Archive for the ‘Adoption diary’ Category

Scared of the Wind

Friday, February 14th, 2014

It’s 05:20 in the morning and I’m wide awake and downstairs

Everyone else is sound asleep. Well, apart from jack the cat who’s decided to have a race around the house while I creep trying not to wake people.

I woke up because I’m coughing. I stayed awake because I can hear the wind and the rain beating against the house and it’s scaring me.

I usually like wind. Especially that of the ferocious kind. It usually represents excitement, cosiness while we’re bundled up inside, blowy hair while on a walk and giggles being drowned out by the howling gales. Being pushed along by an unseen hand and the promise of a cup of tea to warm up when we get back home. I love mother nature in all her forms, particularly the powerful stuff because it reminds me how insignificant we all are and how she’s very much in charge. Ironically it usually makes me feel more empowered.

Not today. Not this week. It feels like it’s pounding on my front door trying to remind me of all my failings of this week. It’s like an omen shaking the house telling me that I can’t do this, why have I taken on such an enormous task like that of being a mother. What was I thinking. I’ve been horrifically ill this week. I’ve “only” had a cold but it’s meant no energy which, in turn, has meant we haven’t been out and I feel like a dreadful mother. I’ve been snappy, impatient, shouty and not in the least bit empathic.

Pickle has pushed my buttons this week but she’s also been very sweet at times. And that’s where the guilt comes in. The wind is beating at my house yelling “you horrible mummy” and I can’t answer back because I feel it’s true. I’ve not given her any time, I’ve put the tv on (all day!) I’ve snapped immediately on her doing anything, the poor girl hasn’t stood a chance with me this week and I’ve woken up with the wind reminding me of this fact. The fact that I’m not coping at all well and I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. The rock is wanting to get stuck back in to the way I was doing things before but having no energy. I want to get back to it enthusiastically, empathically, lovingly (genuinely not faked) and with passion and energy and confidence.

The hard place is just wanting to hide away. Hide away from everyone and everything and just say “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”. And then more guilt sets in as I think about this beautiful, charismatic, funny, adorable, feisty, fantastic, cute, clever, sparky and bright little girl who is now in our lives, forever.

And then I see a chink of light in the clouds and the wind quietens down for a few minutes and allows me to think about that. It’s not too hard at all. In fact, it’s very easy.

I’ve been so ill (physically and mentally) and so consumed in my own darkness that I’ve lost all perspective on normal. I want to do things so right that the pressure I’m applying on myself is immense and with that comes the guilt because I’m never going to get it right all the time. I am only human and I can only take being hit in the face so many times during the day so I’m bound to snap. I can only take so much screaming because I haven’t quite got food ready quick enough (in about 10 seconds to be precise) so I’m bound to shout back at some point. And I can only take so much defiance so I’m bound to get defiant back sometimes. The trouble is I only remember those moments because in my head they outweigh all the times I snuggle her and kiss her and stroke her back and laugh with her and all the lovely things we do. But they don’t. The guilt just sets in and rots them away.

Next week I am going to the GP. Next week I’m going to get some proper help. There’s nothing shameful in that, that’s life at the moment.

And this weekend we’re going out and we’re going to face the wind together, as a family.

Housebound

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I’ve been in for 3 days now, 3 long days.

I’ve not felt this rough in ages. I’ve woken up every day with a horribly sore throat and feel really weak. I’ve slept every day while Pickle naps in the afternoon and I’ve nearly slept on the sofa while she’s playing or watching the tv in the mornings. She knows things aren’t right which is why she’s playing up. I’m not right, I’m snappy and impatient and it’s not fair.

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. The adoption process tells you, I’m no uncertain terms, that a child should not be looked after by anyone but you and your partner for quite a considerable time. But, now I’m ill, I’m realising how unrealistic this is. And, quite frankly, unfair. Not on me or my husband but on the child.

I’m not being fair to her at all. My patience is so low and I’ve so little tolerance that I’m giving her no leeway at all. And it’s only because I’m ill and we havent been out that I’m being like this. And, for the same reason, she’s been “difficult”.

