There is a sort of guilt that can have such a firm grip. The sort of guilt that leaves that funny feeling at the back of your throat when you swallow. It leaves you tired, exhausted from over thinking and processing.
It all started with the baby, my beautiful baby boy. I welcomed him into the family with a series of usual traditions, we spent hours just staring at him as if he was something completely unknown to us, we dressed him in all whites and smelt his head. We kissed him and picked his fingers from his tight clenched hands just to admire them and talk about how tiny they were. Francis helped me bath him for the first time, he watched over my shoulder as I washed his newborn body. Francis showed no emotion at this point, there were no questions or smiley faces he just took it all in.
We spent days in our dressing gowns taking it in turns to rock the baby, I spent most of the time breastfeeding and drinking tea whilst Francis happily drew pictures in his new colouring book. There was something so special about these moments something slow and effortless, our family, our home just simple togetherness.
I didn’t notice the very slight panic in Francis’s face as he watched me breastfeed, I hadn’t quite noticed him at all at this point I was so busy smiling softly at my sleeping baby.
Soon enough the slow paced days were replaced with the hectic week day routines. The nursery run, the house chores, the meal planning, food shop and everyday life was suddenly in full swing. The familiarity of these chaotic days brought me closer to Francis, remembering the time when it was just us rushing to find socks in the morning and eating cereal on the kitchen tops.
It was at this point I noticed the distance between Francis and I. He didn’t want to laugh with me or make pillow mountains on the floor, he stopped begging me for biscuits in the morning or nestling under my covers late at night. There was a sadness for both of us it was as if someone had taken something away but we couldn’t figure out what it was.
I over compensated in the form of chocolate lolly pops and cheap plastic toys, I took him to soft play more often than normal and made myself feel better about his well being. Convinced we were OK – he was ok I left it and we carried on.
As soon as the false comfort lifted, I was able to see clearly and noticed that everything was still raw for Francis. After having me to himself for all that time he was obviously having a tough time. Rather than wallow in the depths of guilt I decided to bring the family together working on balance and unity. Without each other the sides start to fall down – we are a team and Benjamin Wilbur is now part of that team.
A work in progress….