To My Dearest Children,
How do I begin to apologise for the two years of your lives that I was not there for you? How will I ever be able to make it up to you? I pray every night that I did not make you suffer in any way.
I have no excuses, I was ill.
I do not remember when my two youngest sons first crawled, when their first little teeth grew or when they took their first steps. I fed them, I held them, I loved them, yet I hold no memories of those 2 years.
I had 3 babies in 3 years and in those 3 years my mental health was under great strain. I remember something and then nothing, the memories go blank. Perhaps that time of my life is still too painful for me to think about, that time has been locked away, stored for when I am strong enough to face it.
The only thoughts that do come to me are that I let you down and I failed you.
I remember fear, guilt, loneliness and endless appointments. I remember not wanting to love you.
I had you two little boys, born within eleven months of each other, born to a mentally unstable mother. What hope did you ever have?
You three eldest children I hope I protected from the craziness of my world, we would make excuses that I was not feeling well, had a headache or had been up all night, if you ever asked questions on a morning. I would at times spend up to 6 hours each day alone, crying, afraid in my bedroom.
I never wanted any of you to see me this way. I stayed out of the way. If we knew a mood swing was approaching, like a child I would be summoned to my room, it was the only way to keep you safe. I was not good for you.
Thankfully your dad/step dad was amazing and such a great support, he took over my role. He cared for you, while I sat still in the background. He made the meals as your mother wanted to fry her hands in the chip pan rather than fry food. He had to help bath you, as I would see flashing images of you sinking under the water.
I could not leave the house alone; he took you for your first injections. That’s a mother’s job, yet I was not able too. Not only did he have to look after you, he had to look after me too.
Everyone around me was running, yet I was stood still.
I was afraid to be alone with you, frightened that I would hurt you, not intentionally but the shadows were chasing me and I had no sense of what or who was real. I would check doors and windows constantly during the night.
I never slept; I paced the house during the bedtime hours. I would sit beside you all while you slept and I would silently cry, you deserved so much better than me. I remember that pain, the ache in my heart that I wanted to hold you, touch you, yet I couldn’t.
I could not hug you, I pushed you all away. Desperately trying not to make you love me, for I knew at one point, I would be leaving you all. I thought by pushing you away, you would learn to accept life without me in it. So if I did leave you, it would not hurt you.
I loved you all so much that it physically hurt me; I would feel this wave of guilt, frustration that I was unable to tell you how much you all meant to me. That every part of my body and soul was being torn into tiny shreds, because I was not your mother, I was someone, existing not living.
“Mums got a poorly head” was the only explanation given to you.
Mums head sure was poorly. My life was screwed up and you were all stuck right in the middle of it.
I am so sorry for those 2 years, perhaps even longer that I was not the mother that all 6 of you deserved. I can’t even say I tried, as just surviving a day was a battle.
I am sorry for wanting to not be here, thinking you were all better off without me.
But what I can promise you is this, I have always loved you with every breath in my body and I always will.
I will fight this illness; I will not give into it. My love for you and my desperation to be the best mother I can be is much stronger than this illness.
Whenever I feel I am not able to carry on, all I have to do is look at each of you to know that I have done something right in my life and that something is each one of you.
I am not useless, I am loved, I am able to be a great mother despite my illness and this reflects in your eyes. You have no idea how much it hurts to know I missed so much of your lives. Yet I promise you all that I will do everything in my power to prevent me missing any more.
You give me the reason to live, to want to be strong and you make me want to be a better person. I want you to look back on your childhood and say “While mum was not perfect, she tried her best”.
Your Loving Mother