I have been thinking a lot about babies the past few days. And kids. And life. And being a mum. You know, all the little things. 🙂
There are lots of reasons for this. Firstly it is because my dear friend who passed away a month or so ago had a birthday on the weekend and she was not here to celebrate it. She fought a very long, hard battle over 17 years with breast cancer.She fought it with grace, selflessness and passion. She had many birthdays living with cancer. And each one was celebrated with great joy of having lived another year on this earth. She was a mum to two wonderful boys and I miss her so.
The second reason has been hearing the very sad news of a friend with type 1 diabetes who suffered a miscarriage recently, not her first, and the ache in my heart I feel for her in this loss. She has a beautiful daughter but so wanted this second child. I know that ache and I know how hard it is as a woman with type 1 diabetes to do pregnancy, to even contemplate it, let alone take the daunting step of planning pregnancy and then, should it work, to hold your breath and work your arse off managing your diabetes for almost an entire year until you can be sure it is all going to be OK. Except you can never be sure, not until you are holding that baby in your arms.
The third reason, is news yesterday that another friend, who does not have diabetes but works in diabetes and is a wonderful diabetes educator full of passion and genuine care, gave birth to her first child after a long journey with fertility issues, making this child ever so wanted, ever so waited for and ever so special. She spoke of how she could not wait to see her little one again and had crept to the nursery just to look at her. I remember that. I remember falling in love. I remember the physical feeling that my baby was still connected to me, part of me. That I could not bear to be apart from him. Crying in the night from the missing of his little body that had until the day before been part of mine.
The final reason is that my third child, Maxwell, is turning 5 in September and he will head to school. So I am in the final couple of months of being a mum with a pre schooler, for the third and final time. In some ways this feels free, I will have time each day to manage work and enjoy my children, but part of me feels sadness. The years of having babies, of experiencing that amazing first five years of growth and development are almost finished for me. Having a 14 year old and a 19 year old I know there are many other wonderful experiences to come but this early time is passing for me.
I have also been through some of the experiences of these three amazing women above. I have dealt not with cancer, but with type 1 diabetes and other health problems that made me face death in some ways. One of the worst of these was not a physical health condition, but a mental health condition. Living with post traumatic stress, depression (on a number of occasions) and panic attacks, was very much like dealing with a near death experience. I was so disconnected from what holds me to this earth that I considered leaving it. My son, then just 2, was one of the things that anchored me to life.
I hope that all babies are wanted, but I know this is not the case. I have also worked in a job that showed me some babies are not wanted and some are treated so badly, it broke my heart over and over again. I always wanted to be a mum.I yearned for this. In fact I asked my mother to have another baby when I was 14 as I wanted one to be in our live so much. (she didn’t however!). This yearning became stronger when I was told as 12 year old girl that I would probably never have children and if I did ever dare to get pregnant the baby may be born dead, or deformed. At first this devastated me but eventually, I think it made me more determined to prove them wrong.
I had no problems falling pregnant the first two times, in fact they were unexpectedly early! Deeply wanted but not really that planned, well perhaps just a tad earlier than expected! My third baby however, took his time and after almost 9 years of trying, I fell pregnant (again unexpectedly after all that time) but sadly miscarried not too long after finding out. It was a terrible time but my doctor told me to go for it and try again right then, considering my age and how much I wanted a third child, and we did and it worked and here I sit with this miracle child.
And I am constantly amazed at how lucky I am to have 3 miracle sons, despite 34 years of life with type 1 diabetes.
Yet life gets on top of me and get in the way of this. I am so passionate and involved in my working life that I can feel annoyed, pressured, strung out when trying to juggle kids against work and study and every responsibility. However on days like today, when I sat and watched my 4 year old son climbing and running and swinging in the playground while the wind blew, with the beautiful coloured parrots called from the amazing gum trees to each other,when I stopped and watched just him, I remembered that yearning. I remembered how lucky I am. I remembered my sweet friend who is no longer here to watch her two sons, now lovely young men she had time to grow. I remembered my dear friend who is grieving and may always grieve for the loss of her baby; and I smiled inside at the image of my other friend, staying awake at night just to stare at the face of her new little daughter as she falls in love. And I watched my son play and remembered to enjoy this special time as it will be gone before I know it.
And if you are a mum, especially one with diabetes, or one who has struggled, lost a baby, or anything in between, you will know what I am talking about. Here’s to all of us. 🙂