Man’s greatest enemy is thy self. That is indeed true in my case.
Other than being preoccupied with my commitments and responsibilities, my mind is constantly battling inner emotions.
One of my biggest battle is the guilt I felt towards my younger son Xiao Miao Miao (XMM). He entered our lives just when we were celebrating our new found life with XXM. It was a pleasant surprise for us. We wanted to share our love , time, bed everything that we did with XXM with XMM. So for the first four months of his life, we slept together. Often, I have to deal with two crying kids cos either one will wake up the other. If I get XMM well settled, full and comfy, XXM will be the one to wake him up with his cries. If XXM is sleeping soundly, XMM will wake him up with his night feeds. It was a difficult situation as neither child can sleep well, let alone Meow and myself. I had already returned to the workforce when both kids are three months old. It was a real struggle working, studying and looking after both boys. But I told myself I have to do it. My time is all used up and it is only that few hours of nap time that my boys can feel me, smell me and feel me breathing beside them. I have to make my presence known somehow.
One day, XXM fell ill. He was coughing frequently into the night for nearly a week. He couldn’t sleep well and his discomfort caused him to wake up frequently. Whenever he does so, meow had to hurriedly carry XMM out of the room for fear of waking him up. It was a real test for us. Meow is very obliging. He knew of my insecurities and really goes out of his way to oblige me and help me with the kids. Sadly to say, I know I don’t appreciate him enough for all that he does. I was probably up the entire night, calming down one boy or the other. Usually I can go back to bed at 5am. But at 6.30am, my trusty alarm clock will ring. I wasn’t getting much rest at all, considering I usually get home at around 11pm. I gritted my teeth and bore it all.
But, then I finally decided to throw in the towel. My MIL has always opposed to both boys co sleeping with us. She knows that I am tired. So she offers to take care of them at night. We didn’t let her for XXM cos she’s quite elderly (coming to 70 years old). We wanted her to rest after looking after XXM for an entire day. However, when XMM came along, we knew she needed help even though she insisted she could manage. So our maid came along when XMM was four months old. With her in the picture, my MIL was even more insistent that XMM should not sleep with us and that both of them can take turns looking after the boy. Meow was always the one who backed me up. So when XXM fell sick, even though we struggled, we simply refused to give up our rights as nurturing parents. I finally did. Why? Because I was afraid XMM will get the virus and he may lacked the immunity considering he was only a newborn.
That night, I reluctantly gave him up. Prior to it, meow and I had a discussion. We know that once he is out of our rooms, it will be difficult to get him back in. And yes, it has been so. XMM is 10 months old now. Initially we assured ourselves that we will take care of him on weekends. We tried a couple of times but the outcome is always the same, we have to carry XMM out in the middle of the night cos his crying will wake up XXM. Over and over again, this repeated itself. We have finally resigned our current sleeping arrangements. We told ourselves we will get him in again when he can sleep through the night which we estimate when he turns one. However I have my doubts. XXM is not a deep sleeper and at least once or twice a week, he will wake up crying. His biological clock is tuned to my activities such that when I return from class, he will wake up to look for me. When I leave the bed, he can sense it too. I do not know how we will mange unless XXM leaves the room.
So, can u imagine the guilt I carry upon myself. Meow has been constantly reassuring me that I am not a bad mother and there are more irresponsible parents out there who even though they are able to, they leave their children in the care of a caregiver while they enjoy themselves. He says we are victims of circumstances and I really shouldn’t reproach myself too much. But I cannot help it. I believe this knot in my heart can only be released when I regain XMM. He is starting to show preference for the maid over me. I don’t know if he will be used to us again. How I miss my boy next door.