Saturday 21 March 2020

Do I get breakfast in bed ?

It used to be a running joke that on Mother's Day I would do something that didn't involve my kids. The logic was that I am a mum every day so for one day of the year I get to celebrate it doing something for myself. A spa day, going to the theatre on my own, something just for me. Then something happened last year that left me in shock. Actual shock. Three days before Mother's Day. I was already committed to spending the weekend with my own mother and my mother-in-law and not wanting to let anyone down I went along. On the Saturday with my family I took my kids - they only want to see them anyway - and acted like nothing was wrong. We had an afternoon tea and Prosecco. It was lovely. The following day we travelled down to see mother-in-law despite my wish to just crawl under a stone. I overdid the Prosecco and tried too hard to pretend all was well.

A few weeks later at Easter there was no more pretending. I was open and honest about what had been going on and that I wasn't prepared to tolerate it any more. What followed was the most painful time I have ever experienced. Months of punishing myself for not knowing, for being so stupid, for not trusting my instincts. To be clear I knew from the minute I found out it was over. There was absolutely no question in my mind. I don't regret this decision and I don't in any way wish to be back where I was.

In the first few weeks I had to deal with other people's reactions. I didn't want to tell all and sundry what had happened. I felt it reflected badly on me. I found out very quickly who I could trust and who I should stay away from. I formed a WhatsApp group of friends who I knew would be there for me at all hours. To agree with me while I was ranting, hold me while I cried and sometimes just to listen. I desperately wanted to feel loved again. I wanted someone to hold me and make it all better.

Each milestone has been like a millstone. The first holiday just me and the boys. I took my Mum with us and cried on her almost every day. She fed me and listened to me and did all those wonderful Mum things that you don't usually have any more once you leave home. The first Christmas as a single parent. Surrounded by other families who all came with a full complement of parents.

Every step of this has been like walking on broken glass. The cuts hurt, but I've kept going. I have had to. We're coming up to a year of this now. I've ensured the boys have support and that they see all the people in their family. That hasn't always been easy, but it is only fair.

I have held firm that I am not accepting less than I deserve. That I am worth more than I have tolerated in the past. I didn't actually believe it at first, but you know what they say, 'fake it until you make it.'

You see I pretty much always knew that I wanted to be a mother. It was the one thing that I wanted more than anything else in the world. For a long time I didn't think it would. I tried to make my peace with it. I was completely in love with a man who had children already. I dated a man who couldn't have them. I married a man who was told it would be unlikely. So many times it looked like it would never happen.

Then it did. I made a baby. Grew him and fed him from my body and now he's almost as tall as me. When it seemed that my miracle baby would be a one-off his amazing brother came along too. So here I am a mother to two boys. The best thing in my life.

This is a moment in time. I realise that. My sons have been the most incredible support to me while this hellish year has been going on. Seeing how kind and thoughtful they can be gives me hope that I am doing better than I think. Of course they also argue and fight and drive me mad, but that is only to be expected, They still make me laugh and hug me if I ask nicely.  Not in public of course - that would be embarrassing.

I will make the most of it while I can and this Sunday it will be just us. Me and these two boys who before I know it will be young men. Taller than their mum and handsome devils the pair of them. Even if I never fall in love with anyone else again I will have these boys by my side.

After all I am their mother.

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