I am a mother. I remember so clearly the day I became a mother, the moment my first born son was lifted squalling, red and bloody from my uterus. He was born by Caesarian section and appeared, held aloft by the surgeon over the green drapes. I recall the moment of bonding as he was placed next to me after a quick wrap in a towel, the overwhelming love and feeling of completeness that engulfed me. I remember the smell of him, the sticky vernix on his head, and the watery look he gave me as a held him close. At that moment, the Reality, that he was a real person – separate to me, with his own personality, his own rights – crystallised. It was a truly profound experience that changed me for ever.
He caused me not a little stress, my adored first born son. He lost weight, wouldn’t feed, had severe reflux and was admitted to hospital at two weeks old after a terrifying episode where he turned dark blue beside me. I was so scared I would lose him, this tiny unique person I loved so completely.
I was a single parent to this child. His biological father did not wish to be involved, a fact that, in my ignorance and arrogance, didn’t really concern me – until he was born. Then I realised this person deserved contact with both parents, and I tried hard to engage his father.
We lived in a small room in my mothers house, we co-slept, we sorted out the feeding and the reflux and eventually he started to thrive. He smiled late, and bestowed his first gummy grin not on his adoring mother, but on my hairdresser!
Gradually things got sorted out. I went back to work, temporary part time at first, and shortly before my son’s first birthday I secured a permanent full time post that enabled me to buy a house for us.
My first born son is now almost 18. He is living a life I find very hard to understand or accept. He has left school without the minimum qualifications he will need to secure employment in any job that has prospects. He finds it hard to tell the truth; has been expelled from school and has been arrested. I am genuinely very worried for him. The process of separation that began the moment the umbilical cord was cut, has accelerated in the last two years.
My partner dislikes my first born child. He has reason to. I think if he were someone else’s child I might feel the same, but he’s mine and I love him. I’m desperate to help him, but I cannot seem to guide him in the right way. Maybe nobody could.
Of course, as a mother, I am consumed with guilt. My distress, anxiety and concern for my lost wayward, unhappy son, sits like a stone in my chest. I literally do not know what to do, and as on so very many occasions in the past, as his only parent, no one else cares as I do.
My son would be happier if my partner did not live here. He would be home more often, maybe he would spend less time with the undesirable characters he calls ‘friends’ , maybe if I had him closer I could influence him more. My instinct as a mother is do whatever it takes – but is this is a price to high?
I wrote this a few weeks ago, and didn’t post it as it felt too raw. Now, with my central dilemma unresolved , I feel I am being literally torn apart. My partner is barely civil to my son, my son has failed to achieve any further qualifications in this ‘resit’ year, and will NOT do one single thing to help the situation. And I sit between them, with my yonger sons and wonder how it all went so wrong.