So, I’m currently expecting my third child. I’m thinking that means that i haven’t let mum’s health, or my issues with it, hold me back. I always thought I’d have a big family and now i do. I suppose i wander if it could have affected me differently had i not undertaken some serious work on myself…..?
I reckon I’ve had to become emotionally independent. I think some people (my family) would say that i always was. I see it differently; that i had to become that way. I can think back to my teenage behaviors and my childhood friendships and see that there was a lot of neediness on my part being fulfilled. I always felt on some level that i couldn’t use my mum the way others perhaps did.
So, now, in my life for instance, I don’t know any of my mother friends (working or not) who don’t have some kind of support from their parents. Generally it seems to fall in the form of free childcare, even just occasionally, parents who live near by and will drop everything to help in some capacity. And its that very useful practical help that as a parent to young kids i imagine is invaluable. I will never have that.
Shortly after having our first we decided to move nearer my parents. That was for many reasons but a significant one was the idea of support now we had a child. Almost instantly, to me living in the same city to my parents, mum’s Bipolar worsened and i became, amongst my other roles, a part time carer. This is a role i chose and i have never felt a pressure other than my own to undertake this level of involvement. But at times when pregnant with my second and with my first a toddler i often felt with mum in tow i had an extra baby to care for.
Recently my parents have moved away. a move they had to make for themselves to put them in what i hope is the best situation for them. They can’t become the selfless grandparents i think sometimes they’d like to be – every decision must be about whats best for mums health. I was torn in equal measure. On one hand i felt relief that i would no longer have to hold this additional role in my life, that i wouldn’t every day be trying to juggle caring for small children with caring for a depressed mother (the two don’t mix that well). On the other hand, from the day they left i felt bereft, like a small child who’s parents decide one day to leave them behind. I knew in my mind that this was an illogical thought as the times of wellness for mum in which i could enjoy her company or see her enjoy the children were so short and haphazard. It was through this period that i made the discovery that my parents would never be the parents i want them to be and that more importantly they will never be the grandparents i want them to be. In the past i would have said what i “need” rather than “want” and that’s the difference; i don’t have the luxury of need; I’ve had to learn emotional independence to be able to be strong for myself and well for myself and now i will do the same for my children.
I’m facing the birth of a third, for the first time without my mum, well or not, on stand by. It doesn’t feel so important, we’ve done this before and are waaaaaay more relaxed. We have some amazing friends and neighbors who we can truly rely on, we will have too and I’m ok with that. It’s quite nice making plans based on people who can offer reliability, not someone who may or may not be able to help depending on if they are high or low!