In raising children, I have lost my mind but found my soul…

I’ve read a few blogs, articles and bits and pieces on motherhood lately…many different views, delights, frustrations and opinions. So I thought I’d throw myself into the mix too…
Having been a mother for eighteen and a half years now, I have a bit of experience on the subject!
The first thing that comes to mind is that moment your very first child is delivered and handed to you, and all of a sudden you have a new life, a miracle, a human being that you’ve created, in your arms…I remember the rising sun, twinkling on the ocean, and shining through the blinds in the hospital window as I held Rebekah in my arms…motherhood had begun…
She was a delight, a baby that slept all night, set herself an easy routine and was a pleasure…I only wish I’d been a less frantic parent. Severe pain (I had Fentons repair surgery nine months after birth) and difficulty feeding (I could have fed triplets and almost drowned Bekah whenever I fed her…) made me sink into depression and I forced myself to keep breastfeeding despite my state of mind. I made the mistakes many young mothers make of believing I had to make everything perfect…life isn’t, so I should have appreciated my  mothering skills didn’t need to be either!
Two and a half years later and we were joined by our little monkey…the one on the left…this time I was a stronger mother. This pregnancy had overcome the ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) that I’d suffered since I was seventeen, so I felt physically stronger…but I still struggled with chronic depression when he was tiny. The best advice I got was from my GP who helped by telling me at four weeks that I didn’t need to breastfeed if I didn’t want to. Her permission relieved me of the guilt that had plagued me when Bekah was a baby and I bottle fed Daniel much earlier. He flourished and I enjoyed him! 
Two gorgeous children and a mum who was much more relaxed second time around! I loved those years with the children. Bekah was old enough to enjoy a little brother and he thought she was the bees knees!
Now, I am someone who plans to the utmost…and I wanted the same gap for my third child…I’d fallen pregnant easily with both, and I was pregnant again much quicker than I’d expected… 
Not straight forward though…a twelve week heartbeat check and my midwife send me for a scan. Vince and I sat waiting, excited to the see the scan, then when the sonographer turned the monitor away from us and rushed out of the room, our hearts dropped. We were told to return for a more detailed scan that afternoon. When we arrived back, my midwife ‘just happened’ to walk past and said she’d stay for the scan. She broke the news that I had a ‘hydatidiform tumour’ and the tumour would be immediately removed. Returning home after surgery, we mourned the loss of the baby that had never arrived…
Two years of two weekly blood tests with Charing Cross Hospital followed and my hCG levels were monitored, they were supposed to take two years to return to normal, but were normal only nine months later. With the all clear, we tried for our missing child. This time we had to be patient… I truly believe that Caitlin would have been born if that third pregnancy had worked, and she’d had to wait…so did we… finally, we became a family of five…
I can smile thinking back to Caitlin’s early years…I was twenty-eight and had much more confidence than I’d ever had before. I breast fed Cait for eight months and loved it! She chose to wean herself off way before I wanted her to! I was lucky with each of my children, they each settled into easy sleeping and feeding routines…Sounds idyllic…some of it was, much of it wasn’t…such is life!
I loved being a family. I loved holding tiny babies in my arms. I loved watching them sleep, especially on their father’s chest. I loved playing on the beach, kicking through autumn leaves, splashing in puddles and collecting outdoor bits and pieces for collages. I loved reading to them. I loved seeing the differences in each one. I loved recognising their similarities. I loved dressing them in amazing charity shop bargains. I loved their innocence…Dan, after visiting Gelli Aur with nursery school, told me at home that his favourite animals had been ‘the ones with sticks on their heads’…that would be the stags then!
I wasn’t so keen on crying babies, nappies (especially exploding ones), tantrums, nor shopping with three in tow, nor encouraging a toddler to sleep on their own in a ‘big’ bed in their own room (once they climb out of their cot…a big bed it was…), nor Caitlin’s escapee antics…she could escape from car restraints, bouncy chairs, high chairs, play pens, cots, and even the house…once the front door bell rang and we opened the door to find toddler Cait standing on the door step in the rain with teddy strapped into her little pushchair, having happily gone for a walk around our cul-de-sac…she was wet enough to indicate that she’d been outside for some time…scary, and a warning to keep the chain across the front door at all times… Not keen on fussy eating…lesson learned too late that chicken nuggets are useless…I would definitely work on better food if I did it all over again.
Perhaps the best things are watching them grow…
I love them more and more each day…sounds sugary, but true…I enjoy them more as they grow. I was once told that I should enjoy them while they were young because they would turn into sullen monsters once they grew out of traditional childhood, but I have to be completely honest and I have enjoyed them more as older children. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved those ‘milestones’ all the ‘firsts’…first smile, first crawl, step, word, first time they can write their name…nice story about that one: lovely ‘drawing’ on the wall, and the artist proudly signed their name underneath, then promptly blamed their younger brother for the ‘writing on the wall’ despite the fact said brother was only eighteen months and could barely draw a circle let alone a person and their name! 
I’ve enjoyed watching them grow immensely, changing from cute, angelic, sleeping babies, to mischievous little girls and boys, to creative children and teenagers…to adults that amaze me…
I love the way their cognitive abilities develop, I love watching them work things out…I love how their minds work, and sometimes wish I could regain the simplicity of a child! 
For me family and motherhood is about growing together and becoming better people. Encouraging them to be happy, to aim high and to work hard is what it’s all about. My most favourite thing about being a mother is the relationship and friendship that develops. Though I am stalwart about being a mother first before a friend…I know that as adults my children will be my closest friends. Developing bonds, long conversations, long walks and time together…top my list for the best things about motherhood.
(A mother) discovers with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children, but because of the friendships formed while raising them.
(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
 (Title quote by Lisa T. Shepherd)
(Please do not use or reproduce any photographs of my children Thankyou)
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2 thoughts on “In raising children, I have lost my mind but found my soul…

  1. Hannah

    Really loved reading this insightful and really well written piece. I learn so much from other mothers, and have done watching them all my life. Growing up we used to sit behind you in church, and I saw how patient you were with your children. I also was inspired in young women's by your record keeping and tried to follow this at home myself (with mixed success). Thank you for your example x

    Reply
  2. Cassy

    beautiful post. I loved everything about it. And I completely agree that the best part is watching your children grow! Thanks for sharing.www.suite4e.com

    Reply

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