Saturday, November 12, 2011

On Losing Confidence.

I worry a great deal about whether I am prepared to parent a living child. I have wanted children my entire life, I'm fairly certain my best girlfriends would point their fingers at me to say they always thought I'd have babies first. I'm the girl who named my babies with my high school boyfriend, and had a university boyfriend (fling?) offer to trade in his pick-up for a Volvo with car seats... I'd like to tell you I'm not weird, but likely I am, and likely the guys I always dated were too.  
And in the days of having Jack home, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. He was all mine. He was so cute. I would stare at him and trace his perfect nose, lips and chin with my finger tip, admiring the perfect little specimen we had created. And I knew he would be mine forever, which was incredibly hard to believe even though I'd had 9+ months to prepare for this realization.
And he will be mine forever, but never quite in the way I imagined. And I'm angry about this. Not only because he never had the chance to live his life, not only because I know his few short days must have been painful ones for him, but I'm also angry for the way I feel now.
I'm angry to have lost my confidence to be an amazing parent. I never doubted this before, was never a question in my mind Jack would have everything he could ever want, and I would get it for him. I'm so angry that I will never feel like I'm exactly where I should be again. I know when this baby gets here (please, oh please let him/her get here safely), my anxiety will be at an all-time high- I will question every decision, and in fact every single move I make. 
The thoughts which littered my mind before he arrived were those of cuddles, stinky diapers, walks in the stroller. In the days after him, I was consumed by figuring out where did this all went wrong? Why us? Why him? Now, I worry about what can I do to prevent history from repeating itself.
And I'm scared, because by becoming pregnant again I've made myself vulnerable to experiencing pain once again. Burning, searing pain. And I honestly don't know that I could do this again. Seriously. If I had to start this all over for a second time, I really don't think I have it in me to pull up my socks and try again. 
I don't have the confidence that I innately know what to do with a baby anymore, something I took for granted a year ago. Because in the words of my smarty-pants friend Brandy, it's almost as if I'm more prepared for what to do if this baby doesn't make it. Because that's the only outcome I've ever known.
I'm terrified to breastfeed, even though I was so looking forward to it with Jack. Ultimately, it was the breastfeeding complications which drew us to the hospital that cold January day and where this downward spiral which ending in losing Jack began. I hate that. Breastfeeding always carried such an attachment for me. I had hoped that we would be a natural pair at it, and I would feel like I was giving him everything he needed to be nourished. But now that relationship will always be love/hate. If it works better with this baby, why him/her, and why not Jack?
I've lost my instinct. I've lost my confidence. I've lost my baby. Where do I go from here? How do I ever attempt to get this back? How do I get my confidence back, and have faith this might all work out?


Kelly said...

Hugs to you. I feel the same way. I'm questioning everything I've ever done and feel no confidence in being a parent to a baby again.

B. Wilson said...

Lord, LJ. You aren't the only one. Not even close.

My confidence is nonexistent. It's supposed to be innate and before Andrew, I thought it was. I wasn't worried about owning every little gadget as I pride myself in being a clutter-free minimalist (except my unhealthy obsession with hoarding high-quality cleaning supplies). I didn't want 10 of everything and every little baby gadget on the market because as I understood things, women have been procreating successfully (!!!) without all the intervention or gadgets. The boob, warmth, love. Basically all the necessities were built-in and I felt prepared. I was sort of smug about this understanding, too.

Now, I basically want everything because I just never know what gadget will keep my kid alive or give him a better chance at living. I want bottled water only and will be anal retentive about hand sanitizer and people touching my child. I used to assume you could drag babies through the mud (well, not literally) and they were versatile and resilient. Hah. Then how is it that some die in utero from doing nothing wrong at all and others die like Jack who had health care, love, the boob, hope? Still resilient? For thousands of years, women would tell you they are. We're living proof that our fear is real and uninvited. For heaven sakes, strap-in carseats didn't even exist when we were babies. They were like buckets you just set on the seat! We have proof in pictures from E's childhood. No joke. He lived. Thrived. Soared.

Dreams are currently muddled with fear and I'm not sure when we'll be able to come up for air. I'm with you through this as I'm just as terrified in my own abilities to figure life out. Literally.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that you ever will, that any of us ever will. This "club" has taken away so much hope and confidence and left fear and pain at the forefront of almost every other moment of our days.

Having said that though, the beauty and love and joy is the pin of light at the end of a scary and traumatic tunnel.

Your a great mom LJ, to all of your kids. You don't need confidence when you have a natural instinct.


Tiffany said...

I'm with you guys too- BUT I know as soon as these babies get here (I know what you guys are thinking when I say this- but go with me...)you guys will jump into Mommy mode without batting an eye. You guys have been Mommies without babies- you have been loving and parenting your babies from afar. There will be complete fear and worry once these babies arrive. But every parent of a newborn (even experienced parents) are terrified of the small strange creature now in their complete care. You guys are already great mommies- and will continue to be awesome when these babies get here. It's gonna be hard and so scary- we will likely be the most over protective parents ever, but it's because we've been so hurt before and the thought of it happening again sadly seems more natural than a healthy baby. But I'll think you'll all agree that feeling this pain is better than never having a loved those tiny little people in the first place. You guys are going to be great- seriously.
PS- remind me of this in the future :) said...

