Maybe He Was Happy After All

One of the things that has always haunted me since my son’s birth and the first, very difficult, years of his life is the guilt. Guilt over what I should have done differently. Guilt over the way I found it so hard to be his mum. Guilt over the things he missed out on, because I was such a mess. My memories of the first year of his life are dark, almost shrouded in shadows of fear and despair. I don’t remember smiling. I don’t remember him smiling. I don’t remember baby giggles or first smiles or excited clapping. I don’t remember anything but sadness. I remember he cried a lot. I cried a lot too. I remember he rarely slept. I slept even less. I remember he rejected me constantly in favour of daddy. But I rejected him too.

Maybe he was happy after all_ghostwritermummy.co.ukAnd then recently we came across some long forgotten home movies, shot in the weeks before and after he was born. My first instinct was to shut them down, turn the TV off and hide away from the horrible reality of what I was like back then. I didn’t want to see that woman, pretending to be a mother. I knew I’d see the truth in her eyes, and I was terrified of seeing that blank nothingness that filled my days back then. I couldn’t- shouldn’t- watch, and yet I was impelled to do just that.

The figures on the screen looked like my son and I. Oh, I was so young! And he was so perfect. Little tufts of white blond hair. Big blue eyes. A beautiful smiling mouth. Oh, I realised. So he did smile then.

And as our lives unfolded on the screen I was surprised to see that I smiled too. I could see it wasn’t really me, but for my son I was smiling. For his sister, I was smiling. I was smiling. But I only remember tears. Days out, Christmas morning snuggles, trying to crawl, playing in the bath, eating a crust of toast… all the small moments that make up motherhood- recorded forever. I’d always assumed nothing like this existed, that I hadn’t cared enough or loved him enough to even bother getting the camera out. But I did. I did!

I took photos of his tiny feet. I took photos of his bright, wide smile. I took photos of his little hand clutching my finger. I filmed him trying to climb the stairs. I filmed him climbing inside the kitchen drawer to play with his pots and pans while I cooked dinner. I filmed him playing with his sister on the rug. Normal things. We were a normal family, after all.

After so many years of assuming I had paid no attention at all to my beautiful boy, finding these videos has been a bittersweet blessing for me. a true revelation. A huge relief. Knowing that I was there, after all, is amazing. Knowing I cannot remember it hurts, but the guilt is fading a little just knowing that he didn’t suffer as I thought he had.

It’s time for me to tint my world with rose a little. Time to stop the self punishment. Time to move forwards. Maybe he was happy after all.Maybe he was happy after all_ghostwritermummy.co.uk

44 Comments

  1. August 1, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Perhaps this is why many people don’t understand these sort of issues. If on the outside, people don’t appear to be struggling, how can anybody really know?
    Beautiful post. I’m glad for you that you found the videos.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 1, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      It think that was definitely the case for me. I carried on going and pretended all was ok, so nobody really knew anything was wrong at all. So many women do this and so many just don’t get the help they need x

  2. August 1, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    Oh Suzanne, I’m so so pleased that you found those videos and hopefully began to heal some of the memories of such an incredibly difficult time. I think as parents we always beat ourselves up when in fact we soldier on and do a great job regardless of what’s going on on the inside xxx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Yes I think you’re right, and I think I’ve punished myself more than I really needed to x

  3. August 1, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    I’m so glad you found the videos and it showed you what you couldn’t remember doing. Open and frank posts like this help others going through similar situations so much.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:38 pm

      Thank you xx

  4. August 1, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with motherhood. It was lovely to read. x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:38 pm

      Thank you xx

  5. August 1, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I can really relate to this. My boy is two in October and for the first year it all seemed so dark. I was unhappy and yet photos show otherwise. I’m glad the videos made you see how things were better than you thought.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:36 pm

      I’m so glad we found the videos and I’m sorry your experience was so similar. I think we punish ourselves so much more than we truly need to x

  6. August 1, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    I sure he was happy. I’m glad the videos were much better than you expected

    Cat x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      Thank you, me too xx

  7. August 2, 2017 / 8:06 am

    Ah hunni. A very heartfelt post. I think we can be far too hard on ourselves too

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Definitely. Time to stop punishing ourselves I think xx

  8. August 2, 2017 / 9:15 am

    This is a lovely honest post. I remember texting my husband constantly saying how Ava spent every second of the day crying, trouble is she didn’t, as babies go she was fairly happy, I just focused so much on the crying episodes I couldn’t see past them.

