My motherhood by Ffy McKeating
13 09 2013 • My Motherhood
Not having a mother of my own for over a decade, and losing multiple babies at varying stages of pregnancy as a result of a rather nasty immune problem, meant I never took my motherhood for granted for a single second. I developed cancer in my eighth month of pregnancy and so, the delicious promise of parenthood cruelly just out of my reach by a whisker, meant it was something I craved on a daily basis. I was warned by several midwives and obstetricians not to idealise the drudgery of motherhood, simply because my own was so hard won. ”You will most certainly be disappointed”, they chorused.
If I’m being candid, its promise did indeed become a mythical beacon – a siren song or Excalibur of sorts. As such, my ovaries would practically let off a volley of fireworks if I so much as had a whiff of baby powder. Its ferocity scared me, because I worried terribly that it wouldn’t live up to my impossibly sweet expectations and I would fail miserably as an inevitable consequence. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe it would all be dewy-faced, slumbering nippers in scented, downy baby grows, with gala apple cheeks and cherubic pouts. Yet, similarly, I don’t think I quite expected the force with which my life would be torn asunder – especially having two children so close together. In short, it was like being hit over a head by a shovel. Twice.
I had juggled a zillion things, as a lawyer in the city, seen catastrophic injuries working in hospitals, and also grown up as part of a fundamentally fractured core family unit… thus was remarkably nonplussed by most problems. Motherhood broke me, but rebuilt me in an altogether more rounded, compassionate and complete way. Motherhood taught me how to feel in a way I had long forgotten about. Like so many other mothers, I can no longer physically watch or read of children suffering in any way now, without burying my head and screwing my eyes up. I have learnt to feel unrivalled giddy joy at my daughter’s wee in a potty, her painting of me that more closely resembles the ugly sister of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ (after perhaps being placed on a bonfire), finally being able to get my babies to latch on to my breast after 3 weeks of agony and sheer bloody-mindedness, a relentless fever finally breaking, hearing her construct a funny and thoughtful sentence for the first time, watching my girls dancing completely lost in the joy of the music – their little disjointed puppet bodies flailing around in gay abandon. Their tiny rapt faces, wide-eyed with wonder as I make up a random story on the spot about their guinea pigs, and them scrabbling to their feet in their cots in the morning and squealing with excitement… just because I have walked into the room and “Mummy is here!” are my daily highs.
I love my girls, as Shakespeare might say, with the intensity of the fire of a thousand suns. The responsibility of that beautiful blank soul of a canvas, and the license to paint upon it is an opportunity that always keeps me on my toes (and forever grateful). My worst day as a parent, is infinitely better than my best day as a child free woman. Of all the balls I ever juggle at a given time (and there are scores), motherhood is the one I absolutely never want to drop.
Ffy McKeating is married to Grant and is mum to Lara, two and Darcy, one. She is the creator of the non-profit website, Fertility Fighters
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