She’s now 21 months. Anyone else with a 21 month old would probably have other people who they’d feel able to look after the child. The only people I have is my mum and dad at the moment and even then I don’t like to ask too much. Maybe any other child would go to a nursery or child minder. Not that I’d do that anyway but I’ve had no respite at all. And I’ve struggled. I’m struggling.

Being ill with a child is crap at the best of times. But being ill with a child you’re still creating attachments with, but you’re being impatient with and leaves you feeling ten times more guilt than your average person, is rubbish.

It’s made me feel even more sh*t than it would have done if I’d just left her with someone else for 3 days…but I’m not “allowed”.

It’s left me feeling more bereft than I would have if I’d asked for help. The trouble is I feel I can’t.

This process has sent me, quite literally, bonkers.

Hitting the Wall

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Today I hit a wall. A big, solid, hard, high, unmoving, psychological brick wall

Everything always seems to come at once doesn’t it. I woke up yesterday with a really sore throat having caught the cough and cold that Pickle’s had for several days. I felt awful. But it got worse today. I have no energy, my body feels weak, I am snappy and impatient and I had to call on my Dad to come and look after Pickle downstairs while I went to bed. It worked, a little. It doesn’t help that it’s the time of the month either and that Pickle, the little darling, has hit her wall too…..the wall of the terrible two’s I imagine.

I’ve never quite heard screaming like it. She starts off with a normal (but still very very loud) scream and then you hear the change, from somewhere deep inside, and it ramps up like I’ve got my hands around her throat and I’m about to murder her. Anyone listening in would think just that. It’s blood curdling, ear splitting, horrid and is very very annoying. Especially as it’s because I haven’t managed to get her food to her in 1 second or I’ve turned on the tv but it’s not *gasps* CBEEBies! Heaven forbid! She goes for it. Nobody would know, if they couldn’t see me, that I’m sat there, quietly holding a cup of tea, ignoring these rancid screams.

I seem to have reached the end of my tether with it all. I know I haven’t, deep down….deep, deep, deep down, in the pit of my stomach where I’m having to reach with all my might to muster the will and the strength to find any ounce of empathy/fun/joy to do with the life I am now living.

The unbearable truth is that, at this moment in time I feel resentful. I feel like I’ve given up my work, friends, lifestyle, money,identity…basically life as I knew it for a screaming, tantrumming little person who, at the moment, won’t cuddle, sit, snuggle, kiss, smile, laugh (unless it’s because she’s doing something she shouldn’t) and of course, I read that back and know it’s not true ALL the time. It’s just that I’m so immersed in it right now that I cannot see the beautiful smiling girl for the screams and tantrums. It’s hard.

And how dare I feel resentful. How much have we gone through to get where we are now? We should be rejoicing every day and celebrating every last drop of experience we have with Pickle. But, of course, that just assumes that someone who has given birth having got pregnant easily loves their child less than I love Pickle, which isn’t true.

I do love her, very much. But at the moment I’m struggling. I have said I don’t think I can do this, that I want to give up. But of course I’m saying this (and very aware of it) through the mist of PMT, a bad cold, terrible tantrums, a deep winter and people constantly questioning what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it and disagreeing even if they know nothing about adoption (which is most). None of which helps in the knowledge that what we’ve done is HUGE. More huge than I’ve ever given it credit for. It’s mind blowingly boggling but life doesn’t stop and all of that piles on top. Then all of a sudden it’s like the ticking time bomb has exploded and you’re left thinking “what the fuck have we done”. There, I said it.

I can say this without an ounce of guilt because I have friends who gave birth to their children and have felt exactly the same. One friend in particular uses the phrase “dig deep” when she’s referring to bad times. And I like that. It works on both levels. It reminds me to do just that, dig deep. But it also reminds me that I’m human and other people, how ever their children arrive, feel exactly the same in those dark moments.

And then, like a soft glow in the dark gloom of depression (because, let’s face it people, I am depressed) a friend, a really really good friend helped me. I want to share with you what she said to me as I think it applies very well to most parents. And after she talked to me I felt better, calmer, less panicked. It’s always good to be honest, hence this post, because other people need to know that it’s normal to feel like this. You just need a little help to get through.

