Fran Jorgensen Photography |

By Cathy Oliver

On days like today

… I’m aware of my limits. They skulk angrily before me, as I swallow impulse after impulse, trying to breathe, focus, stop my emotion from spilling over.

… my body screams not to be touched as you cling to my legs, pull at my hair, dig your nails into the skin on my chest.

… being present is like running through sand. My responses wane to a dim flicker. I want to turn away, curl my body into itself, become invisible.

… I snap. I hate myself for it. I hear my raised voice from a distance. Don’t. Be a gentle, stable guide. But that’s not what’s happening inside of me.

… I question every decision I have made. Why are you so irritable? Why aren’t you more secure? I know the answers, that tomorrow will be different, but doubt is a creep.

On days like today

… I see your mind is full. You try to speak to me without words, to walk without falling; neurons and synapses form, connect, spark frustration in you.

… you need comfort and attention. But mine is threadbare, distracted, inadequate.

… my stomach throbs with guilt as I watch your sleeping face and know that you don’t understand what you feel. I am the rock on which the lighthouse stands.

… you look directly at me and I recognise your need for connection, your reliance on that certainty. Then, I know, the centre can hold.

On days like today

… I am your mother, giving you everything that I am, and hoping it is enough.

Cathy Oliver is a 30-year-old first time mum to Alice. She writes over at Mummy Woman. Head to Instagram to follow their journey in pictures, and don’t forget to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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