  9. August 2, 2017 / 10:03 am

    It shows how much you love your children that regardless of how you were feeling you did everything to ensure that they felt happy x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Thank you xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      You’re so right. Words of wisdom xx

  10. August 2, 2017 / 10:37 am

    I’ve recently become a mum and I can completely relate it’s not an easy journey and you can have incredibly dark moments. I’m glad the videos gave you some comfort. It’s had to remember the happy times but you’ve done a great job x

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you. I’m going to remember more of the good times for sure xx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you, I’ll definitely treasure them xx

  11. August 2, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    Such a beautiful, honest post, I’m so sorry you felt that way to begin with but I’m glad that finding those videos was a blessing in disguise for you. You shouldn’t feel guilty.

    Ami xxx

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      August 2, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much, I know that I’m in such a better place now and finding them seems to have been perfect timing xx

  12. August 2, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    I’ve avoided reading this a few times as I knew I would cry. I can relate so much to this. X

  13. August 2, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    A beautifully honest post and how lovely to have found those videos. I hope they have brought you some comfort, as you have no reason to feel guilty at all x

  14. August 2, 2017 / 11:20 pm

    I’m so glad that you found these videos, I hope it brings you a little peace.
    What happened was awful, but it absolutely wasn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t continue to make yourself feel bad! Xx

  15. August 3, 2017 / 9:28 am

    I don’t remember much of when Kian was a baby and 17 years ago we didn’t have access to video technology that we have today. I so wish I had that to look back on

  16. August 3, 2017 / 11:48 am

    So pleased you have found these and you saw your beautiful boy smiling.

  17. August 3, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    So glad you found the videos. It just shows that whatever you were feeling, your children probably didn’t realise. It’s great that they have given you that reassurance xx
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  18. August 3, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    What a beautiful post, I’m so pleased you found the videos and worked up the courage to watch them. It’s so hard when you’re in the fog to see things for what they are – everything is grey tinted. I’m so glad you found the rose tint looking back.

  19. Dani
    August 3, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    I’m very sure he was happy after all 🙂 I’m so glad that you found this videos.
    It’s so weird how you can subconsciously block out sad memories from your brain, there are certain parts of my past that I genuinely cannot remember anymore!

    Dani x

  20. August 3, 2017 / 11:07 pm

    It really is time to stop punishing yourself, I’m so glad you found those early videos that have shown you a different picture to your memory. I bet yoru son has no idea it was for you in the early days. Mich x
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  21. August 5, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    I don’t like to call it any other name but yes, the “blur” gets almost everyone. The happiest I was and the same time full of fear, uncertainty and guilt in the first 5-6 month with my first born. I can totally relate to this. It was so hard. But the second time it was different, felt less of a struggle although we had to battle with reflux, somehow it didn’t feel that hard as the first time. I put it down to the realisation of that from now I am forever will be responsible for this little human being. And it takes a little time to get used to that thought, in spite of the outpouring love you feel.

  22. August 5, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Such an incredible post.
    I have to admit I’ve probably been sat reading your posts for the past 20 minutes minimum, just taking them in and admiring your bravery on sharing this so difficult a topic. Well done for sharing, I know this will help so so many!

  23. August 6, 2017 / 5:25 am

    I am sure your son was happy and that you were a great mom. He grew up to be so handsome. You did a good job. You go girl.

  24. August 6, 2017 / 7:39 am

    I am glad you have found the videos and the photos, and that they show you that you did it all. That they never noticed or had any idea that you felt differently. I hope that it helps and that hopefully you can stop punishing yourself xx

  25. August 7, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Oh my goodness you poor thing, I got so upset reading this. But I am so glad you found those films and made you stop punishing yourself. 🙂 xx

  26. August 7, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I’m so pleased you found the strength to watch those videos lovely. It’s funny how our realities and memories are skewed when our emotions are what they are. So much love xx

  27. August 7, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    I have felt every word of this. I am still shrouded in guilt in some respects. I know that will pass over time.

    I am so glad you found the photographs and videos. I’m glad you realised that your boy was (and still is) happy. xxxx

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