I’m sorry I’ve been absent from blog world for a while - long enough, in fact to have almost built a baby. I’m now 31 weeks pregnant and whilst constructing fingernails, eyelashes etc out of After Eights and tinned rice pudding, I’ve composed many blog entries in my brain. I’ve just decided not to write them because all of them were dismally dark. I started to worry that this blog would make people more depressed rather than helping them with their depression. I also started to worry that it was becoming one huge whinge...and also that people who know me and read it would find it eye-rollingly self-pitying. So, I’ve kept quiet. I’m not sure I should’ve. I think I should have just written it all down..because now it’s all piling up inside my head and keeps splurging out in inappropriate places and on inappropriate people - the extremely alpha builders who are decapitating my house, for example (for it is important to undergo extremely invasive and stressful home renovations when pregnant, as we all know).
Anyway, I’ve been feeling mostly crap - I’m still utterly shitting it about having a new baby and the impending insomnia and insanity; I’ve been losing my vision about 3 times per week, sometimes more due to pregnancy migraine (more on that in another post, hopefully); my arse has transformed into a vineyard; my back is re-shaping itself into a ‘c’ shape to remind me which body-part is responsible for all this; my relationship has gone deaf and can only communicate through shouting and my son now has the rage and strength of the Hulk. I limited my whinging to a paragraph. Not too bad.
It’s this last thing that I wanted to focus on - what’s happened to my little boy. He’s always been very energetic, pretty shouty and half-vampire as per previous posts, but now I can’t even find a way of writing about his behaviour in anything but a negative way. There’s just nothing really funny about it. Pretty-much incessantly he shouts, hits, bites, pinches with a look of glee and fervour that’s frightening. He does it to strangers, friends and family. His usual expression is teeth bared and brow furrowed. Over the Christmas period his greeting to anyone within earshot was ‘I don’t like you - you’re not getting any presents’. He won’t do anything anyone says, won’t let me speak unless it’s to him, won’t get dressed, won’t pee in a potty or toilet now, won’t and won’t. It’s becoming harder and harder to leave the house, not only because I can’t wrestle him out of it, but because he’s very hard for our friends to want to be around and I’m too hormonal to be strong enough to deal with the looks from insulted/bitch-slapped strangers. The other day he bitch-slapped almost every tourist in Trafalgar Square. Yes, I know we’ve all wanted to do it, but it was still an impossible situation. It’s all getting painfully lonely.
He still has moments of tenderness and brilliance - He’s adopted a new phrase, ‘Mum, I love you so much, even when you fart’, tells the best jokes and gives better cuddles than anyone, but he’s 20% ahhh and 80% grrr. Yes, I know there are external factors influencing his behaviour - my pregnancy, my fractious relationship with my partner, my short-temperedness, his shouty nursery, but I reckon I’ve actually been pretty good at holding it all in at the moment, so it CAN’T just be me. So what is it?
I spend most of my time wondering where my boy has gone. I have no idea what to do. He’s seen a Child Psychologist, who’s main focus has become trying to sort out external factors...but I wonder if there’s something innate here. I think I must seek some more help, just not sure what kind.
In fact, the thing which has helped me the most is a passage in a book by Maggie O’Farrell called The Hand That First Held Mine. It made me weep and hold my son until he scratched his way out of my grip. It reminded me that, although in the darkest hours I’ve sometimes wished it away, I would never want to lose what I have, even if I often think I don’t actually like my son and am petrified of meeting my daughter. I’m sorry if it spoils the book for you, but I really think it’s worth sharing, so here it is...
So this is how it ends. As the waves thrust her under, she could think only of Theo. They heaved her up and heaved her under and every now and again she could struggle to the surface, she could make the waters part so she could take a breath, but she knew, she knew it couldn’t be long and she wanted to say, please. She wanted to say, no. She wanted to say, I have a son, there is a child, this cannot happen because you know that no one will ever love them like you do. You know that no one will look after them like you do. You know that it’s an impossibility, it’s unthinkable that you could be taken away, that you will have to leave them behind.
She knew, though, that she could not see him again. She would not be helping him cut up his dinner tonight. She would not be folding the kite or airing his damp clothes or running him a bath at bedtime or taking his pyjamas out from under the pillow. She would not be rescuing his cat from the floor in the middle of the night. She would not be able to wait for him at the gate at the end of his first day at school. Or guide his hand as he learnt to shape the letters of his name, the name she’d given him. Or hold the seat of his bicycle without stabilisers. She would not be nursing him through chicken pox and measles, it would not be her measuring out the medicine or shaking down the thermometer. She would not be there to show him how to look left, then right, then left again or to tie his own shoelaces or brush his teeth or manage the zip on his coat or pair his socks after a wash or to use a telephone or to spread butter on bread, or what to do if he got lost in a shop, or how to pour milk into a cup or catch a bus home. She would not see him grown as tall as her and then taller. She would not be there when someone first broke his heart or when he first drove a car or when he went alone out into the world or when he saw, for the first time, what he would do, how he would live and with whom and where. She would not be there to knock the sand out of his shoes when he came off the beach. She would not see him again.
She fought like a crazed thing. She fought to live, she fought to come back. She always wanted to tell him this, in some way. She tried. She would like to say to him, Theo, I tried. I fought because I didn’t see how I could leave you. But I lost.
What she would have given to win? She could not say.