Confessions

As you will recall a few months ago, I described a period of our parenthood that was very difficult. There were times when I was not sure if would ever get through it.
I have to admit in all honesty that there were moments when the thoughts I had, now in the clear light of day, fill me with horror. It is odd how stress and sleep deprivation can affect your mind.
I will apologise now to my son Theo, should he ever find this blog when he is older. I hope that you understand you were constantly loved during the time I will describe, and understand that we were just trying to do our best. Maybe one day you will appreciate yourself how much those initial weeks of being a dad take it out on you.
As I remember, we would have been back in our own home for only a few days. As you know, we were having problems with feeding and didn’t know how to get over the issues we were facing. My wife Willy was still recovering herself and we both were not really confident at all. The day that will forever be clear in my mind was when Willy began crying while we changed his nappy. Theo was already crying at this point, and I was faced with my family falling apart before my eyes. I said to Willy, with tears in my eyes: “I can’t do this by myself”. Meaning I can’t look after Theo and my wife, I need her to pull herself together. This she did for a while. But we still felt helpless and hopeless.
And at this point my mind wanders. I clearly think to myself that we cannot do this – we are not fit parents – why did we think we would be – we are not going to be able to continue like this – we are not going to be able to properly raise our son – there are people more qualified than us who should be doing this.
I seriously consider in these mere moments – literally seconds – that the only sensible thing to do is to give Theo to Social Services, for adoption. That thought fills me with dread, but more due to the fact that family and friends would be asking where our son was, and seeing us as absolute failures… I even considered having to give everyone back the presents they had given to Theo, and the embarrassment that would cause us. My mind then moved on from that to consider that we should never have done this, that I wished we could go back in time and prevent the whole situation ever happening. I actually wished to not have my son: for him to have never been born. Obviously I wanted no harm to come to him, but believed that he would be better without us as parents, and we could just go back to our simple and uncomplicated life before. Everyone’s a winner.
It just seemed for a couple of weeks that no matter what we did, we could not make our baby happy. I am sure this is not actually the case, as there are many photographs of him content (admittedly these pictures are of him asleep), and Theo did fall asleep in either Willy’s arms, or mine every day; so we must have done something right. Still, I never felt in control and believed that this feeling would never change. During moments of quiet in the house I would relax a little, but then when there was a cry in the house, my whole stomach turned over. I don’t think we properly ate for a month: I recommend this as the best/worst diet in the world – my weight dropped off me: a stone in a fortnight.
Days later when I had collected my thoughts, I empathised with those that gave up their kids for adoption and understood their mindset when that decision was made: you really do think you are doing what’s best for your baby, and that you are unfit parents. To a point, I understood those that leave their babies outside to be found by anyone passing by, or just left to die; it is an utterly desperate moment for the mother. I even peered into a dark corner of my brain that holds the anger that can be so easily expressed against the small noisy bundle… by that I mean I can see where that anger comes from but cannot understand the lack of control that allows it out. Even on my most tired and hopeless of days, I could never imagine causing harm to Theo. But I totally appreciate those without control can lose it in an instant. Truly, very scary.
Clearly we have managed to continue being decent parents, but a day does not go by that I don’t remember my thoughts here and strive to be a better dad. I also treasure every second I have with my boy and bless the time we are together. I look towards our future with joy and excitement, and cannot now imagine life without him or remember a time before him.

Advertisements

Perfect, or not imperfect

I remember clearly the first second Theo was born. In that brief moment that the mid-wife held him before he was passed to his mum, I checked him from top to bottom, scanning every millimetre of his body for imperfections.
At the time I was unconsciously making sure he was fit and well, but thinking now, I was also checking to see if he was going to have to suffer future humiliation carrying a disability. Part of me also admits with embarrassment that I didn’t want him to be anything but perfect so he din’t reflect badly on me.
That thought makes me cringe now. I do not want to be the sort of person who makes those sorts of judgments, but unconsciously, there it is, I am.
I now know, that it wouldn’t have mattered whether Theo had a disability, I would not have loved him any less. And maybe there would have been more challenges for us, but I hope we would have met them stronger than I was at the time I first set eyes on him.
I guess the truth is there is no ‘perfect’, but the most we can wish for is being not imperfect: and that is a very subjective thing.

If you would like to read a blog showing a dad with real strength, please go here:

http://www.baby.co.uk/mum_stories/is-my-son-disabled/