Whine… Wine… No Seriously… Send Some Cheese To Go With My Whine!

I saw this post on Adoption Answer’s Face Book page over the weekend:


Ponder that while I write a disclaimer will you?

*Disclaimer: what’s about to follow may seem like a whole lot of ungratefulness and for that I do apologize. Those who are struggling with infertility will think I’m ungrateful, those who have not, may be surprised by what I’m about to say, but try to remember, no matter how we came to the place of motherhood,no matter the journey, we are all struggling with similar issues. This is not a post about gratitude. God knows, I wouldn’t change my family for a thing… but so help me God… this weekend…..

I tweeted this over the weekend:

“I can with 100% certainty say, if Hannah had been our first born, she would  have been an only child.”

It was a cry for help… and one Twitter mom responded to my cry and made me feel better by telling me she felt the same about her biological children.

I’ve blogged before about the unique challenges we’ve faced with Hannah, you can read them here & here & here. And we’ve really had huge success with the brushing schedule as laid out by our OT.  But this weekend, it felt like we took a giant leap backwards. Hannah has started cutting not one, but two front teeth. She has had no side effects, is eating normally and still sleeping well, except for one. If she cannot see me for a period longer than 1 second, she starts to cry like someone is breaking her heart and the whining, OMG, don’t even get me started on the whining.

By Sunday afternoon, I was almost in tears from sheer frustration as I didn’t know what to do to stop the unpleasant and almost constant whining. Nothing but nothing could pacify her. Not letting her play on the floor with her toys, taking her for a walk in the garden, attaching her to my hip, NOTHING! And I know now I sound like a whiny little bitch but it is exhausting. It was so bad that at one point, while I was busying doing something with Ava and Hannah yet again started with the whining that turns to crying because she didn’t have 150% of my undivided attention, Ava turned to her and said: Hannah stop it, let me just have a minute with Mama! Que the mommy guilt.

I know its unfair to make comparisons between babies as they’re all individuals and very very different…. BUT even though Ava did not eat or drink well and battled with horrific constipation, she was a cake walk in comparison. I really feel like I am struggling and failing miserably to meet Hannah’s needs. Bonding with her is complicated because she is so demanding of me, because she seems so.. so  irritable all the time. She rarely smiles and hardly laughs and mostly just whines a lot. I can tell by the perpetual rotating of her wrists and ankles that she is in an almost constant state of agitation. And I don’t know what to do for her, for me, for us as a family.

I know it must sound awful, but I find myself wishing the time away. I can’t wait for her not to be a baby anymore, I can’t wait until she can walk and talk and perhaps tell me what is upsetting her so much. How sad, my last chance to mother a sweet, little chubby baby and believe me, she can be a sweet little chubby baby, and all I can think about is what she’ll be like as a toddler? How are we going to cope through the terrible 2’s?

And then of course, as an adoptive mother, I feel guilty. I think about her birth mother and the sacrifice she made and the intentions and hopes and dreams she had for Hannah when she placed her with us and I feel guilty and I feel like an utter failure. I feel like I’m letting us all down.

Every morning I start the day by changing Hannah’s nappy and every morning I whisper to her while I’m busy changing her: “Today Mommy will try to be a better Mommy to you, I’ll try harder to do better, I’ll be better for you Little Bird!”

But the fact is, I don’t know how to try harder, I don’t know what else to do to relieve this child’s state of irritation and to be a good mom to Ava and share my time with her equally.

And then I’m reminded of that quote from Adoption Answers and I wonder…. Is Hannah so needy of love that she’s asking for it in the most unloving ways?



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  • Reply Jenny

    Ah hon. I didn’t see your Tweet over the weekend or I would’ve said something. Last term a schoolmate of Dyl’s was tragically killed. I read the eulogy that his mom had read at his funeral and literally sobbed. I emailed her and said thank you as it reminded me that I should approach my son with the same sense of absolute joy that she had every day – she said she had known from an early age that her son was not long for this world. Some sixth sense told her to make every moment count. And so I tried. But before long Dyl and I had descended into our normal headbutting love/hate relationship. Every day, after every meltdown (mine or his) I vow to do it differently. I get up and try to be a better mother but you know what? I fail. Miserably. and then I remember that he chose this path Sharon as did I – we have something to learn from each other and maybe our relationship is not going to be all cupcakes and light but most of the time it’s so damn real it makes my teeth hurt. I am a ‘cold fish’ – I don’t warm to people easily, I am private and reserved and easily hurt but that kid forces my boundaries daily and that is maybe the lesson I need to learn from him. I have spent six years wishing he would grow up and he is my first born! Remember Hannah chose you and Ava chose to be a big sister. Ava smoothed the path and now your real test has come Sharon – and like me, you will probably fail at it daily but guess what? – we are succeeding because we get up every day, we turn up every day and we vow to continue to fight and learn and love. Stay strong when you can and cry when you need to!