And remember, dig deep!

Dependancy

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

“You don’t want a child who is too dependant on you”

This was said to me by someone after I’d tried to explain why it can only be the parents who look after a child when they move in, and for a good few months after that. This person even said she didn’t agree with what I was saying, adding “for a child to be too dependant on you is bad”.

I thought about this one, for quite a while, and then dismissed it having remembered that this person has, possibly, one of the most dysfunctional families I know.

It’s an odd thing to say at the best of times but even more so it points to the fact that people really don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to children, even less so about adoption.

My gut reaction said it all. I replied “my daughter will never be dependant on me, ever, if we don’t put the hard work in now to make her feel dependant on us”. Can you imagine forcing a child to be independent of you before they’re dependant? How cruel and unnecessary. A child, whatever age they are, needs to depend on their parent/s. Without that dependency who could they rely on? How can they feel safe, secure, loved?

Dependency must come before independency. That’s where the hard work comes in and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. I want to carry my child everywhere, I want to meet all her needs, I want her to be totally dependant on me. Then I can help her become independent with her knowing that we’ll always be there for her.

Then she can spread her wings and fly free.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt…..

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

…..We’re going to catch a big one. Preferably a teddy bear on a beautiful day! 

I’ve read this book several times. That’s several times a day, not in total, over the last week! Pickle loves it, and so do I. You know why? Because it’s a time for bonding between us that is tangible, real, lovely, warm, close, exciting. I decided, last week, that I’d start a daily ritual at 10am of milk and book time. Pickle loves her milk in a bottle. At 21 months I’ve been told by several people she’s too old for a milk bottle but it comforts her, relaxes her and she still really enjoys it and it’s created a perfect opportunity for me to read to her every single day and it’s paying off. She loves it!

She gets herself settled in the corner of the settee between the 2 big cushions and waits while I get her milk ready and her books in place. She enjoys it and I love it. At the moment we read, in order, “Giraffes can’t dance”, “Room on a broom”, “what the ladybird heard”, “Guess how much I love you” (where my voice cracks at the end, every time!) and “We’re going on a bear hunt”, her absolute favourite which she’ll let me read to her now without the milk bottle to give her concentration. Sometimes I think I read it too well as she gets a bit scared but she loves it, she’s a thrill seeker (something that we may have to direct healthily later on…..Alton Towers “Oblivion” here we come!) and she’s started following my facial expressions, vocalises as I read and gets very very excited as we near the cave with the bear inside. She climbs on me, sits on me, puts her arms round me, kisses me, kisses the book, looks right in to my eyes as I’m reading and hides in my neck (when we get to the forest!)

Reading to children is always special. But it’s different and even more special when you’re reading it to a child who is building attachments to you and you to them and they feel so safe in your arms and on your lap to be able to allow themselves to get scared and enjoy that thrill. I feel our life is so enriched with Pickle being here and we are honoured to have her in our lives. She’s a very special little girl. And whatever troubles or problems we may encounter along the way….

……we’re not scared. 

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2014 All Rights Reserved

Shortest Blog Ever?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

To sum up…

Things that are going really well = Pickle and her relationship with us.
Things that are going really badly = Other people understanding and listening.

The end! 

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2014 All Rights Reserved

Utter Emotional Exhaustion

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I am forcing myself to do this blog

I don’t want to and I’m not in the mood but it’s been a while and I think I need to write a few bits down to remind myself how brilliant things actually are. I’m tired. No. I’m exhausted. But it’s me who’s exhausting myself. I want to be perfect for Pickle. But I can’t be. Not all the time.

You know how I worked this out? Today I laid down on the sofa. I was so tired I fell asleep while Pickle had her nap and when I woke up I still felt tired. I stumbled upstairs to take her out her cot thinking “I must wake up, I must bounce in to her room ready to be cheery and funny and then bring her downstairs and teach her things and talk all the time and do flash cards and practice words and sounds of letters and sounds of animals and tell her what she’s having for tea and getting straight on it and sitting her at the piano so she can experience music and put music on so we can dance and then I will let her choose several books so I can read to her and then we can play for a bit and maybe even teach her to use a new toy that’s she’s not played with yet because that’ll be really good for her development *takes breath*

Just typing all that out has exhausted me. I bet reading it has!

