Three big feelings: Anxiety, Anger, Guilt
13March21 NOTE: I had originally published this article 1March21. It was incomplete, and once I realized it, I restored the complete version. Oops!
It’s been four months since Mon Amour (MA) arrived safely into our arms. Four months. I can’t believe it. We are truly blessed to have him. And yet, I feel like a completely different mother than I was with Mon Cœur (MC) as a newborn. And I know, deep down, that a lot of these lingering anxieties and other big feelings that I’m having all circle back to Millie and what once was, what isn’t now and what will never be.
Ever since his safe arrival into our world, I have felt a little bit overprotective, a bit jumpy at any little thing.
He’s asleep, peacefully in his swing. I have to go over and check that he’s breathing.
He was drooling, congested, coughing, and sneezing – perfectly normal infant reflexes. Is he ill?
Driving down the road, he’s coughing – again, completely normal newborn reflex. Then it gets quiet. I begin to silently loose my cool. I ask, “MC, is MA asleep?”
“Okay…what color are his lips?”
Who asks these questions? What has happened to me?
He has 10 green dirty diapers one day, then doesn’t have any for five days. FIVE days. What is wrong?
And although all of the above is considered normal, it was different from MC’s infancy (or what I can remember), and I have this nagging fear of losing MA. Now that he is four months old and a stout little man, I don’t feel the anxiety as regularly.
Even though we have MA, I still fight with feelings of anger and confusion over Millie. When I am told I “have three children and that’s enough” – they don’t see my heart that’s broken and the love that I want to share with my three but there are only two with me – and I want to scream. I know what my heart wants, although it’s too early to make any decisions. Yes, I have three and I should be grateful for what I have.
What we planned – three kids, and what we have- two kids here with us and one we carry in our hearts, are two very different things. To people we know, they know we have three, and we remember Millie together in our conversations.
To those I’m just meeting, they see two, they think two, they ask the obvious, and I have determined to be honest. I tell people I have three, “even though you only see two.”
But our three and actually raising three children are very different. We will raise two and be grateful for that, yet we will always have a sadness that lingers like a shadow for not being able to watch Millie grow along with MC and MA.
Read more about these conflicting feelings in a previous blog post.
When I loose my patience or feel overwhelmed with MC and MA, I get angry because I feel like less of a mother. Maybe I can’t handle three, maybe I didn’t deserve three. When I spend too much time trying to build content for the blog, and not enough time playing or reading or doing with MC and MA, I feel angry and guilty.
I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt sometimes. Guilt for not reading enough to MA, not playing enough with him, not spending enough one on one time with MC, not saying the perfect thing, telling MC a whole list of things that “We can’t do because of MA.” We are all human, and sometimes it takes a near drowning in this feeling to remember we are all human.
I think the strongest guilt I feel is perhaps when I am trying to capture a picture or a video of an activity we are doing, so that I may share it. Sometimes I feel I am in front of my device(s) more than I am present with the kids, all for the sake of sharing in a post, and that does not sit well with me. I am still struggling to find a balance in living our best life and how to document and share what is most relevant to my small, but growing reader base.
Even though I sometimes feel anger and bitterness about not having Millie, I feel so lucky, so blessed to have MA. I also have chosen rationalize our tragedy by believing that Millie was meant to comfort my Dad…
…If people need comfort in Heaven. Do they? I wouldn’t believe so, based on the advertisement of the place, it sounds like a utopia all the time…but…perhaps.
Whenever people see MC and MA, they wonder aloud “Are they always this….happy, content, good (or insert any other positive child attribute here)?” And I always say that we hit the baby lottery. We did. MC and MA are pretty perfect. MA has coos that will put hearts in my eyes and make me weak in the knees. MC makes observations that make me laugh until I cry and that melt my heart. When I hear her playing with Chou chou in the early mornings and I hear her playful squealing as they roll and tumble, I think this is the life. Despite not having Millie with us, we really are blessed to have MC and MA and a whole village of people that love and care for us.
The other day, the yard had dried out enough for us to throw on our boots and slosh, slop our way through Millie’s garden in search of signs for spring. We were not disappointed.
Our daffodils, narcissus, and tulips are all peeking up out of the ground. The phlox are spreading slowly and even flowering intermittently. The camellias are resting, they bloomed all through winter for us. Our sedum is creeping, crawling, spreading. Many had warned that in our zone a gardenia would not survive, we have been lucky – it seems to be doing well, despite the ice and snow our region has had this winter.
I am looking forward to Spring’s arrival and walking the garden, watching life return to it, and playing and picnicking with MC and MA on warmer, drier days.
For previous garden updates, check out the links below:
- You can read about our Summer updates here;
- Spring and summer additions here;
- Our nursery haul here;
- December additions here;
- Fall additions here;
- The end of week one progress here;
- Check out the grotto in progress here;
- Read about the chopping of our cherry tree here;
- And see what we started with in our before pictures here.