Where to start tonight. Sometimes, as has been the case lately, my inner voice is silent, preoccupied with work, house moves, friendships and of course motherhood. Then there are nights like tonight when I feel so much, I think so much, I hurt so much, that the need to offload some of it is almost a physical pull; gravity isn’t holding me down anymore it’s pulling me to my laptop, it’s making my fingers fly across the keys faster and faster with an urgency bordering on frantic.
This week my baby and I moved house. We left the home I moved into the day after my wedding, the home in which I discovered I was pregnant, the home I brought my baby back to after she was born. We also left the home in which my husband told me he no longer loved me, the house I sat in crying every day for a year, the rooms I decorated for my new baby whilst secretly wondering how long it would take for that much-publicised maternal love to grip me like a vice. That house that was both a comfort and a torture; that I longed to leave and yet couldn’t bear to be parted from….is now just a memory. And it was both as wonderful and terrible as I knew it would be. My new house is lovely, and I count my blessings that I am able to live here with my little girl (and our very grumpy cat!) I don’t look at any of the walls and see the shadow of my loved-up wedding photos. I don’t look at the back door and see the ghost of my ex’s face light up as he walks in and sees me. I don’t walk into my baby’s room and hear the echo of laughter as he and I waltzed around singing our wedding song to break up the painting. I don’t feel him – or us – in this house. It’s surprisingly lonely. The house feels like a stark reflection of me – an empty shell.
I’m trying to concentrate on filling this house with new memories; my angel’s laughter as I chase her through the rooms when we play monsters. The warm smiles of my friends when they come over for dinner. The long awaited leap of love in my stomach when I look at the perfect baby snuggled into me during her afternoon nap.
And yet for the time being this house remains exactly that for me – a house. Not a home. And with that realisation the all-too-familiar feeling of guilt returns. Here I have this wonderful child, someone I longed for, prayed for for so long, someone who has literally saved my life in ways that she will never know…and what have I given her? What am I giving her? The first year of her life passed me by in a haze of depression. I promised myself after her birthday that things would change, that I would devote my life to making her happy, to being the best mum I could be. And still, still I find myself struggling to connect with her at times, struggling to accept that I really am her mother, struggling so much with my inner voice that I allow it time and time again to overshadow all else. Again and again and again it tells me I’m failing, tells me my baby would be better off without me. Moving house was supposed to be our new start, calmer seas. Instead I feel like I’m still floundering in a stormy ocean; just as my head clears the water another wave crashes over me and I’m under again. I really thought I was almost at the shore, but tonight those waves are a hundred feet high again. For the past year my baby has been like a lighthouse; whether just a faint glimmer or a strong beacon she has been the light I needed to see. Isn’t it time I was my own lighthouse now? Isn’t it time I stopped floundering and found my way to shore?
Maybe that’s what this blog serves as. Maybe each outpouring of emotion brings me one step closer to solid footing. If so, thank you, thank you for listening, thank you for helping me find myself again.
For now, as always, sweet dreams all