Tuesday, April 12

not to be pitied

from here, via pinterest

"Sometimes I feel like we are the lucky ones."
We lie in bed before he slips off to spend the night tending to our offspring.
"I think that too."

He had just applied to drop back to part time work for six months. At first I was dark and brooding over it, the fact that ill health was robbing us of societal normality once again.
Us, not just me. That made it even worse.
It passed, like an angry cloud, when I saw the sparkle in his eye.

We have thought for years, there is a significant upside to living in the slow lane, keeping life a gentle pain-managing whisper. We have many an hour on our couch* becoming closer than we ever imagined, more united and delighted with our companionship, more than we could have if my body roared all day and into the night. It trickles down into the next generation too, time and ensuing fondness, which exists away from the hurry and scurry.

Sometimes the miserable path where you get stabbed and almost beheaded by an onslaught of low lying branches, has magical foliage not found on other paths. We get time and closeness.

Not a creative career, not as much money, not many pain-free days, but something so lush. '

* sans tv, is the key

Friday, April 8

i want to be the mother

Motherhood is taking the most vulnerable little person under you wing, and keeping it safe and fed until it’s ready to venture forth. It’s giving and giving and giving, when you long to be admitted into the hospital and nursed yourself. For someone who has struggled for many years just to shower and feed herself, it’s outrageous to turn around and give my sparse feathers up to a scrap of babe. I’m shivering, wanting to be wrapped up, but giving that blanket away. I sometimes groan, ‘I want to be the baby’. I get occasional bouts of jealousy. My friend has abbreviated it to IWBB, for ease of use in messaging {also known as mother’s group for the sick}. Who wouldn’t want to be fed, hugged, bathed, carried and gently popped to bed on repeat? That’s all any sickie ever wanted.

Apart from getting better.

But really, actually, not very deep down, I want to be the mother. IWBM. It’s painful yes, but strangely cathartic. I am the carer, for once. I get to love on her the way I want to be loved when I am a vulnerable inhabitant of a painful body. When I fold my arms tightly around her, I am stronger than my illness because my heart is acting. My heart is what motivates my aching arms to respond to her cries for me, and bundle her up. I like that there is more to me than pain and disability. There is fierce love. Sometimes the two wrestle it out, and the pain punches my heart and tells it that it is stronger and I can’t give anymore. I can’t give with vertigo, I can’t give with fatigue. But it underestimates the heart. I haven’t had to grapple with parenting books and styles. It’s instinctual, and it has been shaped by what I have learned through my walls being broken down and becoming weak.

It’s gentle. There is enough life ahead of her brimming with disappointment, raised levels of stress, tears. I will nurture her like she will only be an innocent baby once. Ben and I mock parenting labels, but then go ahead and name our style ‘low cortisol parenting’. Or shall we paraphrase it with this sleek version: ‘Actively minimising adrenal stress in infants because life gets hard fast parenting.'

As she grows she will learn that her mama hurts, that every family is a bit different, that her well papa struggles, that not every smiling face is feeling fine. She will find that life is messy, imperfect, uncontrollable, and at times downright miserable. But the answer to the sadness is love coming vertically from above, and horizontally from us. And it’s tender. It lessens pain; it keeps me soft instead of bitter. It lets me give when I’m hurting. It’s the reason that I want to be the mother.