I wrote this a few weeks ago, but hesitated to post it as there are people who may read this blog who don’t know about bits of my life. But then I thought, 1 they probably don’t read it anyway, 2 it’s my blog and my space and my writing and 3 it’s my life, and if there’s stuff people don’t like, well, tough. They haven’t lived it.
I never, ever thought I would be here, right here, a mother. A mummy. When I was a teenager, I was vile. Vile. So vile, in fact, that I decided at around age 16 I never wanted to be a mum in case my offspring turned out like me.
I held this view into my early twenties, when I also fell victim to gynae-related problems. I shan’t subject you to any details, but by my mid-twenties when tests and treatments had ended, I was sure I would never be able to be a mum. This didn’t really bother me at that time. I was in a relationship with a boy who didn’t have any desire to become a dad. There were other things to do, like travelling (this was an aspiration, not a realisation), going to see bands (I did this a lot), spending whole weekends drinking, getting horribly drunk, recovering from said drinking, and starting all over again (I also did this a lot), and working every hour I wasn’t doing any of the above (I’m no career-woman, I just work for the NHS). Having a child just wouldn’t have fit in.
That relationship ended, sadly (he was just too nice, and a little clingy), and I started a new one very soon after. Too soon after, with hindsight; after nine months together, we got married. We moved out of our home town to live by the sea. We knew no-one there we just both wanted a sea-side life. After three months of marriage, he walked out. I stayed by the coast for just over a year, before moving back up north to be closer to my friends and family. During this time, my views on children had begun to change. I now felt like being a mum wouldn’t be so bad, that a change in lifestyle might even be a good thing. A telling sign that the marriage would never have worked was the fact that I could never see myself having children with the man I married.
I had a relationship time-out following the break-down of my marriage, but my views were still changing regarding becoming a mum. I began to think it was something I would actually like to do, but had to quash these thoughts as I was so sure that I was infertile.
When I met The Boyfriend, it was in ‘difficult’ circumstances. I had dated his housemate; I had ended it, only for The Boyfriend and me to get together days later (although the ex was back with his ex literally a day later). By the time our first date was over, I knew that this was something special.
After two months together, we decided to book a holiday. We found a cute apartment in the south of France, booked cheap flights, and got excitedly impatient at having to wait a further three months for it to arrive. The holiday was amazing; we had never spent more than two days together due to the fact that we both worked shifts, and they inevitably always clashed. We spent every hour of every day for fourteen days together, we learned so much about each other, and decided we could probably live together and not kill each other.
I moved in days after we returned home from the holiday. Three years previously, The Boyfriend had bought a two-up two-down as a means of getting started on the property ladder. It was a little cramped to say the least, but we compromised and coped, and decided that what we needed was a cat. Actually, The Boyfriend decided we needed a cat while we were out looking for furniture. We passed a farm which had advertised they had kittens available, and The Boyfriend (a devout dog-lover, by the way) demanded I turn the car round so we could go and have a look. There was one left, a ginger tom, who snuggled up to The Boyfriend’s chest on being picked up, and fell asleep. The Boyfriend fell in love. We had a kitten. Then we got another to keep the first one company.
A month later we went for a weekend away, back to the seaside town I had spent a year and a bit in. We went for a meal, had a few drinks, caught up with some friends of mine, had a few more drinks, and I spent the entire weekend feeling like I was dying. Convinced I had picked up a bug while at work, I didn’t really pay too much attention to the symptoms of my illness. The Boyfriend, however, Googled them all and drew the conclusion that I was pregnant. Ridiculous, I said. I don’t even think I can get pregnant.
The two pink lines that appeared a millisecond after I had peed on the stick said otherwise. I was in shock. Good shock, but shock all the same. I called The Boyfriend into the bathroom where I was still sat on the loo. He was ecstatic. I suddenly felt like a fifteen year old; what will my mum say? She’s going to kill me!
She didn’t, obviously, as I am here telling this tale. She did need a few glasses of wine, though, to take the edge off the news that she was to become a grandmother. Once the initial surprise had subsided, she and my dad were incredibly supportive. And they still are now they are grandparents.
When The Boyfriend and I found out we were to become parents, we had been together seven months. Hardly a solid basis on which to form a family. I had suffered with depression in the past, and within a couple of months of pregnancy it returned. Things were difficult between us, but I tried to talk more and he tried to listen more, and somehow we got through it.
The Baby arrived and my depression returned again, with a vengeance, accompanied this time by panic and anxiety. The Boyfriend tried to be understanding, but it’s hard to understand something you have no experience of. We argued and shouted, I cried and screamed, The Baby cried and screamed, and it felt like we were all falling apart. I felt like I was failing as a mum and failing as a girlfriend. I wanted to run away by myself; I wanted to run away with The Baby; I wanted to stay in bed with The Baby; I wanted to stay at home all alone; I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. My thoughts became increasingly irrational, and I didn’t want The Boyfriend anywhere near The Baby; I had an enormous fear that he would walk out of the door with her in his arms, never to be seen again.
I no longer wanted to be with him. All we did was row, and whatever he did was never good enough. I felt like life would be so much simpler, so much happier, without him.
Looking back now, these feelings were obviously a lot to do with the depression, and sleep deprivation, but also to do with the strain that having a new baby puts on every relationship. It’s just that many other relationships have had more of a chance to develop and mature and strengthen. We had only been together for fourteen months and we were parents.
Ten months later, and we are still here, still together, still struggling to understand one another at times, and still muddling our way through parenthood. I never thought we would get through those early days, I really didn’t know how I would get through those early days, and even more than that, I never thought I would be a mum. I never thought I would be a ‘divorcee’, or be living back in my home town, or be with the boy who I thought was so lovely, but unobtainable as I was seeing his housemate. Yet this is it. This is me. Funny how life turns out.