Two years on

My son turns two today, and what a phenomenal couple of years it’s been.

I’ve been truly overwhelmed with emotion, suffered from depression and experienced the strongest feelings of love, pride and longing I’ve ever known.

Mum must have been worried. I called her and when I tried to speak I just broke down. I sobbed and sobbed, unable to get a word out.

I’d just discovered what it was like to be truly overwhelmed with emotion. 78 minutes earlier my son was born. I didn’t know what I was feeling.

He was quiet when he arrived and after a brief moment where his Mum (physically exhausted) held him and I looked down at him, he was taken into the corner and doctors and midwives crowded around him. There was a machine. They were helping him to breath.

A week later and we were back in hospital – he hadn’t been feeding well, his weight had dropped and he was jaundiced. He recovered well and we were back home after two nights, thankfully.

Once the initial period of shock at having a new born was over and we’d forgotten what life was like without the boy, I began to become ill.

Having never had any interest in being a Dad, attending to a child who mostly did nothing but sleep, shit, puke and keep you awake at night was not the most thrilling time for me.

Yes, babies are very cute especially when they’re yours and look exactly like you, but let’s be honest – they’re a pain in the ass.

Work wasn’t going as well as I’d like and as a freelancer and sole earner in the household, that sent my stress levels, along with the tiredness, to new highs.

My partner and I started to disagree on things, like sleeping arrangements, and feeding. I didn’t have the emotional energy to do anything other than let her get on with it in her own way.

I began to resent the limited time I was able to spend with my son because I needed to work. Then I started to worry about our finances. We just weren’t getting enough money in. We were heading for the red.

Promises my ex made to look for work were broken. I gave up my dream of being my own boss and took a salaried job to give us more security and to ease the stress I was feeling. It still wasn’t enough.

On many occasions I felt like I couldn’t cope and came close to leaving. But that baby had become a little boy. He was starting to develop speech, to walk, he had personality.

My relationship with his Mom hadn’t been great but I realised I couldn’t carry on feeling so miserable about the situation. I decided it was time to make a concerted effort to be happy with my little family. For a while, it worked. But it had an unexpected – and incredibly foolish – consequence.

Another baby.

As with the boy, the pregnancy was hidden from me. That was the last straw in the relationship. I’d been lied to and deceived twice in the most dire way I can think of. There was no longer any prospect of a happy, trusting relationship. No matter what the consequence, it had to end, and it did.

The fall out pushed me to the edge. I was forced out of my home, limited to less than a day and a half with my son over a six week period, and denied any insight into the well-being of my unborn child. I had to seek professional help in order to survive, and to come clean with family and friends about the depression I was going through so as to seek their love and support.

I was overwhelmed again. I lost weight through lack of appetite, lost sleep through worry and had nose bleeds thanks to high blood pressure.

Most of all, I discovered how it felt to miss someone so much it hurt.

But then things got better. I reclaimed the home we’d raised our son in and secured regular time with him, including overnight stays. My job also changed providing me with more financial security and a huge amount of time flexibility.

Now I was able to spend more time with my son than I ever had before. I had to refurnish our home and I was finally able to put some more effort into making the boy’s room more interesting for him. He loved it 🙂

We’ve had some fantastic days out together and have formed some more little “in jokes” of sorts. He’s seen more of friends and family because I’m more able to arrange days out with them, and he’s been especially loving playing with his cousins.

More than ever I’ve helped him to learn words, colours and numbers. I’ve discovered how good it feels to be truly proud.

As I sat on the floor one day a few weeks ago, playing with him, I pulled him towards me and told him I loved him, and kissed him on the cheek.

He hugged me and then kissed me square on the lips and looked in my eyes.

I discovered the strength of love between me and my little man.

As I flick through photos and videos from the past two years I can’t help the beaming smile that emerges on my face. The odd tear of happiness and pride.

He was never meant to be, and I never wanted him, but I’m filled to the brim with excitement about the extra joy and pride he will bring and the experiences we are bound to share.

Happy birthday little man. I love you 🙂

Two years on

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