Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I was thinking.

When I start thinking it could go either way, terribly bad or good.

But I was driving Fa to school this morning and the day was starting out to be a wonderfully sunny day.

It reminded me of a time.

It must've been about the same time of year, because I had just started walking again, for exercise, after Fa was born. She was about 4+ months old. She was just coming out, I mean just coming out of her colicky stage. Add that to what I was going through and you had one fucked up JJ.

I took her to the beach to walk on the boardwalk. I had my jogging stroller all ready to go, the tires were filled with air, my sneakers were ready to move, my muscles needed toning...I was looking forward to exercising and getting the baby out of the house...(That was still a big feat back then. I was afraid to leave the house and all.)

I strapped her into the car, drove the 5 minutes to the beach (lucky) and started adjusting her into the stroller. My courage was strong, for some reason that morning...

We took off.

Not three steps onto the boardwalk and she started crying. I kept it going a few more steps. She started crying harder and louder. But I was determined to walk. And she was determined to cry.

I was so nervous that I sat on a bench to try to calm her. Water, formula, sunscreen, clean diaper, hat, shade...all in order. But she was inconsolable. You'd think I'd be used to it by then, but it hurt that minute just like every minute prior. Like someone was stabbing me in the heart over an over again with each wail of her tiny but booming voice.

Like all the other times before, I didn't know what to do. So I sat and cried. On the bench at the beach. Bawling.

And my anger for her welled up inside me like a volcano and I started yelling at her on the boardwalk. For crying.

My four month old.

I was screaming at her.

For crying.

I feel so guilty for that. For blaming her for my short comings and fears and insecurities. And for actually taking it out on her. Like a mad woman. People were staring and the more they gawked, the louder I yelled, the louder she cried.

I must've been a sight.

I resented her for being a burden when I wanted to walk. I resented her for making me feel so out of control physically and mentally. I was angry at her for taking this time to throw a fit. Like she was doing it on purpose. I was fucking crazy, man.

I think back at that now and I cringe. The guilt is overwhelming.

But I was trying. I really was.

And I used to ask her, "Are you crying because I'm crying or am I crying because you're crying?"

Who knew.

But I pray that my initial actions as a mother will have no bearing on her as she grows. Do they know? Do they remember? Will it effect her in the long run?

We went home shortly after that scene and I waited a little longer to try again. Watching the fear grow with each new failed experience.

But eventually we did it. We got into a groove. And it became a ritual of sorts. Every summer we'd go back, every other day, walking on the boardwalk...counting big, orange garbage cans. She loved those garbage cans. They were evenly spaced throughout the boardwalk and for 3 years she saw them return every summer.

I wish I could have known then what I know now.

I wish that she knew then what I pray she knows now.

That I loved her unconditionally, even if I didn't know it back then. And I love her unconditionally now. And I do my best to show it in every way possible.

I hope my guilt doesn't spill over. I truly do.


  1. Shame on those people for just gawking! I'm not sure what they should have done - but an understanding smile, a hug?

    Fa knows.

  2. Do not feel guilty. Of course you do, but you are certainly not the first mother to be overwhelmed by a baby who screams for no apparent reason. The Queen (there's a reason we call her Queen of the *&^&*% Universe) slept for a half hour and nursed for a half hour for the first 6 months of her life. I prayed for death more than once, and I cried frequently (breastfeeding HURTS, by god). You didn't beat her or throw her in the ocean, right? You just yelled. So you're a great mother. Trust me.

  3. I still feel so guilty over some of the things I've said, done, or yelled, at my kids when they were younger. I think as they get older, they tend to take the good from their younger lives. All we can do is be better to our children and ourselves and they will know that we have always loved them. Even when we were tired, new, inexperienced parents who may not have handled things as well as we could have from time to time. Live and learn. Everything will be alright!

  4. She won't remember that....She will remember that you played games with her, made her favorite things to eat, laughed with her, counted orange garbage cans with her, and most of all that you loved her.:)

    God Bless,

  5. I think every new mom goes through a time where they Love their child to death but they just may not like them much. I had that for a while, I was so sleep deprived, and the husband was a jerk for about a year.

  6. I have a very strong feeling that the positive moments have far outweighed any incidents like this.

    Don't worry about it.

    You overcame this, you learned from it, and you moved on.

    You can't change the past.

  7. oh JJ, thank you for writing this. i too yelled at my baby MANY times. and i mean yelled...shut the fuck up was common for me to say to my colic baby. she was colic for at least 9 months. it was hellish. i too recall taking her out for a walk. what baby doesn't like a walk in the stroller. my older one would fall asleep whenever i did that, it was great. but i took number 2 out and she screamed, i thought after a little while she will fall asleep and it will be fine 'but no she screamed louder and louder. i was so embarrassed and mad and ashamed and just started balling. i cried along with her the entire walk. we got home and i can't even remember what happened but i hated it. i hated her crying, my crying. everything. currently my little colic baby is sound asleep right now for her nap. she is 20 months and perfect and precious. did i ruin her ?? god only knows. i was bat crazy as well and wish i had started taking meds and gotten help sooner. no ONE should feel that way and no child should have a mommy who feels that way. god bless ya !!! check out my giveaway a FUN one

  8. Guilt - we've all felt it. We've all done. It's unfortunate that peope stare, cause I'm sure they've done it too.

    Heck, I feel it from the mornings emotional conversation with my stressed out 12 yo DD, she carries the world on her shoulders and I forget she's just a kid...

    It's hard sometimes and they know we love them and all we can do is our best.

  9. I yelled at Carson and Ella, too. Our kids will be FINE!

  10. I am sure she knows just how much she is loved and cherished.

  11. We've all been there. I know FA knows you love her with all of your heart and soul!

  12. Oh my God (ness) Laundry. We love your blog...

    We (the Motherhood Biters) just started our own blog this month and are pretty jazzed to see a like-mined blogger.

    Right on!

    Drop by anytime, yahear!


  13. you can forgive yourself, JJ. let yourself let it go. we've all had tough moments where we have lost it with our kids. but we keep on.

    blessings, kathleen

  14. you just needed a grandma to come and stay with her so you could go on that walk.

    Sometimes new mommies need that.

  15. It's funny that you wrote this - when Mark and I were up telling my family our news tis weekend, my brother told a nearly identica story about himself with my nephew. he told us that this *was* going to happen. It was normal.

    JJ - I admire you for being able to put these things into words. I really do.

  16. oh my. I have so been there. Heck there are days I am still there. Frustrated, overwhelmed just trying to make it all fall into place so somehow it makes sense. Those are the days I long to call someone, anyone that would understand. Instead I read amazing, honest blogs that help me understand that everything I feel is normal and that with a few deep breaths, a couple drinks and a shoulder to cry on, I can make it through the biggest challenge of my life, Motherhood.
    Hugs girl. Fa totally totally knows how much you love her.

  17. You love your girl like mad and if I can see that from your blog then I promise that she can see that from you in real life, every single day. In the great scheme of things that far out-weighs the occasional less-than-great moment. You are a great mom, do't let your guilt let you tell you anything different.

  18. "And I love her unconditionally now. And I do my best to show it in every way possible."

    And I think that's all one could hope for...

    Try not to be too hard on yourself, my friend...

  19. You know JJ, it's the moms who never yell that I worry about. Think of all of the psychological crap they are stuffing.

    I've yelled at my kids, even as babies in those hard times. My mom yelled at me. We all turn out ok.

    I made a lot of mistakes with Payton when he was a baby. He's 7.5 now and we have a VERY close bond. So close that I swear if he ends up in the looney bin, so will I. heh


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