Sunday, 6 April 2014


If you know me you will know that I have found parenting, well, a little overwhelming at times. I have had periods when I regretted even becoming a mother at all, not because of my son, but because of my ability to cope with him; my ability to give my all, my best, and I felt as though I were constantly failing him.

Of course I soon came to the realisation that, yes, I do constantly fail him but actually that's OK. It's okay because I love him with a bottomless ocean of love and good intentions; an endless supply of burnt fish fingers and sloppy kisses. Children have a lot more grace than we realise and each new day brings new opportunities for better things, and more vigilance when cooking frozen food.

Lately I am learning to come to peace with a lot of disappointments I've had about becoming a mother. I have accepted the fact that I will never be perfect. The reality is, the real failures are the things we haven't even considered; the things we don't even acknowledge as such, and we sweep them under the carpet along with odd jigsaw pieces and broken crayons. I am learning that my son loves me just because I make him breakfast and I read him stories and I tell him no and yes and maybe at all the times I think appropriate, and although those things may not get me the mother of the year award, it actually is enough.

But being a mum seems to be more than just you and your child because it sometimes feels like you against the world. I have struggled with judgements from other people, the expectations, the pressure I've put on myself. I have struggled with body image, identity and juggling a career. All these things have been tough, but the thing I have found hardest is finding a way to come to peace with my disappointments. These are deep rooted in those early days; the missing out on a natural birth, the 'skin to skin', the way they took him from me before I could look him in the eyes, the way they placed him on me when I couldn't even move to touch him. My idillic hope of spending my first few days with my new family turned into nights on end in a hospital room with a screaming child, while the nurses told my husband visiting hours were over. I felt abandoned and alone.

That's over three years ago now and you're probably thinking that I should just forget about it, but what that would mean is sweeping it under the carpet along with those odd bits of jigsaw pieces and never really dealing with it at all. What that means is that life is all rosy on the outside, but every time someone mentions they had an 'easy' labour or they loved breastfeeding or felt 'on a high' after giving birth that I feel like punching them in the face - and that, my friend, is not dealing with anything at all. You will meet a lot of women who are carrying a lot of unnecessary disappointments and unless they are dealt with they will be left to rot.

I've realised that it's time to accept these things for what they are and to start again like a child would; each new day brings new opportunities for better things. Because the reality is, that when Albie was placed on my numb body for the first time, he looked at me and he stared at me with his intent gaze, and he knew exactly who I was, even if I or the rest of the world didn't. His eyes said 'mum, is that you?', and that, actually, was enough.

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