But I didn’t do any of that. I was SO tired I just gently held her as we walked downstairs, explained that I was tired, that I’d put on CBBees for her and I laid on the sofa. I was too tired to worry about attachment. I was too exhausted to think about having a conversation with her, practicing words or playing. I just lay there, comfy and cosy on the sofa….and you know what, we had the loveliest hour! She didn’t choose to watch the tv on the floor in front of it, she didn’t choose to watch it from the other chair. She didn’t choose to go and play on the other side of the room or cuddle her teddies. Nope! She decided that she would sit with me…..no, not with me, on me!

She scrambled all over me, sat on my head, lay on my back, danced on my legs, walked up and down my back and bounced on my head! She chose to have that contact with me while we were both relaxed and resting. It was an amazing moment of true attachment and bonding which was born out of me reaching my tipping point for exhaustion. And it was lovely. I loved seeing her tiny little feet keep appearing in front of my face, toes wiggling while she got herself comfy to watch Mr Tumble.

I honestly think that you have to think you’ve reached the end of your reserves before you realise that, in fact, you’re doing an amazing job! I will now no longer feel guilty about just taking it a bit easier and simplifying things a bit. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Imperfection is perfection!

Everything Is Ok…..Right?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

It’s been 4 and a half months. 19 weeks, 4 days and 13 hours to be precise 

Not that I’m counting, but you never forget the moment you pick your child up and bring her home forever! I can’t believe it really when I look back. I remember it as a fuzzy haze, although that may have been the summer heat! I can’t even begin to tell you what I expected of this journey, of myself, of my feelings, my expectations. I can’t begin because I honestly don’t know what they were and, even if I could remember, they probably wouldn’t be correct now anyway.

The easiest thing for me to work out recently though was what I expected of myself and what others now expect of our situation. The simplest way for me to explain what I mean is that I expect huge things from myself, I expect to be fully attentive all the time, this all singing all dancing parent who has to make absolutely sure I’m getting the attachment ‘stuff’ right all the time and making her happy all the time, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week (I work one of them and, at the moment, it’s a relief…..not from Pickle but from myself) I put so much pressure on myself to be like this that I’m finally becoming exhausted. I can’t relax. There’s always a problem to my solution, a ying to my yang but not in a good way, more like a conflict in what I do and what’s in my head the entire time, from the moment I’m awake to the moment I’m asleep I do not relax. My head whirring, questioning myself, questioning the situation, questioning Pickle’s behaviour, analysing, over analysing, analysing my behaviour, my responses, my feelings. If I do this will it result in that. If Pickle pushes me away does that mean the attachment is failing. Or does it mean, simply, that she’s fed up with me and wants time alone (fair enough) If she hits me and I tell her off and put her down on the floor is that wrecking any attachment we’ve made, will she ever trust me again, will she remember it “bodily” as a bad experience? Or will it enforce the good behaviour and boundries that children need? If she tips the cats water bowl over for the millionth time and I tell her off (for the millionth time) that’s good right? Because its consistent. Or will it damage her and make her feel bad about herself?

I wrap myself in knots on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. I know I need perspective. I am totally aware of my own anxieties and worries that, although normal for me, are not healthy, logical or true to the situations I find myself in. And all this, all these anxieties, worries and not being able to think straight is all from what we’ve learned along the way. But it’s getting me down now. I need to start thinking more logically.

But what I also struggle with is the expectation from people (friends and, even, family) of everything to be just fine now. And it can’t be. Not after this short time. I want it to be. I need it to be. But it’s me who’s not fine & that’s not taken in to account. I have friends who pick her up, carrying her off. I have friends who tell me “but all children are like that” in response to whatever I’m saying. It’s dismissive and it’s leading me to not want to tell them how it’s going and how I’m feeling. It makes me extra vigilant about where Pickle is when I’m with other people because I don’t want her picked up by anyone else for no reason other than for their own satisfaction. We’re supposed to be working hard at securing her attachment to us and us to her, how can that happen around other people if they refuse to encourage that attachment. I’m tempted to just don a smile and say “brilliant, everything is going really well”. And really, it is, it’s going well. It’s just hard when you’re this anxious all the time and worried about doing it right all the time.

