If you had known, would you…

… have had children?

I love my children with an intensity that sometimes leaves me gasping for breath, but if I had known how hard it was going to be would I have craved motherhood the way I did?

It took three years for me to hold my newborn son in my arms, it was love at first sight. He was and is perfect and yet perfectly flawed. My daughter came along four years later, desperately wanted and welcomed with celebration; she was and is perfect and perfectly flawed.

We all are.

When I look at this picture IMG_0055  

I can remember like it was yesterday, dressing my 5 day old boy in his “going home” outfit (which he promptly poohed on and ended up in a singlet and nappy). I can remember the fear and excitement, the pride and wonder, the wish to put him back inside me to protect him from the world.

Motherhood was hard, I had postnatal depression for 19 months and my memories are clouded by a murkiness I can’t shake. The photos are clear, but they mask an intense sadness and desperation to be the best I could be. The PND was predictable considering the fraught time we had actually getting to have a live baby, but I come from a family of stoics and weakness was not tolerated. I battled on and was ridiculed by my (then) General Practitioner for thinking I needed help.

Time moved on and my dear, sweet son was never an “easy” child. Every transition was battled through (by both of us), I have often wondered if the anxiety I had when he was small has led to him being the person he is today; so intelligent but easily defeated, fearful of failure and with a very high wall around him. Call it Motherguilt, but I do feel responsible.

Four years later my husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world, as she was placed up on my chest, I whispered “Happy Birthday Clare” and she promptly fell asleep. She is a child of resilience and calm.

 

IMG_0017 Caring and quiet, but with a fun side too, she is often shocked at the political incorrectness of my generation. Injustice weighs heavily upon her and she has said occasionally she would like to join a hippy commune cut off from the outside world so she didn’t have to know what awful things were happening to her fellow humans.

He is working his way to being an engineer (if he ever weans himself off his drug of choice- computer games) and she is looking seriously at marine science, she has always been a creature of the sea. They are beautiful and bright and have so much going for them, they have led comfortable lives. It all sounds wonderful doesn’t it? As any parent knows, it is the lovely things we cling to, that help us through the bleakest, darkest times.

Those times are with us all, some of us just have it harder than others.

If I had known how hard it was going to be, would I have had children? My younger brother is about to become a parent, he has wanted children since he was young and now at  the age of 42 his dream is hopefully going to become reality; I am so excited for him and his lovely wife I feel like bursting with happiness… I suppose there is my answer.

My children are young adults now, life has been difficult as a parent, but has it been worth it?

Yes.

second image for cropping

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