this is another post as a mother of a beautiful girl who is already 10.
Since the birth of my child I have been a part of the Maternal Health Study. The information is to help filling in some of the gaps in what is currently known about the impact of pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing, family relationships, and life circumstances on the health and wellbeing of women and their children.
I have recently received another survey and this time as a ten year follow up. At first I thought “I have no time for this” (it is quite a thick booklet full of questions) and put it for a long time. After a couple of calls from the study centre I have finally completed the questionnaire.
As I went through the questions, which are quite personal I could not help myself feeling quite sentimental. It was actually an eye opening experience which forced me to stop and really look at my health, physical and emotional being.
one of the first question was my marital state. I remember the first time I did the survey I was living with my partner/ my daughter’s father. Then for the one after I had to check off “separated”. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the definition, feeling like some sort of a failure, not being able to give my daughter a “normal”family structure. This time I still checked “separated” but feeling of peace, hope and surrender.
The section on my health was positive. In fact, more positive than the last couples. I did have to go thorough dealing with some health issues when my daughter was young. But I feel content and confident now that there will be a solution out there for whatever happens. I felt alone and misunderstood, because I did not let people help me. I was stubborn that I could heal myself, only focusing on a certain way of diet and lifestyle, by myself. It did not have to be this way. Those days that I felt miserable, hopeless and sick could have been shared and supported by so many who were so willing but couldn’t because I pretended that everything was ok. I now see the kindness and openness of others, if I have to go onto this journey again I know I could reach out and embrace my vulnerability.
The most confronting questions were about parenting my child and family life. How many days have I personally read her a story? done craft? played with toys or games? How many times have I missed out on family activities because of work? How many times I had to turn down work opportunities because of my family responsibilities? How often have I had time for myself just to do something for me, except work?
huge guilt and frustration come up as I answer these questions.. I know in my head that I do what I can every moment. I feel the connection I have with my daughter is so special and precious. every hugs, every kiss, every laugh and conversations. every “I love you” come from our heart, even we don’t spend as much time together like we used to. But I do hear her even she doesn’t say so out loud. ” I miss you” ” you don’t have any time for me” ” you are always working”. Telling her that I love her, I always have time for her and I am here when she needs me sometimes is not enough.
Tonight, we came home after picking her from aftercare, played a game on the deck, sat down while she was having dinner and telling me all about her new teacher and every children in her class, and cut pineapple together to dehydrate. Just little things like these are still so important, keeping our connection strong and healthy. I am dreaming of a holiday with her though…
thank you for listening