I had no particular desire for children before I fell in love with my partner- and even then I was more ambivalent than anything else when I agreed that we might open our lives to the possibility. When it happened for us though my maternal instinct hit me like a juggernaut. I was instantly in love with our blastocyst of a son, devoted to him and in awe of the fact that we were creating an actual person. The lifestyle change I underwent was drastic. Our courting period had been a rock and roll tornado, but I’m fundamentally a geek so when that all had to go all I really needed was unlimited access to information and I revelled in books and websites on every aspect of pregnancy and parenting. I read about everything, from the elusive contents of breast milk to the Hindu belief that the soul enters a foetus at 3 months in utero- and the science that came to an oddly similar conclusion (that at 3 months foetus’ begin to perceive the world around them)- and every approach to every situation I was possibly going to face! Parenting had absolutely everything I needed to sustain myself, I had found my calling.
That was lucky because living away from my hometown and suddenly living a different life I found myself with a very limited social circle with few close friends accessible. Once I left work I lost a ready source of self esteem- but becoming expert at all things maternal, during my pregnancy and for my eldest’s first 16 months of life, was something I was very proud of. It made me something. With my miscarriage happened that sense of self that I’d built collapsed entirely. I was bitter and resentful- I knew everything about this, right? Yeah, apart from how to keep my children alive. I couldn’t bear Mother’s Day, that was a trigger. Even now I find it a bittersweet occasion because in addition to the pleasantness not only does it remind me of the child I didn’t get to mother but also the darkest point in my life. I really didn’t know who I was.
But I’ve learnt now that I have to be myself sometimes, my old self before all this new stuff came along! Mothering is an integral part of me but now I realise that attachment parenting is a symbiosis- not a detachment from from mother’s needs as a human being entirely in order to zealously observe baby’s.
I’ve tried loads of avenues to find myself… Direct selling- it transpired that I am without business sense unfortunately- so that went out the window but not before it had paved the way for me to meet a series of people that have become important and even instrumental in my life. Teaching groups of kids which I initially did weekly but scaled down to… Regularly- because it’s very involved and I want to devote time to writing too. The teaching is great though, it’s so inspiring being surrounded by enthusiastic, excitable, open minds- and intellectual discussions with kids hone adult understanding like nothing else. I socialise (even without kids sometimes!). Not as much as I’d like but I’m working on it. In the last two years I’ve gone from having no local friends to putting myself out there and am now in possession of some great ones who build my confidence and cleanse my soul. I do my writing, washing (yeah, I mean myself, it’s easy to forget that!), listening to music (properly), I never did stop reading. The Internet has been great for me, so much great material and I speak with people all over the world about all the things I’m interested in. I’m learning all the time which is magic for me, it makes me feel vital. I’m about to start a free, seven week, online course on Technology and Ethics which I’m really excited about. There are a good number of websites offering great educational opportunities and when better to take them up than when you can’t go out because of the kids and you want to be happy, whole and successful for the kids? There’s something for everyone, different subjects, different levels of commitment. But, like I said earlier, I am essentially a geek. My real point is that whoever you are: don’t lose that person because you might need them.