I’ll be frank, motherhood wasn’t in my plans. As the eldest to two younger siblings all of us seven years apart to a single mother with severe mental health issues, I felt I had already experienced my fair share of mothering.
By seventeen I had sacrificed a lot to be at after school pick ups, early morning drop offs and even parent evenings. I was done.
Having had an abortion years before Esmé, a choice which didn’t confuse nor sadden me, I appreciated the difference I felt when I found out I was pregnant. Enough time had passed since my ‘first two’ kids, my memory had lapsed I was ready for the newborn phase again.
Pregnancy was a breeze and yet childbirth knocked the wind out of me. When I finally spent my first entire week with her at almost a month old, I realised how much time post partum sickness had stolen from us and I over compensated by making sure that I made it clear I could do it all.
When I became a mother, I soon realised that the ‘I can do it all’ attitude was as killer as the sepsis that infected me post birth.
All of a sudden, I was quite envious of the fact that my mother never had a problem showing weakness as it meant that someone, usually me always came to her aid.
Slowly I allowed my resolve to soften, admitted defeat and let people in. I was honest with my doctor and saw a short stay on anti-depressants as my bridge over troubled water. There were no gold medals to be won here. I was just trying to survive.
And that we did. Then without noticing, we begun to thrive.
When my father took me to my first Arsenal match, I spent more time in awe of the size of the stadium than paying attention to the actual game. That’s my metaphor for the first kid. I was bombarded with advice and how-to’s and tried to do everything to please everyone very rarely paying attention to what my baby was trying to communicate.
As I sit on the precipice of the arrival of number two, I’m aware of the fans in the arena, admit I may need their encouragement from time to time but also will not allow myself to take my eyes off of the game because it changes so quickly. One minute you’re two nil down because breastfeeding just isn’t working and the next you have the mother of all hat-tricks when they sleep through the night three times in a row.
And whether you win or lose, you’re going to love and support them forever.
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