Or perhaps “parent guilt” is more appropriate? Surely Dads feel it too?
Many blogs, articles, posts and books have been written about it, and believe me, I’ve struggled with it over the years – pretty much from the moment I saw the double blue line, 4 years ago, when I FINALLY fell pregnant with my girl. One of the happiest moments of my life, immediately tainted by a first taste of the MG. Shittt, I had half a bottle of wine the other night/ went for a run/ took a flight somewhere… surely all factors to make you lose a baby. What was I thinking?
Then the guilt about putting them into nursery (they’ll feel sad and lonely). The guilt about not putting them into nursery (they’re bored and lagging behind with their education and age-appropriate stimulation). The guilt about not being able to breastfeed past 6 weeks (still haunting me, that one). The guilt of having birthed my daughter by emergency C section and my son by planned CS, rather than breathing them out into a warm pool, listening to whale music (as a result they’re now forever traumatised and also need to see a cranial therapist because of my inability to give birth, for the rest of their lives. Ah yes, and it’s also why they’re poor sleepers. Messed that one right up, haven’t I?). The guilt about not living anywhere near my family so that they don’t grow up forming a close bond with their grandparents (unforgivable). The guilt about not earning more money so that they can have amazing holidays and experiences. The guilt of having shouted at them in the past when I got super stressed…. you get the picture.
Now, add being ill to the mix. It breaks my heart that I get so tired that all I can manage is look and smile at them weakly and offer a half-hearted cuddle (even too tired to lift my arms to hug them. Uggghh). It makes me weep inside that I cannot spend hours doing crafts and stories because my eyes get blurry. It brings tears to my eyes that all I do is sit lamely on a bench rather than run around with them in the park. It’s depressing how I have to take a couple of hours out of each day to lie down and rest whilst all I want is to be with my children.
And now there’s a new guilt – screen time. Before the stroke I had very strict rules about TV: 30 mins a day max, 3-4 times a week. No iPad. This has naturally crept up over time, in line with Clara’s age, but I really controlled screen time and content. Not so much now. Because my batteries are empty around 10am I can hardly manage past lunchtime without watching Funny Cats Compilations on YouTube. Then, often a bit of CBeebies after lunch. And then a film before dinner. So, in total, my children are spending ca 2-3 hours per day in front of a TV. I hate it. I feel angry with myself for not offering them interesting and stimulating games, crafts and outdoor adventures or earning enough to pop them into nursery 3 days a week (who can afford an additional £1,500 for childcare? Insane).
I don’t know how to break this cycle of me just sitting there like a vegetable when neuro-fatigue hits. It is not just being tired, it’s more like you’re a bit drunk and really jet lagged, and you’ve overdone it in the gym. I feel really sluggish, numb and heavy, and cannot think properly. It’s frightening and frustrating. And I don’t know when or IF this will ever get better. The brain only heals to a certain point, and then they say there’s no more progress, with my particular stroke around 6 months. So, I’ve got a few more weeks to see how it goes but I sincerely hope it’ll improve, as sometimes I’m missing out on enjoying my children and I’d hate them to remember only a tired, worn out, sleepy mummy.
How do you experience MG? What do you do when it sneaks up on you? What are your coping strategies? And don’t say wine, as I don’t drink anymore! 🙂
Ps- the plan was to write a blog post about Gratitude, rather than whining about Guilt, but I had to get it off my chest 😉
Night night everyone x