I’m a failure as a mum

That’s what my brain keeps telling me at the moment. No matter how many people tell me I’m not, there’s no louder voice than the one in my head. And it’s reminding me numerous times a day that I’ve failed at the one thing I wanted to be: a good mummy.

This is my end goal – motherhood. It’s exactly what I ever wanted and dreamed about. So many years of my life were spent planning what kind of mother I will be and here I am, with 2 amazing boys, feeling like I’ve failed them. One has a broken collarbone and the other one has been so poorly with a viral infection he ended up in the children’s hospital. I failed to protect them. I failed to keep them safe. I failed at the most important part of my job description and it hurts.

Yes I know sometimes these things can’t be helped.

Yes I know that’s it’s not my fault.

Yes I know that I’ve been a good mum.

BUT none of that seems to matter to the little voice in my head right now. That voice is telling me: this might have been helped, if I did X, Y and Z maybe it wouldn’t have happened, it doesn’t matter how much of a good mum I’ve been before, I still wasn’t good enough this time.

I’m spending my days bobbing up and down on waves of emotion. I can be so happy one minute: playing with the boys, all 3 of us laughing. BUT then that little voice steals the moment and just like that I’m cry I again. The voice reminds me I have no right to be happy because they’ve been hurting and I should have protected them. I should have stopped Otis from running. I should have caught him. I should have used more hand gel whilst sorting through the shopping. I should have bathed Eddison every night. I should, I should, I should…….

I’m well aware that this rollercoaster I feel I’m on is a sign of depression. In fact I’m well aware that the feelings of being an inadequate mother, knowing my boys deserve better is a typical sign of post-natal depression. But I don’t have a new baby so instead this feeling is labelled as “mum guilt” and my goodness mum guilt is the most torturous thing in the world. When I say torture I really mean torture, a mental and emotional kind.

So here it comes, the apologies I feel I need to make:

I’m sorry Otis and Eddison that I’ve failed at being a mum. I’m sorry husband that I have no energy for anything. I’m sorry everyone that I’m not myself. I’m sorry I’m making no effort with anyone. I’m sorry I’m not replying to or even reading all my messages. I’m sorry I can’t shrug this off as I usually would.

This is just how I’m feeling right now. It’s not ok, but it is understandable and I think because I can understand why I feel like this, I’m going to be ok.

The honest confessions of a mum with a newborn during lockdown


2 months old. That’s how old my baby was  on 19th March when we had to self isolate due to us all having a persistent cough: a virus symptom. During our isolation, on 23rd March a national lockdown began with no idea of when we can see our families and friends again. So here are my feelings about this situation and my thought process.

I’m worried people won’t love my baby as much as my toddler. As heartbreaking as that sounds, it’s even more heartbreaking to think because it’s true. I am genuinely worried that people won’t love my baby as much as they love our other son. I’m worried that he’s not able to bond with anyone and they’re not able to bond with him. I’m grateful for social media and for family etc to be able to see what he’s up to, but they can’t physically see him and he can’t see them and it tears me apart thinking how much time is slipping away. I ask myself how can they love him just as much without having this time with him, to see his changes and development and to be the reason behind his smiles and laughter. I can’t stop crying about it: in the bath and at night. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about these feelings because they might just tell me I’m being stupid or something. Of course you can love someone unconditionally without really knowing them, but is unconditional love enough? What about a love that’s built on memories, moments, a bond…..? I want that for my baby and as a mother I should be exposing him to opportunities for this and I can’t. It’s a feeling that physically hurts in my chest when I think about it.

I’m also anxious that my baby’s development will be delayed. Will his social skills suffer? Will he lack confidence? Will he struggle in social gatherings? Will he be cautious of new people? Will he struggle to make friends? Will he trust people? Will he be happy in the company of other people? Will meeting people make him uncomfortable? Will he find it difficult to build relationships – to love and trust people?

So many questions and no answers. People may think they know the answers, but reality is that nobody could possibly know the affect this will have on my baby. It’s not happened before. People can’t time travel. We are in uncharted territory at the moment and as a mum I worry about the impact it’s having on my baby, much more than my toddler who has already developed such skills in this area.  It’s only when you have a newborn baby at home with you that you realise how much they take in every day and how everything affects them. Yes he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in the world, but for him this is normal and that very idea is what terrifies me. His normality is a far cry from our usual, every-day lives as a family. Will he adjust ok when things change for him? I have no idea.

I feel robbed of our time together, just him and I. His older brother should be in pre-school 3 days a week now. This is a reason we waited for this age gap so I could have time one-to-one with him, just like my eldest son had. I had so many plans for the baby groups and play dates we should be attending and memories we should be making- as just a mother and her son. I feel like I’m grieving for those lost moments because although we will have some when this is all over, we would have already lost so much time and experiences we were meant to have together. I’m trying to take the positive from it being that the two boys now have the opportunity to form such a lovely and strong bond together, but I still feel guilt that I can’t give my baby all of me throughout some of the days.

So those are my confessions: brutal and honest. My head and my heart are hurting right now and I’m locked in a battle with myself about what kind of mum I’m supposed to be to my baby. I’m keeping him safe, which is the most important thing, but what is the sacrifice? None of us really know yet.