Guilt. Yes I feel guilty. I feel guilty for working and leaving my child. I feel guilty for not working and not contributing financially to the family home. I feel guilty for neglecting my husband. I feel guilty for wishing it was Theo’s bedtime and / or nap time RIGHT NOW (I need wine!). I feel guilty for not stimulating him enough. I feel guilty for being on Facebook and neglecting him. I feel guilty for smothering him and not allowing him to be independent. I feel guilty that he doesn’t have a sibling to play with. I feel guilty that I am considering a second and he may feel second best. Most of all, I feel guilty for bringing him into a broken world.
The list goes on. As we all know. But more despairingly, recently I have been plagued with guilt for OTHER peoples’ children. My friends who tried to breastfeed but couldn’t in the end. Did I give them bad advise? Was I not there enough for them? Was I too pushy that it felt like pressure? The parents I see in the street who are clearly struggling. 1 push chair, 3 screaming kids, 5 bags of shopping. I want to help. But how can I? I look into a mother’s eyes, and with just one look I feel their exact emotion. Desperation, exhaustion, resignation. Because I have been there. And very often, I am there. And for this I feel guilty. But most of all, I feel guilty about us all bringing a generation into the world that is so full of death, pain and sadness. A world that us thoughtless and selfish humans have created ourselves. I ask, how can we do this to our children?
I seem to be taking the weight of the world on my shoulders. I feel very negative. Every day in the TV and in the newspapers I am bombarded by horrendous events that we are inflicting on ourselves. There is SO much pain in humanity. Why can’t we just fix the world we live in? I can relate to the breastfeeding mother, and the parent struggling in the street. But if I looked into the eyes of a Syrian mother, how could I possibly understand her pain? It makes my worry about stimulating Theo enough seem pathetic. She just wants her baby to survive. Then I look at Theo’s innocent face, and he has no idea what is going on in Turkey, Syria, France. I wish I had his naivety. I wish I didn’t know what was happening too. Can I be a child again please? Just for a second?
But then I take my eyes off the death TV, and I look out the window. And if I squint, I can just make out a glimmer of hope.
I see that for every horrid action by a fellow human being that happens, there are even more fabulous human beings out there doing amazing work. The charity workers in Africa building schools and drinking wells. The doctors and nurses looking after our poorly babies. The army rescuing our children in Syria. This does’t get reported every second of every day. Why? I want to know why? We need hope to cling to. Inspiration to see our bright future. Why won’t you give us that? I want to look into the eyes of these wonderful people, and I want to feel their emotions. Their fight and their bravery. And I hope that perhaps Theo will choose to be one of these people that makes a difference. A person that will fight for our humanity.
I am feeling so much guilt about the world I have brought my son in to, because I am only seeing a very biased version of the world. They are only showing us the shit. Enough of the shit already. So I pray to the media, show us some love. It is out there. I know it is. Give our children a reason to be positive about the future of our world and of the human race. And the rest of us common folk as well. After all, we are one human race. And we only have one world. A world I no longer want to feel guilty about.