How much pressure can I put on myself before things start to crumble?

Must remember to smile! 

First Illness

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

I have amazed myself that I haven’t been ill before now! 

We’re 4 months in and I’ve not had even a whiff of a cold. This is how my body is and always will be. It keeps on going, much like the Duracell bunny, and then all of a sudden it’ll stop, dead in its tracks, with no power left. And that’s how it’s felt for the last couple of days.

I’ve obviously had some sort of virus and, god, has it sapped me of all energy. It picked a good time. Just in the new year, very quiet, nothing to do…and sods law feeling better just in time for my 10 hour day at work tomorrow – typical. But I feel like it [my body] wanted to get me over some rather large hurdles and challenges before it crashed; Meeting Pickle, moving in, settling her in, settling her in some more, connecting, working hard to make her feel safe and secure, settling her in even more, introducing her to certain people, settling her a little bit more…..and then Christmas!

We got through it though, my body and me, but this was the time it wanted to go “hey, my turn for a rest”. And it got what it wanted.

What’s surprised me, more than anything, is that when you don’t feel you can do it (parent perfectly) it’s amazing how when you’re ill that you realise you are, in fact, doing a bloody marvellous job! When you feel you’ve got no reserve left there’s a little bit more left, right at the back somewhere, that you pluck out when you most need it. And that’s what I realised the adoption process is looking for in someone.

No I’m not perfect. Yes I may have snapped a little when Pickle chose to moan at me for an entire day when I was ill and I felt I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it other than snap back. But, you know what, it wasn’t all day and it wasn’t bad. It was just a moment or two where I acted, god forbid, like a human being.

I moaned because I was tired and I whined because I was ill. It happens. It just made me realise that, most of the time, I do a much better job than a lot of people and I don’t assume I’m doing a great job all the time. It also reminded me to ease up on myself and stop applying pressure all the time to be so fantastic that I’ll wear myself out.

And finally (but not least) it reminded me just how lucky we are to have Pickle in our lives. She is absolutely amazing, even when I’ve been ill. And she’s human too so she’s had her moments but on the whole she’s brilliant! And I need to keep going if only for her, even if I get ill, I know now that I can do it.

Now, pass me a couple of new batteries and I’ll be on my way! 

Going It Alone…(a second time)

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Today Daddy P went back to work….and I hated it!

So did Pickle. I could tell. For a start I feel like I’ve got some sort of flu virus, body is a wreck. And on top of that I’m having to go it alone again. I say again because I feel that now we’ve been off again together over christmas, which has been lovely, it’s like a repeat of the anxiety I felt from him going back to work the first time round having had 8 weeks off to settle Pickle in with us. I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own again. It’s funny that, through the entire adoption process I always thought of it as a joint venture, something we’d do together. And it certainly has been that way, emotionally. Daddy P is the best husband ever, he’s just the best! And he’s the best Daddy in the world too. He’s attentive, supportive, understanding. I don’t like to call them “hands on Dads” because, quite frankly, both people in the couple should be part of their children’s lives. So, for want of a better phrase, he is very much a “hands on Dad”. Which makes him going back to work that all the more difficult to bear.

It’s great when it’s the 2 of us, Pickle and I. And it’s great when it’s the 2 of them, Pickle and Daddy P. But there’s something really special about the 3 of us being together….and, of course 4 when we’re at home, can’t forget our Jack who, as it happens, is becoming more like her partner in crime every day!

It’s been lovely being together over Christmas (the thing I enjoy the most about the “festive” period!)  spending time together and the bond and connection has increased in leaps and bounds, it’s been amazing. So it was in stark contrast having today on our own.

We managed it though, we have lots of fun and it’s not about me not wanting to do it on my own or that I struggle, me and Pickle are very good at busying ourselves. It’s just that we miss him when he’s not around with us. It’s easier with 2, physically, practically and emotionally. I wish we could do it together all the time.

We just need to win the lottery.