I could not think of a more apt title for how I was feeling almost every day of my life since I became a mother.
The joy of mothering and the joy of simply breastfeeding my child and the feeling of being wanted even if was just for food, was just heavenly. I suffered more while breastfeeding than I actually enjoyed cooing and singing through it. But I still persevered through weekly blocked ducts and blisters and you name it, I’ve painfully experienced it. I was blessed with a God-sent Lactation consultant who taught me how to cope with the difficulties that just never seemed to cease. My husband was a pillar of support who was my strength. Without them, I would have stopped a long time ago.
My daughter is turning 3 in July and she has finally (and very sadly) stopped breastfeeding at 30 months. Just this end January, she stopped. Didn’t ask for feeding and just tried to sleep on her own. I felt empty. Like a gush of cold wind passing through my soul. I felt lost. My daughter didn’t need me anymore. I was no longer needed. I am sure she was not thinking as I was but I felt lonely. It was special for me when I used to feed her. She would touch my face. Talk to me. And then it stopped. Now I gotta work even harder to find moments to recapture that bond.
I am a working mother. I am an educator (I teach). I drop off my daughter at the childcare center at 7am in the morning because I need to rush down to school for the assembly period. My daughter is the first child there. It breaks my heart and I was judged by a few. But it’s become a routine now. We fetch her (at least I do), at 6pm (at the very latest). And she is now one of the ‘leftovers’. It tears me apart when she (together with her group of 12-14 friends), sit in a playroom, read and flip pages while waiting to be picked up. What are they feeling? How does she feel?
She once told me “Mommah why go work? Why fetch me so late?” My heart is no longer whole to be broken anymore. What have I done? My daughter loves school. She learns so much. She loves her friends and teachers. But I feel she wants to be picked up earlier. She wants to spend more time with us. When I stand at the glass doors of her childcare center, and when she sees me, she comes running with so much joy and smiles that subtly speak “Mommah you are here!!”
Have I made a mistake to return to work? Should I have continued being a stay home mum? When people judge me and pass comments about my daughter being in full day child care, I feel really useless. I can’t speak the same for daddy. He feels terrible coming home later and having so little time for her.
Someone told me that I should make it quality time and not bothered about the quantity. Make memorable moments count. And to stop feeling guilty about being a working mum. Working mums love their children too.