When it comes to my eldest child Amelia, over the past few years I felt a constant guilt, and I probably always will slightly. Guilt that I feel she didn’t have the best of me, I always say my third child has had the ‘best version’ of me as a mum.
Amelia has seen me angry, scared, and crying. I feel awful that she has seen me like this. I’ve had times in the past where I’d sit crying on the kitchen floor, she would come over and say ‘I know what will make you happy’ and make a heart shape with her hands. When my anxiety was at its worse and I would have a panic attack before leaving the house, she would say ‘you can do this mum’ – I had tried so hard to hide these from her, I didn’t want her to pick up on my anxieties and copy.
I’d always be worrying that anxieties and depression would have a negative impact on her. The added stress of my anxiety preventing me from going out much, would this have an impact on her confidence? I was worried she would think I didn’t love her or that she didn’t love me because Mummy was always sad or angry. I tried to make up for these things by doing lots with her at home and I constantly told her and reassured her that I love her.
She would always want my husband instead of me, and it broke my heart each time she would run to him for comfort over me. At the time I believed that it’s because She didn’t care for me and I must be a terrible mum. But I can now look back rationally and see that my husband was at work all day so she hardly saw him, also I had to discipline the kids when they were naughty so of course I am a bit of the bad guy. It was the same with me and my brother and our parents. Also she has him wrapped round her finger and he is a sucker for her sweet ways!
As I’ve been recovering I can see that she’s not been affected-not in a negative way. She’s definitely a mini me but she hasn’t got the anxieties, she’s confident and outgoing. She’s happy and full of life. And we have a brilliant bond. Those times I’ve had a panic attack in front of her, and fought it, she’s witnessed strength, and learnt to carry on through difficulties and face your fears. She’s compassionate when someone’s sad and tried to cheer them up. I am so proud of her qualities. She will always be a daddy’s girl but as she tells me each day ‘we are the ladies mummy and we are best friends!’ – I’ve obviously done something right.
So please don’t feel guilty, your children know you love them. At our worst moments we still put their needs first and that’s what they will remember.