort to SHOW UP and be a present as we can for out kids that’s really all that matters. We get so little time with them before they venture off on their own.
Thank you all so much for stopping by today. I hope that you remember to give yourself grace and be gentle with yourself. One day at a time.