I remember today, 2 years ago as if it was yesterday. April 4, 2010 was Easter Sunday. The day before I had hidden tons of eggs all around the apartment for Lily to find in the morning since the weather was supposed to be awful and Easter egg search outside not recommended. I took tons of pictures that day; Lily searching for eggs, Lily finding her loot, Lily digging in. I am glad I took so many pictures that day, as we did not know yet when we got up this morning that it would be our last day as a little family of three. I was tired this day and slept a lot. I remember sometime I the afternoon I napped on the floor in the living room with Lily cuddled close to me with her little sister still in my tummy between us. For some reason I lived this day very aware of what was ahead. With my second pregnancy I had arrived at a point of natural spirituality I had looked for all during my pregnancy with Lily. With Lily all I remember is pain, confusion, lack of control. Prolonged prodromal labor, my stubbornness that told me that it was not time yet, that the doctors said it would take another 2 weeks, that the classes weren't over yet, that it was not time yet. Now, I had left work each day as if I would not come back; I cleared my desk, briefed my colleague on open cases. It was the middle of my due week. My first due date had past on March 31st and both of my midwives were safely out of town not to return until the 9th, the day after my second due date on April 8th. The minute my midwife told me that the first time in the history of their practice they would both be out of town at the same time I knew that this was the week my daughter would arrive. This time around I was patient, knowing from the depth of my heart that she would come once she was ready, and in hindsight I am grateful that she chose this first Monday in April, giving me time to live a close day with Lily before welcoming her home into our new family of four.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Is there something like the oldest daughter complex? This question came up between a friend of mine and me last weekend. She vented about a fairly stressful visit of a friend of hers to her house, and that her mother had not been happy with her helping out the friend by letting her stay. But what else should she have done? Told her friend no? And here it comes, the oldest daughter complex. Is it just a coincidence that my closest friends are all oldest daughters? That my friend and I like to vent to each other since we know that we understand each other?
The oldest daughter complex, we found, is the urge having to help any- and everyone who asks us, whether it is good for ourselves and destroys us; and even though we do our best, we still feel guilty for not doing enough. We try to be perfect, strive to meet a benchmark that is beyond a normal person. We feel lacking at all times even though we work until we are at the end of our strength. We accept the criticism from outsiders; we allow ourselves to be hurt by it and try even harder (and here the spiral begins). I have watched oldest daughters destroying their families because they were unable to draw the line. Those, who do not have their own lives any more and while themselves being at the verge of a mental and physical breakdown are still not able to say no.
As an oldest daughter myself, I started to analyze this behavior about a year ago. And here the problem really started: when I began to break out of this mold that had shaped me for most of my life, I crashed with the little sibling personality, which seems to develop alongside the oldest daughter complex. While the oldest daughter helps and works and supports and still feels inadequate, the little sibling personality often describes a failed person, who never had to take any responsibility for their actions or decisions in their lives but being constantly praised and lifted up so that at last they perceive themselves as some sort of demi-god who cannot do any wrong.
During my personal development, which started out of utter exhaustion and depression that became the refusal to acknowledging the superiority of the little sibling personality, I decided to embrace a way that made me the target of scrutiny yet again. After a fairly degrading fist fight and other mud-slinging incidents from the little sibling personality's side, I decided to let the person for once take responsibility for their action and when I was told either to publicly apologize for something I said (and meant) or all ties would be cut, I went for option 2. Of course, this decision was considered by everyone to be completely my fault, but for once I felt like a huge burden being lifted off my shoulders. I knew that for once I had made a decision that helped myself and in turn my family. Working a 40-hour plus week and being a full time mom and wife I cannot waste any of my energy on people who take advantage of me. I still like to help, but I know my priorities. I still overdo it sometimes, but I am learning to read the signs. I am not perfect, but I know that I do my best for my family, and this is all that counts.