    September 17, 2013 at 9:18 am
  • Reply Dayle

    I can honestly say that I have felt the exact same way about my son! There have been days and nights where I could feel my sanity being peeled away from me with constant whining and screaming. I have to remind myself its about taking in the good with the bad and being kind to yourself! Cut yourself some slack 🙂 It sounds like you are giving her all the love and patience you possibly can! Motherhood isint easy!

    September 17, 2013 at 9:28 am
  • Reply Tanya Holmes (@TanyaHolmes2177)

    I say the same thing if Emma had been born first I wouldn’t have ever had any more kids. Not because of Her being difficult but because of the complications shes had and the kidney problems I had during pregnancy.
    But as Moms we think it and it is tough being a mom.
    Morgan is my Hanna She drains me she constantly needs to have companionship or she causes trouble.

    I wish I could say it gets easier but I’m not sure it does it just is different.

    But we love our children and saying all this doesn’t make us bad moms it just makes us human.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:42 am
  • Reply Joyce

    Sharon, I have exactly the same with Benjamin and I feel exactly how you have described it. I feel guilty and hopeless and I am desperate to know how to fix the constant moaning and crying and moaning moaning moaning!

    And you are right, as an adoptive mom, I feel even worse, wondering whether I am treating and loving my kids equally. When he gets attention he is the sweetest boy ever, but the moment he doesn’t get the attention he seeks, the constant moaning starts. We have started calling him Mr Moanie, but the fact is, it drives me completely insane!!! I am hoping it is a phase and as you say, I can’t wait for this phase to end! I feel like a bad mother, because I often just leave him to moan and cry, because I don’t know what else to do… I wish I knew how to help him besides carrying him around all the time!

    Good luck, if you find a way to deal with it, please let me know. I will pay good money to solve this problem!

    September 17, 2013 at 10:03 am
  • Reply Nisey

    Sharon, I completely understand how you feel. Jaden was (is) Hannah and he will most definitely be an only child **sigh**

    I can’t express how much I love my boy (as I KNOW you love Hannah) but at the same time it is constant demand, pressure and guilt. Jaden is almost 6 years old and I wish I could say he’s over it but he’s not. Its better, much, much, much better but he is and I fear always will be more demanding than ‘regular’ kids.

    I try to remember that he went through so much in those 15 months before he came to me but it isn’t always easy to be the patient and calm mom that I had hoped I would be. Although Hannah ‘only’ had 2 months of upheaval you know how important that bonding time is. Hopefully she will outgrow it and become more secure with time.

    My advice (which I absolutely DO NOT follow myself) is try not to beat yourself up. In moments of clarity I remind myself that I shouldn’t blame myself but mostly I feel wracked with guilt for my lack of patience and empathy. Our children are without doubt where they are meant to be and sometimes even though it feels like we’re failing them I know that I’m doing the best that I can and I have no doubt that you are doing the same xxx

    September 17, 2013 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Tania

    My second child, my daughter, I’ve said many times the same thing, if she were my first she would be my last. She drains the last bit of energy and strength I have. Constantly wanting more and more attention and when she doesn’t get it she acts up by misbehaving in various different ways. There is a 6 1/2 year gap between my oldest, my son, and my daughter. He does not need the same kind of attention & affection from me as she does as he is 12 but he is still a child and still needs Mom time. I find it very hard to have much Mom time with him as his sister forces the attention onto her @ every possible chance. When she is reprimanded, she acts up by misbehaving. She is a very lively and sweet child & I do love her much but sometimes, …sometimes, many times a week, I wish she would just go away so that I can recollect my sanity & when I’m ready, she can return. I feel really bad and guilty about feeling this way & that just makes it worse. I keep hoping that she will grow up and out of it but @ the same time do not want her to grow up so quickly….

