Saturday, 18 August 2012

Maternity

At the ripe middle age of 36, I am a part-time carer, part-time teacher (at home! ) and full-time mother to my little girls, aged 8 yrs and 6 yrs old. I'm in relatively good health too, apart from a non-life-threatening illness that will be with me forever now. So, as I said, I feel fine, inspite of the complicated way the doctors are treating me which means I must never have any more children, ever. Not at all. (Due to medication I'm on, for life now...) This finality, this decisiveness has, suddenly, made me a tad bit broody.... I mean, if I had a choice, I'd have probably not tried for another child, but having the decision taken firmly out of my grasp has left me feeling cheated, somehow. You know the feeling a woman gets when she sees another woman holding a newborn baby close, the tiny form held protectively in her arms... or when a pregnant mother contemplates a supermarket buy, one hand absently stroking her baby-bump... Sometimes, when these things happen to me, I miss the times when my girls were babies and I'd be getting frowns to 'put-them-down' and couldn't resist a cuddle!! Well, they're still cuddly, but much bigger now (not to mention heavier!!)...and over these eight-odd years of being their mum, I've come to understand and comprehend a whole lot more than I did in the years before God chose to give me this unique gift; maternity... I think of the time when they were little, born one-by-one, as naturally as it is possible, given the NHS. I miss the memory of their tiny curled-up fists, the translucent nails, the little features and eyes tightly shut....
It may sound cheesy, or even over-the-top, but the truth is, I never really appreciated the whole concept of the difference between 'men' and 'women', before I met my husband. Yes, I was aware of the physical, mental, cultural and temperamental variations between the two sexes, but to me, atleast, being a girl seemed like one hell of a drawback! Physically, atleast until I hit puberty, I did pretty much all the things my brother (and sister) did! We played cricket, ran about, rode our bicycles and 'explored' our neighbourhood.... But one fine day, it all changed and my world imploded when I realised that girls n boys have a fundamental difference. With the onset of (unwelcome, uncomfortable and wholly undesirable) periods, I felt horrid and wished I had been a boy. So much for my pre-pubescent physical angst...Things began to change slightly after I finished school and it was time to choose a University course. I found out I couldn't go away, out-of-town to a university of my liking, to pursue my studies, Heck, I couldn't even take off for six months of apprenticeship training as part of my degree course! My gran always fretted and worried about me if I were running late to get home, my father, trusting yet troubled, sat silently in the living room, the light of a single paper lantern illuminating his solemn features. He'd try to read, or listen to the radio as he waited, trying and failing to hide his frown of worry when my 'time problem' studio dragged on and on... or when he sheer scale. It wasn't easy, because I could see how many worries, how much of anguish I was heaping on my family; my Dad, my Gran and I hated myself for being a girl... Those were the years when I used to feel 'wronged', somehow....
It wasn't until I first realized I was expecting a baby, that I fully grasped the beauty of the miracle that God has bestowed upon womankind! My first thought was of my own mother; and all of a sudden, I found myself sobbing from the sheer pain of losing her as a 17 year old, and the bitter-sweet joy of how happy she might have been, to know that her scrawny, barely surviving, fighter of a baby was now at the receiving-end of the very same miracle.. the one that God wrought, to bring me to life...
My second, and almost instantaneous thought was, I needed to tell my husband! I managed to tell him without too many tears, so he'd not worry there was something wrong, and we fell into each others' arms, sobbing (me) and grinning (him) at the same time.. As the enormity of the faint pink  lines sank into our psyche, we hugged for joy and smiled the widest smiles! We did another test, just to make sure, and when I came back out (of the loo) positively beaming, we looked at the strips together scarcely able to believe our eyes! It was like the most beautiful day of our lives was near; okay, maybe not near enough seeing that it was still three-quarters of a year away, but near enough that we could envision it....!
After a memorable pregnancy, involving lots of absurd cravings, some predictable, some unimaginable (Southern Fried Chicken followed by mars bars, anyone!!??) I had my first-born... but that's another story...!! This blog is about, amongst other things, the way my life has changed ever since I became a mother.....Just thought I'd make a point!

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