I don't think this will be my "issues with motherhood" post, but I was reading Vada's post over on Mormon Mommy Wars and it got me thinking about my own son with disabilities. My youngest son is a year old. He's blind. It was such an odd experience, when even at a month and half old, I could tell that something was wrong with his eyes. I knew it was true, but didn't want it to be true. I kept telling myself that blindness wasn't so bad, that there are worse disabilities to have, that if he was really blind, he's still be able to live a functional life. But when we finally saw an ophthalmologist at six months, we were heart broken to have it confirmed.
I don't know how to express how overwhelming it is to be the parent of a blind child. How painful it is to hear people tell you how special you must be to have received such a child when you know so deeply your own inadequacies. To feel the pressure that such statements put on you to do a stellar job of raising your child. People keep telling me that I'm the perfect mother to have such a child, but only I know how dark my parenting days get sometimes. Only I know how resentful I sometimes get at being a mother when I could have been doing other things right now. Only I know how much I struggle doing little kid things. They couldn't be more wrong when they say things like that. I live in constant fear of having my son grow up and think that he might have been better off had he had a more adequate mommy.
And to make it worse, I know how important it is to do things right. To balance his needs with the needs of my older son who is normal. To make sure I explain enough to this little guy so that he makes those connections that are second nature to my sighted child. And yet I feel like most days are abject failures. Days when I get so scared and overwhelmed that I sit and stare at the computer so that I don't have to deal with all this. I love my boys more than I ever thought possible. I feed them, clean them, clothe them, but sometimes I worry that I'm failing them miserably because I'm not emotionally able to handle their needs. Do they know I love them? I think that's what scares me to death--is that they might doubt that. That they might grow up, look back, and doubt that I was doing my best and that I loved them.