The week I lost my daughter

It’s been just under a month since we got back from a six week trip to the U.K and the time has past in a maddening show of fast and slow jolts. It’s been a tough few weeks diving straight back into work and projects but it’s been an even tougher few weeks with Rosie. You see, when we arrived back, it felt like we had left our bubbly little ray of sunshine in England and an overwhelming display of anger had taken its place.

From stepping back on SA soil, Rosie was enraged.
It was a huge adjustment to go from a bustling household of six (Mr H and I, my parents and my brother and sister) to an empty house of cold floors and echoing rooms. It was also a shock to be placed in her own room again as she had been sharing our room, in a travel cot, and she demonstrated her disgust in murderous screams which made us move her back into our room. Needless to say, none of us slept for the first 3-4 nights. I then had the clever idea of borrowing a friend’s travel cot and it worked a charm, I could place her in her own room without starting a fit…but she still would wake up numerous times in the night and refuse to be comforted unless lying in our bed by Mr H.
In the day she would throw the biggest tantrums, screaming, rolling on the floor and hitting me in the face. It was horrible. She didn’t like going back to playgroup, and she didn’t like to be with me. She looked so torn and I didn’t know what to do.

I told myself, and everyone else, that it was teething but secretly I was so scared that I had lost my baby. She just wasn’t herself and as I busied myself further with work, I couldn’t fight this feeling of despair.

Then, after three nights of raging fevers, coughing and no teeth, I decided to take out of playgroup and go to the doctor. There was nothing wrong, just teething, but we spent the day together and when we got home, we played the rest of the afternoon. That night, she slept through.

In the morning, besides one “I hate my nappy being changed” fight, she was a changed girl and we had such a lovely time chasing each other around the house, pretending to be different animals, and playing hide and seek. That night, she also slept through.

It was then that I realized, I hadn’t lost my daughter, my daughter had lost me.

She had just spent six weeks being the center of mine, and everyone’s attention to suddenly having to be shared with mummy’s growing workload. She was no longer in the same room as us, and it must have felt like her mummy didn’t want to even be near her. Her poor little heart was breaking and the only way she knew how to get a reaction was to act up – because we all know, in a world of loneliness, sometimes, even the wrong kind of attention is better than nothing.

I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this but thankful also that she has, essentially, forgiven me; I can drop her off at playgroup and she waves me goodbye happily because she knows that when I collect her later, I am completely hers; when we get home, she has all of my time and we play together, read together, and chase each other until bedtime. She is now back in her cot (the travel cot has been put away) and we are now on night 5 of her sleeping through all because I know that she needs me and she needs to feel loved.

I dig working for myself and seeing my businesses grow but the cost can sometimes be higher than I am willing to pay.

To all the parents grafting and balancing kids, hats off to you, you are actual superstars.

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