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Help!! Advice for a Frustrated Mommy...
July 19, 2005
9:51 am
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September 29, 2010
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My best friend is in the military..she has been over in Iraq for most of this year and was just recently sent home after being wounded. Physically she is healing but emotionally she is struggling.

Her child is two years old...and has been with her grandma and a couple friends for this past year while mommy did her service. (the father is pathetic..only coming into the picture when he wants to play mind games with my friend or use the baby as a ploy to torture or try to get my friend back..but i digress..) The baby naturally has grown very close to her grandma and has trouble breaking away from her..even if it is with mommy. When they come to visit her..she is uncomfortable being alone with mommy...cries and is cranky..says things that hurt my friends heart and her feelings. My friend realizes she is just a baby..and she has been through alot...but it still hurts. She doesnt know how to reconnect with the baby and help her to understand who she is..and how much she loves her etc...

I told her that all this will take time. That once she gets out of the hospital..it will be a step by step process to reconnect. That maybe she could live with her mother for awhile..so that the baby could learn to be comfortable round her mommy again without completely being ripped out of her comfort zone. But she is so frustrated and ready to give up. She feels like a bad mom for abondoning her in the first place..and watches her mother with the baby in envy as she feels she lacks mothering skills enough to care for her.

I feel like all of this takes time. I'm not a mom myself..so i think my words sometimes fall on deaf ears. I am very very close to the baby myself and we bond alot as well if even over the phone. I think the baby just needs consistency in her life..and in those who love her. Any more words of wisdom in the meantime to keep her hanging on until she can finally get out and reunite with her?? I am afraid she will do something stupid and give up her rights to the MIA father or something out of exasperation. help??

July 19, 2005
4:58 pm
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September 30, 2010
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With my daughters fathers family, they tend to want to jump right in and assume the roles of their titles, but sometimes this just scareds the heck out of her! She's only a baby, and can't understand that these people have claims and titles, and her memory is simply not advacned enough. Your friend is lucky in that she already understands her childs confusion, my heart really goes out to her. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are making your child unhappy.

One thing she can do is to encourage the rest of the family that her child is more familiar with to interact with her and let her child ease into it. And ask her family to show pictures, tell funny stories, talk about her often when they are at home. Make it exciting. If you can get a 2 year old hyped about Santa, a giant bunny with eggs, a movie that hasn't even come out yet, you can certainly acheive that level of happiness regarding a childs mother.

Also, the different surrounding of the hospital must be hard on her, maybe your friend could have some fun treats, interesting games, even a boa or some silly hats laying around when baby comes to make it more inviting?

What a good friend you are to reach out on your friends behalf, by the way. As a single mother myself, it has been my friends love and support that have carried me through, every mom should have a few friends like you!

July 21, 2005
6:41 am
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September 27, 2010
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Hey OopsADaisy,

Good for you, to be concerned enough about your friend to ask for help 🙂 I am sure that this is gut-wrenching for her, as she is the baby's bio mom and would love to just reclaim her as her own. I am also sure that it is gut-wrenching for grandma as well, because she has already bonded with the baby and the baby calls her "momma". In this case, as ef has said, time and patience is what will be needed, along with good communications and cooperation from both sides.

It would be best if she started spending time with her, playing with her, changing her, feeding her, just as a mom would, but not to force the mommy thing. The child is already bonded to grandma and sees her as her security, so to come in and rip her away from that would do more harm than good. She is simply too young to understand anything but what brings her familiarity and comfort. Mom has to slowly be included into her world as being familiar and bringing comfort.

A child's long-term memory does not start working until the age of about 3, so she simply will not remember your friend as mom, but she will remember familiar sensory things (sounds, smells, touches, etc.). Did your friend have a favorite scent she used to wear when the child was a baby, or did she ever sing her a favorite song when she put her to sleep? These may help to re-establish a connection with the child.

Again, time and patience is so crucial here, tell your friend not to give up. She could be suffering from PTSD herself, if she saw much action over in Iraq and may want to get some counseling for herself.

Tell her to hang in there, it will get better. Please give her a hug for me.



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