    September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am
  • Reply Sian

    Ah Shaz, I am sorry that you are going through a difficult time with Hannah. I remember feeling the same with J at times and I still feel guilty for ever having felt those feelings……and even in the present I have those moments. I know you as someone who always does the best you absolutely can, so i can only imagine you being the best mom you can be to Hannah right now. Hang in there my friend. I really hope things ease up soon. xxxx

    September 17, 2013 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Natasja

    I have a difficult young son (to put it mildly) and I go through the same every day… I cry at night when I replay the evening in my head and realise how many times I have screamed, lost my temper, yelled and bribed my young son, just to do basics, like eat supper, etc. I love him fiercely, but he is “stealing” mommy time from his older brother as he needs attention all the time. I think of my firstborn and cry again, because he didn’t receive enough attention from me. Trust me, there is nothing we can do! Nothing stops the guilt, and no amount of advice to “try this” or “don’t do that” will help. I am a very good mother, and I usually have all the answers in our household, but with this, no-one can help. It is draining and all we can do is hope it will pass and that we will get more and more smiles and laughs every day! Thinking of you!

    September 17, 2013 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Laura

    Sharon I am going through this with Jack! He tells David to go away, won’t let Cameron put tea in his bottle – all he wants is ME! I must do it ALL! I am counting the days until he goes to school in October!!!!!!

    I think it could be a phase – I know at 9 months they go through a “ma-vas” stage – maybe she is experiencing this earlier?

    My advise – do the best you can! If she ends up crying a little while you tend to Ava – then so be it, give her an extra love when you do get to her. Keep assuring her you love her and by always being there she will learn that you are there to stay!

    Maybe try rescue? Just to calm her a little.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm
    • Reply Elize Kruger

      I didn’t see your tweet, I’m so sorry you’re having such a difficult time! I’m not a mama myself and cannot begin to fathom how you must be feeling. I wish I had awesome advice for you! It sounds like you need a break. We can always go out for a drink or something!

      September 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Julia

    I absolutely LOVE Jen’s comment. And I wish I had seen your tweet this weekend. I’m so sorry you were having a rough time. Xoxo
    Your Hannah sounds almost exactly like Joel. He would DEFINITELY have been an only child if he was our first-born. The whininess? OMG. I thought I would lose it. I actually did lose it for a while and then I went to the Dr for help FOR ME because I was ready to drive my car off a bridge.
    The separation anxiety? I really wanted to run away and thought that we had made a TERRIBLE mistake to add to our family. It took YEARS before I could enjoy him and that only happened after therapy and after we started to understand him.
    At the time I spoke to my Paed about the separation anxiety as I thought that there was something VERY wrong (because it was making me MENTAL and remember – Joel didn’t have the first two months that Hannah had) and she advised me not to fight it. She advised me to hold him as much as he needed and to re-assure him that I love him and that I would be back – I couldn’t even go pee without heartbreaking tears from him.
    She essentially advised me to become more “attached” to him and to nap with him and carry him a lot etc. I found it VERY hard. I was breastfeeding him already and I really just wanted some time-out from all that physical contact that he so desperately needed. She told me that it WOULD pass and it did. Today he’s NOT clingy AT ALL and although he does still go through the occasional whininess, for the most part it’s actually fine.
    Please don’t beat yourself up about it. You are doing your VERY best for her and it WILL pass.

    ps…could it be that she’s missing Loveness? How is she adapting to the new Nanny? I suspect that this could possibly be part of what she’s struggling with at the moment. And of course the teeth. Poor baba. xx

    September 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    • Reply karabo

      I hope it improves with time! my daughter goes through a period of lots of crying and irritability, and I was certain I wont have another kid. I read about the wonder weeks, and it really made sense to me. may be she is going through some separation anxiety and getting used to the new nanny! all the best lady, You are already doing an awesome work, no doubt you are a great MOM

