As I sit here on the eve of my eldest’s 8th birthday, I reflect on a number of things. I know in last week’s post I made a point of stating that I was focused on the future, that the only way was forward and that I wasn’t going to look back (you can read this post here). There is a difference though, between dwelling on past events and reflecting upon memories of the past. These last few days I’ve been doing the latter, reflecting upon the events of the last 8 years and how much has happened in that time, but with a focus on the good.
This time 8 years ago, I was in labour with my first child – a little girl who would change our world and place us on the never-ending steep learning curve of parenting. 32 weeks prior to this day 8 years ago, I discovered rather unconventionally that we were expecting. I was home alone, getting ready to go and play soccer in the ladies team I played for. Feeling rather faint, I tried to make it to the bed to lie down and that was the last thing I remembered, until I woke several minutes later rather confused, with carpet burns on my knees and a black eye.
To cut to the chase, it seems I passed out in the process of trying to make it to the bedroom, falling down and carpet burning my knees and collecting the bedside table with my eye in the process. The doctor was amazed that I only hit my brow bone and not my actual eye. After such a shock, the knowledge that I was going to be a mother was definitely the silver lining, we hadn’t expected it to happen quite so quickly, we didn’t want to get our hopes up, but the news was definitely the happy kind.
As the week’s went by and my flat stomach (never to be flat again) began to swell, the sonographer announced that we were having a girl. As my belly swelled more and I felt those first tiny movements, the ones that only the mother feels, I began to imagine, what it would be like to be a mother. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and sometimes it would be downright difficult. There would be days when you would just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over your head and forget about the world. I also knew that it would be wonderful in ways that I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Despite being aware of the realities of being a parent, I knew it wasn’t just cuteness and cuddles, I knew it was something I had always wanted, the good times would make the difficult ones worth it.
Being my first pregnancy I of course worried about every little thing. I worried if I was eating the right things, taking the right vitamins, if the baby was moving enough, but everything seemed to be going smoothly. I was enjoying being pregnant and the bond I was forming with my unborn child was getting stronger by the day. Then my obstetrician called me with the results of my Glucose Tolerance Test, I had Gestational Diabetes. Given my family history, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. In truth, at the time I was devastated. I know now that it wasn’t actually that big of a deal and women deal with much greater issues in their pregnancies that GDM. I was young though, relatively fit and healthy, enjoying a trouble free pregnancy -despite it’s unconventional discovery. I felt ripped off, I felt like the world was trying to take away one of the happiest times of my life, somehow tainting it with it’s rules and regulations and “diagnosis”. For someone that has a moderate phobia of needles and avoided blood tests until pregnancy, the thought of pin-prick testing at least 8 times a day and the possibility of insulin injections scared the s**t out of me.
After having my emotional moment and learning more about managing my diagnosis, I realised how silly I was being. I was healthy, my baby was healthy and if I listened to my body, toughened up about my fear of needles and listened to what the doctors were telling me, then it would stay that way.
I got over it pretty quickly. I had to for my sake and for my child’s and soon I was again enjoying the miracle of growing a little person. Then it was time, that time that all pregnant women look forwards to and fear simultaneously -labour and birth. What can I say? It was painful, messy, exhausting (22 hours!) and no matter what anyone says, you do NOT forget the pain once you hold the baby in your arms. You NEVER really forget, but the first time you hold your child in your arms, it makes all the pain, worry and did I mention pain? Yes…Well… it makes it all worth it.
Then comes the steep learning curve I was talking about, the one that never really evens out, the one of parenting. Those first few days, weeks, months with a newborn are always the most interesting and exhausting, especially with your first. You are both learning, both you and your baby. Learning how to feed, how to sleep, how to change a nappy without getting pee’d on or my favourite -the projectile poop! As they get older it becomes less about learning how to be (living, eating and so on) and more about learning how to become. Becoming the kind of parent you want to be, becoming the parent that supports your child, hoping that whatever they choose to become, no matter what it might be, that they are happy. That is a mother’s greatest hope, that her children are happy.
Of course she hopes that her children will grow and be healthy and safe, this goes without saying, but what she wants most of all is for them to be happy – no matter who they become.
So, on the eve of my daughter’s 8th birthday, this is a mother’s hope; that my daughter becomes whoever she wishes to be. That she isn’t afraid to embrace who she is, whoever that might be in the years to come. My only hope is that she is happy, a hope I have for all of my children.
Happy Birthday my beautiful girl, embrace who you are and be happy always!
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.