As ever, I am very thankful for my mum and hope I tell her often enough how much I appreciate all she does for me, but this weekend more than most I’m thankful for those who call me mum.
I am very lucky to have them both and although I often have to remind myself this (sometimes several times a day), I am also frequently struck by how odd the mothering thing is.. I grew these people? These people who have their own minds, their own thoughts and their own opinions and who are not afraid to share them!
Amy will be 14 on Thursday. I can’t quite believe it. I usually find her birthday difficult.. but last year for the first I didn’t have flash backs or glimpses of what I might have been doing at the same time x years ago on that fateful day.
Tonight she was telling me how she will still be up at midnight the night before, so that she sees ‘turning 14’. I told her she was born at 2.09am.. and instantly I got that stomach lurching feeling that I didn’t want to have again. But I let it come.. and go.
Amy’s birth is not something I like to remember. It was traumatic.. for her especially. And its still traumatic. No amount of people telling me to wise up, it’s a long time ago.. look how well she is now.. etc makes that bit any easier. Ever. And I’m not naturally dramatic or attention seeking. The problem is that our brains are powerful things and the impact of what we went through is stored away deeply in the iceberg that is our subconscious mind along with all the self esteem building moments and those moments that shake your view of yourself to the core.. the hurts and the low body blows that we get from time to time. When something is triggered from that deep core it bubbles up and over all too easily (for something you thought you’d locked away).. The iceberg (think of your brain as a huge triangle.. only the tip of which is visible.. the rest under water) can as easily be filled with happy and positive memories or experiences which boosted your self esteem. I tell people about this often.. when you get a compliment for example and it feels good, be aware of the feeling and enjoy it and store it in the bottom of your triangle.. the point being that someday you’ll need to draw on those reserves.
I can still now bubble up with the gut wrenching fleeting sickness when I recall Amy’s birth and early days. It can be triggered by the oddest of things.. like the beep of a photocopier.. if you’ve stood in intensive care you’ll know what I mean..
The thing is that you can’t reason with your subconscious. The reactions are triggered without you even being consciously aware that they have been. Until you ‘see’ yourself acting irrationally..
I can now clearly feel the trigger, which means I can acknowledge the pain, and then move on from it. That’s taken some time though.
I’m acutely aware that mothers day is not about mothers. It’s a retail landmark.. but nonetheless it’ll be a landmark day for those who may not wish to be reminded of it.
We lost 5 babies and barely managed to bring Amy safely into the world. Lucy was lucky number 7.
Amy’s survival is nothing short of a miracle and I choose this way to remember the experience when the bubbles come.
Amy was 6 days old on my first mothers day. We still hadn’t held her (she was 6 weeks old before that happened.. and she died in my arms). My mum and the nurses made tiny footprints in a card for me and it was the most heart breaking card I ever received.
I don’t actually think I can write about it all if I’m honest. It’s not very interesting if you weren’t there.. it’s kind of a ‘you had to be there..’ story. As in, you actually wouldn’t believe it all.. In short, our miracle wouldn’t take it lying down. She fought so hard that despite having little going for her (apgar score of 1), she was determined with all of the little resource she had. They had to sedate her as she refused to let the life support machine breathe for her.
Amy was no bigger (or heavier) than about 6 slices of streaky (not even back) bacon. We were priveledged to watch our wee scrap of life develop in front of our eyes. Her ears, fingers, skin.. her heart had to learn to pump, her blood had to learn how to renew itself, no reflexes indicated that everything would be a journey. And it has been..
So now she is almost 14. It’s as far away as ever. We are reminded often of how hard she has to work to process what we make sense of innately, but that strength of will that kept her here against all odds is the strength of will I clash with often now.. and for which I’m thankful.
I’ve learnt a lot from Amy. I think many people will learn a lot from Amy. The gifts she has are many and diverse. I hope she can learn to see them. Lucy can see all her own attributes.. that is her gift.. a miracle by virtue that she made it here safely, Lucy is a force of nature.
So, rather than focus on cards and chocolates tomorrow (although there will be both and they will be appreciated), I will look at my miracles and be grateful for them.. hormones and all.