      September 18, 2013 at 8:26 am
  • Reply marina1605

    Hi Sharon. Like most of the ladies that have commented here, I have made no bones about the fact that if Massimo had been our first-born, he would’ve also been an only child. He has been a sickly baby since he was born. He had to be hospitalised to be fed through a feeding tube due to severe yellow jaundice as a newborn, he had severe RS Virus which landed him in ICU when he was 4 months old and has been in and out of hospital 4 times since then with bronchiolitis and a viral infection and he’s only 10 months old!! My eldest, Claudio, only saw the inside of a hospital when he was born and now recently for a circumcision and he is 4. So, yes, it’s been way more difficult 2nd time round as Massimo is a very needy, clingy, whiney child and it does drive us round the bend at times. Add teething, sleep training and separation anxiety to that and it’s insane! I look forward to going to work most mornings so I can get away from it all (bad mother!!!!) I do think that in Hannah’s case it could have a lot to do with the change in nanny, her age (separation anxiety) and teething. I remember when Claudio was 1 yr old, we fired our nanny for stealing and got a fab new nanny who was great, but it literally took Claudio about a month to settle. He whined and cried constantly during that time and it was heartbreaking and frustrating and then all of a sudden it just stopped as they both settled and got to know each other. So, yes, have some cheese with your wine and hang in there. This too shall pass. For all of us. At the end of the day, you do the best you can and the rest will sort itself out. xxx

    September 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Georgina Guedes

    Angel became a problem child for a while when she was two (not just the terribles, it was a whole other level of defiance and complication). We were baffled and then we looked at our lives. We’d had a baby brother, our nanny had died, her dad had gone to work full time, we were building, and my very-present mother had gone overseas. Of course she was melting down!
    It sounds like Hannah is going through a similar kind of being unsettled. And she was a difficult baby to start with so this is magnifying that.
    Henry is not a difficult child, but I do find myself wishing that we were through certain phases and feeling guilty that I’m not relishing every moment of my last baby, so I do think that this is a feature of parenting any child.
    Also, I think it’s good that you speak about it. There is no magic solution, but at least you’re not bottling it up.
    The only other thing that I can say that might make you feel better is that my aunt’s second baby was a terrible moaner and shrieker, but as soon as he learnt to speak, he calmed down – so perhaps Hannah will find similar relief when she can express herself.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:30 am
  • Reply paddatjiesema

    I don’t really have advice except to add my voice to the people that said whether a kid is adopted or not parents feel the same way. With my very needy first born we said never again, but we eventually had a second child…out of choice, and he is needy as well. My biggest problem was comparing my life to other parents. It seemed like they could just continue with their lives while I could not even go to the toilet. I could not even work on the computer while holding them, because then my attention was not on them.

    And often times holding them would not help and then it usually meant they were over stimulated and wanted to be in a calmer environment, no tv, no music, no talking, no lights etc. And once calm we could return to normal life. This of course is very difficult in the reality of getting home from work, rushing to make food etc.

    September 18, 2013 at 10:44 am
  • Reply rvdmerwe

    Its taken me a while to respond to this. I think – I know – because it hits so close to home. I often think I shouldn’t complain because isn’t this what we wanted / longed for! There have been days when I can beat myself up because I don’t think I am being a good enough Mom to children that have been entrusted to me. I have the guilt trip regularly! I’m so sorry you are having a tough time. I know it will pass – but when your in it, it feels lie its never ending. Know that you are not alone. By the sounds of it, we are all in the same boat. Sending you so much love. You are a wonderful Mom – be kind to yourself. xxx

    September 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm
  • Reply Ailsa Jean Loudon

    I applaud your honesty! We have all felt like that at one time or another – it’s part of being a Mummy. Thank you for putting it into words for all the Mums – and don’t forget to ask for help when it becomes overwhelming. I remember with my first child- I had to walk outside and leave him screaming because I was at breaking point. It gave me the chance to cool down and be able to go back and calm him down! You’re a great Mum!

    September 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Ailsa, I think we all need to be reminded from time to time that we are human and that its ok to not always love every part of being a parent!

      September 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply mellav

    I did not see this, Huggs and 100x more Huggs!!!!

    Jano turning 8 we are still doing SI OT. Liam is turning 7 and after So-Listen and 3 years OT we are DONE with OT!!!! whoooo hooo!!!! Liam was a needy child, I said to my mom and hubby, he has put me of having more kidz forever! he was so demanding, cried CONSTANTLY, had seperation angst, and he drive me completely bonkers! now after 7 years and 3 years of OT he is finally calm, waiting his turn, dont have meltdown’s so so nice.

    But then suddenly Jano’s SI degraded to SPD (sensory processing disorder) we almost need to restart therapy. Brushing, Ear-test’s Eye-test’s and he is now Gr1 hopefully we can with the school’s help keep him in a ‘normal’ school. Me tired!

    October 8, 2013 at 11:48 am
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