I agree... your love for Jack and your future little one will show you the way and bring back the confidence and knowledge that you have within you as an amazing mum. Someone once said to me that the depth of our grief is a sign of our capacity to love... and it's helped me learn to trust my love again. You will be a wonderful mum and know what to do, when to do it and find joy in it again. Love to you always xoxo

Addi's mom said...

Like you and Brandy I worry that I am more prepared for another loss than an actual living breathing baby to take home. I also was confident in my parenting abilities pre-stillbirth. I KNEW I would be the calm cool collected mom who didn't sweat the small stuff and laughed at the "high maintenance moms" now I'll be one of them and I hate that! I never wanted to be a "helicopter" mom a d now I don't know how I won't be like that. Ugh. My whole life I wanted to be a mom much like you I had it all planned out and I'm so lost :(

Hope's Mama said...

Yep, this is exactly how it was for me too. Especially losing a first born I think, you just lose all of the confidence you thought you had. In some ways, even though I've managed to get two living babies now, I still feel like I don't have the confidence I might have once had. I still don't feel like a "normal" parent.
I also felt I didn't have the confidence or trust in myself to even get through the pregnancy. Hope died inside of me a week past her due date as I had no fluid left (never noticed I was leaking) and an infection got in. She got sick, I didn't. So how was I supposed to know if that was happening again, if I never knew the first time? It completely screwed with me for nine long months (twice over).
I was nodding along to every single word of this post.

Amy Lagerquist said...

I was thinking the same thing. We're not pregnant again yet, but even facing our next IUI cycle in December - using the same protocol that gave us the twins - brings me nearly to my knees with the exact same set of fears. I so don't want to be the kind of mom who over-shelters and obsesses about every little thing, but I fear our loss sets us up to do exactly that.

Brooke said...

Yes, I was so sure about all the research and decisions I was making, and nothing seems like enough. On the one hand, I feel like I should do MORE reading and MORE preparing and be absolutely reading for anything, on the other hand, I think that there's actually very little that is within my control. It's enough to leave me paralyzed. I have to say, though, the way you parented Jack when he was in your arms, and the way you continue to parent his memory and express your love for him gives me no doubt whatsoever that you're already a great mom, and you and your future McBabes will be so lucky to have each other.

Tiffany said...

i could have written this post (well most of it. i was the one that never wanted kids. Julius changed me forever on that one.)...

i'm freaking really. idk, what i'm going to do. and so i try to just take it one day at a time. before Julius was born, i was freaking about just being a mom. but when he got here, wow, it was the most natural transition i have ever made. we knew each other so well. we became so intuned with each other. he hardly ever cried. he knew i was there for him. he was happy, and loved, and he knew it.

now i'm nervous for another set of reasons. but i think that once our rainbows arrive. we will 1. do what is natural as far as parenting them, and 2. continue to take it 1 day at a time. that's really all we can do. we know the love that comes along with being parents to our amazing children, and unfortunately, we do know pain. we are terrified to ever feel that pain again. we are desperate to live a "normal" parenting life. and so we take the risk, the monumental risk to put our hearts on the line again. we take it one breath at a time, but we keep breathing.

know that you are not alone. like brandy said, "not even close."

SG said...

I was the "going to have kids first" one, too! And now I'm the bereaved mom, pregnant and freaking out, wondering when my heart will be broken again. I wish I had words of wisdom for both of us...

lissasue3 said...

I have no idea. I am living it, and I have no idea, For the most part this is my second ride with a newborn so some of it comes naturally and then I have freakouts. "does the skin around her lips look blue to you? Is she breathing weird? Is that normal?" I've already had times where I'm scared to sleep for fear that she'll just die. My confidence has been shredded but at the same time I believe that I have to accept the things I cannot change. I'd get no sleep otherwise, right? I can't stay awake all night every night to protect her from SIDS.

When the babe is born you'll do what you have to do to survive the day. Life with a newborn isn't easy and the adrenaline will get you through that first week. After that maybe some of that confidence will slowly come back. ((hugs))

Natasha said...

I completely understand all of this LJ- I feel so many of these things on a very regular basis {like daily}.

I've always wanted to be a mom, always. I've been so close and had it snatched away. And part of me can't help but wonder- why? And how am I going to do it when this baby gets here? What if I'm so paralyzed by my fear that I completely mess things up?

I'm like B- I have to read about and buy everything that I think will help to keep him "safe" because I just have to. And we clearly know that it's all about what I buy that that's going to keep him safe right? Yeah I wish that was all it took. I'm going to be a hand sanitizer freak and I am soooo paranoid about people touching him in the beginning. I think I'm going to lock the 3 of us in our house for a month and then *MAYBE* we'll come out for people to see.

It's like all the ease I felt before having Aiden about being a mom has been replaced with this weird unsureness about everything.

I can only hope it will be like Tiffany says- "you guys will jump into Mommy mode without batting an eye."

little vitu's mom said...

My confidence was so shaken when I delivered before time last time, and am left with little of it now. I know I will never get the confidence that I have lost again. Even if I go to have another baby successfully. Because now I know, terrible things can happen anytime. I will live with this fear in my heart for the rest of my life.

Rose said...

Hi, thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog about our little boy Trace. You are a wonderful mommy and you will be great with your new little baby. I am so excited for you!

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son...words fail me even though you would like I would have something good to say by now. I'm looking forward to following you on this new journey of yours.


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