I am very grateful for the four living children I have. My heart feels full every morning when I hear their sweet voices waking up, I love and cherish every single hug and kiss, I breathe in the scent of their skin at the back of their little necks, I do not think I could love them more and yet every day, with every smile, every tear, every laugh and moment together that love still grows.
Having four kids was not a journey that I imagined and the very fact of having children did not happen the way I had planned. It is not something I will expand on too much right now but there is something that I struggle to explain, I would not change anything now as I absolutely love every bit of my kids and I would never risk changing anything about them but a lot of our family building journey happened pretty backwards to what I had planned. It is something that was very frustrating at times, and I struggled a lot because there is a lot of expectation put on mothers to simply live with a rose filter and be so happy and grateful for motherhood and we do not afford mothers enough room to feel the wide range of emotions that comes with expanding yourself into motherhood. We are often uncomfortable and don’t understand that a mother can go through both post natal depression while also loving her child, there is a lot of trauma and long term mental health scarring that can result from not being supportive enough of the wide range of emotions both positive and negative (sometimes all at the same time) that can occur with becoming a parent. Most importantly we never tell this simple truth: no one is born a mother, one becomes a mother while remaining oneself too, it is an aspect of ourselves we have to grow and stretch and it is just as new as the child we carried and just like it would be foolish to expect of a baby to have the maturity of an adult, it is foolish and dangerous to expect of a new parent to suddenly have all the experience and wisdom we most often only find ourselves having as parents nearly a decade on, motherhood, parenthood, is a journey and you cannot see all of it from the beginning so if it feels difficult when starting (or at any further point for that matter!) it is not because you are doing anything wrong but because you are building your muscles and endurance and your feelings are valid.
I had the chance to have a physical break after years of pregnancies and near constant breastfeeding or milk expressing. It coincided with us settling in our first house, beginning a new decade in life and having the opportunity to consider what I wanted my time and energy to focus on. It was a liberating moment to finally feel like I had direction again, I had a certain level of stability and I gave myself leave to make peace with many aspects of my journey. Surprisingly maybe this has led me to deciding I wanted to try for another baby. I wanted one pregnancy “on my terms”, in our house, with a proper space and how I had pictured it, one that I could enjoy in our little nook and bring a little one that would be so very loved by all of their siblings, one pregnancy when my mind was not weighed by family expectations or social expectations but just for me because I wanted it.
We found out we were expecting during lockdown, this turned out to be a good thing as I had intense nausea and was very tired but Simon being home meant I had a chance to rest, nap and it was not something I ever had had a chance to really do with my previous pregnancies. This was a great first, I could take baths and lie down as much as needed. Time felt like it was standing still for these few weeks, no appointments, no work appointments or shifts, just time to snuggle, read, play board games with the older kids and contemplate where we were at in life. We were so happy, we are happy, we loved every moment of being together as a family during lockdown and coming out of it we made a priority to preserve as many moments together as possible. It was a great reset in what really mattered.
This pregnancy has had its uncertainties as well but I have not been as anxious as I would have been during my other pregnancies, I take it easy, I do my best to stay in tune with my body and to care for my well being emotionally. I do not take everything going well for granted but I am at peace with the process and trying to enjoy every moment of it. I make plans that I am happy about and it has reflected in how I interact with my children, how peaceful I feel where I am at in life. I am looking forward to what is to come but I am not waiting for another day, another moment, another achievement to be happy. I am happy right now.