Before I get into it, I feel the need to state that things are a lot better than they were a few months ago and I'm feeling much more bonded to the girls than I was at first. Silly lovely dovey things are coming out of my mouth much to my surprise. Like a few days ago when I heard myself say "I just love that smile! I wish I could bottle that smile and pour it on my pancakes!"
Where the hell did that come from? I'm actually pretty self conscience about acting all ooey gooey. I'm embarrassed to have anyone hear me sing to the girls. Not because my voice sucks, I actually have a good singing voice, but because the lovey dovey stuff is so not the persona that I've come to associate with myself.
But anyway, that's kind of an aside. The driving myself crazy is this overwhelming feeling of being judged and never measuring up.
One of my major mental issues with being infertile and then a miscarriage mama is this overall feeling of the universe deciding that I'm unfit and then denying me children. Being denied by an adoption agency, the doctors refusing to do a fresh round of IVF until I lost weight, etc etc. I've just had so many deliveries of the message that my motherhood is dependent on whether others deem me worthy or not.
It's a fear I still carry. Over the summer when we had the windows open in the house, I feared that the neighbors who didn't realize there were two babies here might call CPS because they often hear a baby crying and might suspect me of neglect. My fear runs so deep that I've even worked out what I would do if someone knocked on the door claiming to be CPS. I wouldn't open the door to random strangers claiming to have the authority to take my kids from me (that seems like a fear tactic that an ax murderer might use to gain access to your house), but I would tell them that I would only allow them in if escorted by my father (a retired federal judge who would act as my legal council) or a uniformed police officer. How sick is it that I'm so scared of something that will never happen that I actually have a game plan?
Yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner, Charlotte was having a rough time due to the teething. The girls were also both massively overtired because they hardly napped at all during the day. I really wanted to show them off, but ultimately they had to spend the dinner in their stroller in my parents room with the lights off because they needed to sleep and that seemed to be the best way to make that happen. The whole time, I felt damned if I do, damned if I don't. I had an internal need to be with them because I almost felt like I was shutting them away for the sake of convenience. But I also had pressure, both internal and external, to leave them alone because they needed to sleep and they were just fine.
But it was after I ate that really demonstrated how I'm driving myself, and probably everyone around me, absolutely nuts. Charlotte was crying because her mouth hurt. Everyone knew what her problem was, everyone understood that there's only so much adults can do to help a baby, but I just felt like everyone was watching me completely fail at mothering my baby. And I hardly touched Tina because she was being social so others were holding her the whole time.
Everyone is trying to remind me that once you try everything you know to help a hurting baby, sometimes the only thing you can do is to put them somewhere safe, like in their crib, and let them cry for a little bit. Intellectually, I agree. Especially since I get myself so worked up when I hear a baby crying that my own tension only makes things worse for the baby.
But when the time comes, I almost feel like I have to try until I'm to the point of bursting before I allow either of us to just chill out by allowing her to cry for a little bit. Like there's some universal mommy judge overlooking me all the time and if I don't do things right, it's going to take one or both of my babies away. Whenever I try to tell myself how ridiculous that is, my brain snaps back with "it happened the last time" (referring to losing my girls 2 years ago).
K is on my back about taking care of myself. That it's not only ok to let the girls cry when they are hurting (again, after doing everything I can to soothe the hurt), but it's what's best for the family as a whole. That if I make myself stress out to the breaking point, I'm not only forcing myself to suffer, but they are picking up on that stress and it's not fun for them either.
I can predict the comments already. "I could never allow my baby to cry all alone in her crib." "How awful, ignoring this helpless little creatures cries because you don't want to listen to it!!!" "Babies cry because they need you to do something for them. How could you possibly consider just allowing them to cry!?!"
Welcome to the universal "they". That's what I hear every time I can't please one of the girls. That "they" are judging me and if I can't figure it out soon and make it all better, "they" will somehow declare me unfit and my babies will go away.
I wish I could somehow understand that the girls are unconditionally mine. Intellectually, I got it, but emotionally, it's just not sinking in. I just can't shake this feeling and fear that my parenthood is contingent upon others approval.