‘…that very first moment, I didn’t feel the tidal wave of warmth, love and protection I had so longingly anticipated.
Instead, I looked at my sister who was in the theatre with me, and uttered ‘…is that one mine??’ as what looked like a tiny skinned rabbit was passed between my legs to the midwife. ‘Yes babe, that’s your son’ she said exhausted and tearful.
Those first moments were nothing like I imagined. In fact nothing, literally not one thing, about becoming a Mum has been how I imagined. I was supposed to fall in love, to get married, to have a few heady years being a newlywed first… you know how everyone does, how the films tell you you will, how all your friends did. I wasn’t supposed to ship sperm over from Denmark in dry ice, more like a BBC2 documentary than a Richard Curtis script. However, the problem being, I have always been on my own. Single. A one man band.
You see my parents died when I was a teenager, so from the age of 17 I have made my own path. Always with the infinite support of my much older siblings, but nevertheless it was primarily me, myself and I. Well me, myself and my crippling fear of abandonment. Experiencing trauma, like the death of a parent at 12 and then the death of another parent 5 years later, is bound to dent your very core, whether you realise it or not. So having unsuccessfully moved in and out with family friends after Mum died, selling our family home, going to a totally inappropriate University far from anything I knew, my sister and her family moving to France, losing my beloved grandparents and not really feeling I had anywhere to truly anchor myself, the very last thing I needed was a boyfriend to break my heart.
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Of course, that is exactly what I got. Looking back now it was the most ridiculous relationship, but at the time I adored him … and when he left me I was broken. Even my veins hurt. I could literally take no more pain or heartache. So, self-preservation kicked in and I‘ve never allowed myself be put in a position where I could be hurt again. I’ve fallen for inappropriate people knowing it wouldn’t even get off the ground. Of course I’ve been on dates but, tellingly, I would never go on a second. That second date could be the start of letting someone in. Letting them in would be giving them the opportunity to maybe, possibly, one day hurt me.
This steel wall I’ve built is at complete odds to my innate nurturing spirit though.
I want to look after people, to cook for them, to make them feel loved, to tuck them in, to let them know I am thinking about them, to make them laugh until their cheeks hurt, to never let them feel alone. This is where the yearning to be a mother has come from, not from losing my parents, but from my very being. Deciding to have a baby alone, is definitively not a tiny walking breathing plaster for my historical pain. Yearning to have a baby, whether alone or not, is primal. I truly believe that is why I have had such a bonkers amount of support. People get it. Whether they have, are desperately trying to have or want kids, people can empathise.
So whilst that very moment I became a mother wasn’t all Hollywood rainbows and choirs of angels, every moment since has knocked the blooming socks off what I had ever imagined. All the cliches exist for a reason. It is profoundly hard, deeply lonely, financially crippling but also every other emotion at the other end of the scale. The love I have for him has blown my tiny frazzled mind; his silly poses, his endless intrigue, his infectious smile, his genetic stubborness (not from the donor I can assure you!). Becoming a mother was seriously bloody tough, but actually being a mother is beyond wonderful. Now can we crowdfund me some more of the Danish good stuff, so I can do it all over again?! Only kidding, I’m not totally mad.
Liv Thorne is a full time working business owner, drowning in spermy debt after panicking at 37, buying sperm at 38 and having baby Herb seconds before she turned 39. Liv is about to turn 40, but if you mention it she may flick you.
Liv asked us to donate her writer’s fee to the Just Giving page for Teddy Mascaro.
In the run up to Mother’s Day and to celebrate the launch of The Unwind Package, we’re giving away three packages worth up to £50 each chosen at random from anyone joining in our #whenibecameamother campaign on Instagram. To enter:
1. Post a picture on your own Instagram account and include a caption about what you learned, or something you felt about your own experience, when you became a mother.
2. Include #whenIbecameamother in your post
3. Include the sentence ‘I am posting this to enter a @dontbuyherflowers competition’ at the end of your caption.
Entries close on 23rd March at 11.59pm. Winners will be drawn at random. Prizes can be delivered to UK and ROI addresses only.