I just need to get this off my chest.
I have two children who are 18 months apart. Unfortunately, we don’t have any family nearby to help out, and even when my parents visit, they don’t offer much assistance with the kids.
When I had my first child, we had just moved to a new town because of my job, so I didn’t have any close friends nearby. My husband worked overnight, and I worked during the day, so we hardly saw each other. It was a constant juggling act between work and taking care of the kids. I was exhausted, and there was no time for myself.
My oldest child didn’t sleep through the night until almost two years old, and was a high-demand baby who always needed attention. I was chronically sleep deprived, to the point where I don’t remember much of those three years. The lack of sleep affected my memory retention, and it saddens me deeply that I can’t recall many moments with my babies.
It wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and we transitioned to remote work that I finally had some reprieve and could get some sleep. With the daycare still open a few days a week, I took the opportunity to rest. Those months of uninterrupted sleep made such a difference, and I don’t know how I would have coped without them. However, I believe I may have developed CPTSD from those challenging years.
It breaks my heart that I don’t have vivid memories of my children’s early years. I survived, and they did too, but it still matters to me. I try to reassure myself that it’s okay, that I made it through, but deep down, it hurts.
I’m also angry at everyone who just left me to fend for myself with two young kids while my husband worked overnight and I had a day job. People were thrilled when I was pregnant, but none of them offered any help. I just needed someone to say, “I’ll drive over and watch the baby while you take a nap or exercise” every now and then.
Living in a state with a strong emphasis on family and close-knit communities, I felt like an outsider because we didn’t have family living nearby. Many of my friends had parents who moved to the same neighborhood when they had kids or had mothers who stayed during the week to help out. The inequity of it all, with others enjoying free childcare from their parents while we struggled to pay for daycare, infuriates me. It’s disheartening to see them go on vacations with their kids while mine wonder why we can’t do the same.
The friends who were so excited about my pregnancy never bothered to check if I was okay. I was incredibly lonely. No one cared. They abandoned me. My parents were retired, and as an only child, I had hoped they would consider moving closer to support us, but they never did. It hurts like hell to see other moms receiving help, both physically and financially, from their families while mine just turned their backs on us. Even extended family members who lived far away expected us to visit them, disregarding our financial struggles and the fact that we had young children.
I’m still furious about it, and I probably always will be. I was drowning, and if it weren’t for the sleep break I got during the Covid lockdown (though I feel guilty for being grateful for it considering the loss and suffering experienced by so many), I don’t know if I would have made it.
Thank you for reading my venting session. I don’t think my husband fully understands and perhaps never will. But to all those who abandoned us when I needed support the most, fuck all of them. Now that my kids are older and my husband works during the day, everything is much better. But I’ll never be able to retrieve those lost memories of my babies.