Friday, 4 May 2018

MOTHERHOOD: Pushing My Daughter Away

MOTHERHOOD: Pushing My Daughter Away
Around one year ago I was saying my goodbyes to everyone at work, washing teeny tiny baby clothes in readiness for our new arrival and then waiting very patiently for the birth our of second daughter. After keeping us waiting for 12 days after her due date I was finally induced on the Wednesday and gave birth a matter of hours later. It was magical, empowering and fast (we hadn't even got the baby bag out of the car!), which was then followed with the blur of those early newborn days. Fast forward to now and after a full year of maternity leave I'm preparing for my impending return to work. My return isn't for long (you can read all about my plans for returning to work here), though that doesn't mean I'm not intimidated and anxious about it all. Any change can be scary and this one will impact on our whole family. 


The aspect of returning to work I've found especially hard this time is having to essentially push my daughter away; it's breaking my heart. Due to Poppy being so late I had already been off for six weeks before she entered the world, which has resulted in her having to go to nursery considerably younger than Isabella was. This brings me so much guilt, despite the fact I know she'll be fine and that many other babies go to nursery a lot younger. I guess it's just that Isabella was one by the time she went to nursery and I feel so guilty that I can't be at home with Poppy until she's one too. 

There are so many milestones on the approach to turning one, including taking their first steps, saying their first words and learning new tricks all the time. The thought that someone else will witness those 'firsts' also breaks my heart and brings yet more guilt. I saw all of those with Isabella, but what if I miss them with Poppy? Deep down I know it makes absolutely no difference to her whether I'm there, her Dad is or it's a room full of other children at nursery, but to me it matters. 
For the month or so I've been reluctantly having to push Poppy away - stop breastfeeding her as much during the day, sleep train her so she can go to sleep herself at nursery and send her in for settling in sessions. All of this has really taken its toll on my, emotionally. It doesn't feel natural to push your child away and the fact that I really don't want to only makes it more difficult. Stopping breastfeeding on demand is a bit of a mixed one; sometimes I think it will be nice to have my body back during the day (I still plan to feed her in the morning/night), yet other times I just miss having to stop with my baby during such busy days. Feeding times are our bonding time, 1:1. They're calm, close and the only real cuddles I get now she's crawling around so much. Gradually reducing those moments has been tough and I'm still mourning our day feeds, but it had to be done and that's the thing that stings. I didn't want to; I had to. 

When it came to sleep training it was again something that I felt had been taken out of my hands. After months of waking up every two hours or so we were all exhausted, Poppy included. It worried me that she took so much comforting to get back to sleep, she had stopped responding to my husband's attempts and she had dropped one of her daytime naps resulting in such a tired baby. The week before she started her nursery settling in sessions I decided that something had to change because how was she ever going to sleep at nursery? I did quite a bit of research and settled on our own twist of sleep training (which I will write a blog post about at some point). The first night was hard emotionally, but long story short after four days she was sleeping through the night and has done ever since (it's only been about two weeks when I write this). She can now settle herself to sleep and doesn't spend hours getting wound up during the night anymore. I know this is a positive change for everyone, but it doesn't mean I don't miss the night time cuddles/feeds desperately. 

I think it's the accumulation of everything happening in the space of a few weeks that has really meant it has impacted on me emotionally. I've cried a far few tears, my heart pines for those moments just Poppy and I, yet she's thriving. After a wobbly start at nursery she is now doing really well, which is good but I'm sure most parents out there will understand when I say that it does sadden me. She doesn't just need me anymore and that is something I need to get used to I guess. 

If you're a parent, which milestones did you find the hardest to deal with emotionally?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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13 comments

  1. <3 <3 <3
    It is never easy for mothers. Staying at home with kids- you get to see the 'firsts', but you struggle financially and you are overworked. When you return to work, you miss out on the precious moments, but you are getting paid, making career and have a break from looking after the baby. no matter what we do, we pay a high price for it. It sucks!

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  2. I can't imagine what it must be like as a working mum to feel that guilt and the emotions of it all. As a stay at home mum I may see the milestones however it can be so hard financially on us and so I have that guilt instead.

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  3. My mummy found going back to work and stopping breastfeeding the hardest. Nursery was actually a blessing and I flourish. It’s hard when you want to hold onto them as babies forever x

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  4. I am not a parent yet so I can only sympathise with you lovely, I am sure it is not easy to push your child away and the mummy guilt must be up in volts.

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  5. I can imagine the guilt you will feel going back to work. I didn’t go back to my old job after having my kids so I saw all the firsts but I struggled in other ways.

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  6. This sounds really tough and not something I have experienced yet. It sounds like you have been really thoughtful in getting yourself and Poppy ready for the changes. Best of luck for it all.

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  7. I always found stopping breatsfeeding was one of the hardest ones to let go of, but getting some independance back is good for us mums!!

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  8. I have found mine going to school the hardest, they just suddenly grew up so much. However it was lovely to see them growing into the person they are. I hope work goes OK and you can quickly settle into your new routine

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  9. It is so hard leaving them, but I'm sure she will be fine once you both get into the swing of it. Also I'm sure if any of those big moments do happen, they will record them, or she may just wait for Mummy to see them.

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  10. I tried going back to work part-time after our first daughter was born, but very quickly realised my place was with her. I can't imagine missing a moment.

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  11. I was so lucky to have been able to stay at home with both my children, I know I would have felt exactly how you do. You know what's best for your family though, and I'm sure you will find other ways to make the most of the time you have together.

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  12. Oh I can't imagine how tough that was, I was very lucky to stay at home while they were small. You just have to do what's right for your family. xx

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