Being a mother is fraught with guilt. And sometimes we do things we know we shouldn’t, under pressure or when things just get too much. And sometimes we feel bad about doing those things, and worse because we don’t believe any other mother would do such a thing to her child.
So here are some of the things I’ve done to/with Elspeth:
- Screamed “Shut up!” at her
- Left her alone in her room crying for long periods of time
- Punched a wall in anger, right in front of her
- Dropped her on her head (yes, accidentally)
- Sat by her cot sobbing my eyes out, asking her why she wouldn’t sleep
Bear in mind that none of those things are exactly regular; they are all isolated incidents which happened when I was tired or stressed or had just plain had enough. But they happened.
I hope that reading this will make some other stressed-out mother feel a little better about her own actions.
I also want to remind mothers that, if you love your child and do the best you can for it, you’re not a bad mother. Bad mothers are the ones who leave their child in a dirty nappy for days, who save money on formula by feeding their infants Coke, who spend their baby bonus on heroin. Yes, they’re out there. Does knowing that make you feel better? I hope so.