Susanne Remic is a primary school teacher, freelance writer and parenting blogger. She writes at Ghostwritermummy and Maternity Matters and in between all of that she regularly wins mummy of the year awards for running around after her two children, aged six and 19 months. This is her pregnancy blog: an online diary of her third pregnancy as she strives to overcome two difficult births, one angel child and one awkward toddler. Join Susanne as she shares every step of her journey from bump to baby!
Room enough for three?
My son is struggling with a few things at the moment. Having just returned from a family holiday, he is more than a little bewildered about the apparent lack of people around him. We stayed with other family members, including cousins and I think he is wondering where they’ve gone all of a sudden.
Add to that the fact that both Daddy and Mummy have gone back to work, big sister spends her days at school once more and he is expected to settle into a new nursery... it isn’t good. He is really suffering with separation anxiety and tugging at my heart strings good and proper.
Leaving him at nursery is a job for those with steel hearts. Hearing his hysterical cries and shouts of 'No! Mummy! Mummy!' is just awful, particularly on the first day back when I would much rather stay at home with him than go to work anyway. This week I have seriously wondered whether my working is the right thing for our little family at the moment. Thoughts like this are bound to lead to other guilt-wracked thoughts, aren’t they? How will my son react when the baby arrives?
There is five years between my son and his sister. It was planned that way. The new baby is one of those surprise babies- no less wanted but much less planned. The age gap between my son and his sibling-to-be will be just over two years. I know others who have smaller age gaps, but they don’t have my son. They didn’t promise him the things I promised him all those months ago. They don’t feel such gut-wrenching guilt each time they wonder whether there really is room enough for three.
My son was around eight months old when I finally began to bond with him. His traumatic birth, fiery temper and difficult health conditions meant that the early days with him were hard. I moved through the days like a robot- changing nappies, feeding, tickling toes and singing songs. I did all of these things but I did not feel them. I did what was expected of me until I felt like I just couldn’t do any more.
My doctor diagnosed Post Natal Depression but it was more than that. I couldn’t forget his birth and the certainty I felt when I woke from the general anaesthetic, that this was NOT my baby. This was not the bundle of limbs that had been kicking me for months. This was not the baby I had dreamt of holding. This was not the baby that I had already fallen in love with. I wasn’t expecting this.
Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a tricky thing to get your head around. All births can be traumatic. Trauma is defined by a person’s response. The only positive thing at that time was that I recognised the symptoms in myself and I was no longer alone in feeling the way I did.
I fell in love with my son and we bonded eventually. I don’t know if I will ever forgive myself though. I wasted so much time wishing that my life was different, so I promised my son I would make that up to him. The problem is, can I still do that with a new baby? And what if things don’t go to plan this time too? How will I make it up to both of them?
I guess that I am not alone in wondering how I can expand my heart for another child. I suppose that I am lucky enough to know that if it has happened once, it can happen again. I can make room enough for three and I can still make sure my son has all he needs. It’s just that days like today, when he looks like he needs me so much, I wonder. I wonder if this pregnancy is the right thing for our little family. But that’s something only time will tell.