I was never scared about being a mother, only that I wouldn’t be.
There’s a scene in Friends where Monica and Chandler are trying to adopt and it all goes a bit pear shaped whilst they’re being interviewed by the prospective birth mother. She has their paperwork confused with another couple’s so Monica ends up saying she is a reverend, whilst Chandler pretends he’s a doctor. I’m sure you remember it. Anyway, Chandler eventually gets things back on track by taking the birth mother aside and saying that although he knows he needs to learn how to be a good dad, Monica is already there. “She’s a mother…without a baby”. That is how I felt for years, many years, before our boys were born a few months ago.
It’s hard to feel as though you’re a mother, to know you are a mother, whilst simultaneously being the keeper of an empty womb. The wondering if a child will ever fill it is desperate. I’d light candles in church and send prayers, I’d blow out candles and make wishes. There’s a well I can think of that owes me at least a tenner in anxiously tossed pennies.
My eventual pregnancy was a blessing but fraught; hard to believe and, in a medical sense, complicated. I worried it would end too soon, then worried it was going on too long. When I was eventually admitted past term, the consultant asked why I was “still” pregnant. She agreed they needed to be cut out the next morning.
It was exciting being asked that day if I was ready to meet them. Of course I say it was exciting now, at the time I was ravenous with hunger as on nil by mouth and I was ready to start divorce proceedings as my husband bounced on a birthing ball eating my favourite Pret sandwich, but it was exciting. These two little boys who we’d seen so many blurry pictures of, would soon be in our arms.
We let the surgeons choose the music in theatre and my eldest twin was born, somewhat dramatically, to Lionel Richie’s “Hello”. It was a question that didn’t need answering, he was indeed exactly what I’d been looking for. My second perfect baby came along three minutes later. Rather than this moment being the beginning, it felt like the end of something. My quest was complete. My children were here.
By the end of that week they were able to come home to the family house we’d already been living in for years. The sensible car that had been waiting for them had a purpose. My insatiable love of biscuits had an excuse.
I don’t know exactly when I became a mother, but it wasn’t last October. And I will never not be grateful for every day I’m with my boys.
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