After a miscarriage and having concerns about my age and mental health, it was half-way through my pregnancy with Gracie that I began to trust that maybe Peanut was to become a healthy baby. I began to keep a pregnancy journal that I might give to my daughter when she’s older.
When I started my journal, my relationship was rocky and I was filled with the responsibility of raising a new vulnerable life alone.
I’m not religious but I do have a sense of spirituality. I felt so tiny, so remarkably out of control about what was happening and I begged to whatever higher power might be there (that I’m not even sure I believe in, but call God in any case) to help me take care of this new human growing in my belly.
It’s also a promise to my unborn baby that I will do all that I am able to do to spare it from my fate.
1 February 20—
I have a baby on board! 20 weeks tomorrow! The little darling’s legs were close together so we can’t be sure of Peanut’s sex. The sonographer thinks a boy. Nearly halfway through and I feel thuds in my belly, occasional and light. I can’t believe the miracle occurring inside me. I am patiently waiting for the day God welcomes another gorgeous and pure soul onto this earth. I pray for Peanut to have a healthy and happy life. I want Peanut to always be assured of my love. But never contained by it. To know that my love wants my darling baby to fly, to flourish or stay and grow and that, however, it wants to live its life is what I want it to do, with my love and blessing.
Oh, how easy it is to say these words now in the quiet and naïve state of pre-motherhood. Pre dealing with pooey nappies, sleepless nights, tantrums, fevers, sicknesses, crawling and exploring, the endless array of dangers presented by our ever complex and expanding world of possibilities.
But tonight in the tranquillity of a cooler summer evening I think of my baby, safely ensconced inside me, wrapped in my body’s protective layers, giving it nourishment and life, and I wait with patient anticipation for the perfect gift. A long, yearned for joy that I will selfishly enjoy, watching dependency grow into resilience, confidence and an adult independent who will fly the next in their own good time, hoping that a firm foundation has been established.
Tonight all fear of failure, all fear of hereditary hell erased.
Tonight there is dancing, singing and hymns in praise of the wonder of such a human miracle.That little unborn life that has already captured my heart!
Tonight I will be the perfect mother. The perfect family. The perfect environment.
Because whatever happens little one will not be plagued by the horrors of its forebears. Not the grieving and pain and loss and hatred of war. Not the terror and despair of insanity. No, but stronger, wiser, freer.
I’ll tell you your history is a strength, not a failure.
This is what I want for you, my child.
And tomorrow. I will try! And tomorrow…. I will be in raptures as your tiny fingers enclose on one of mine. I will adore seeing when first your eyes open. I will tend your wounds, but not too tenderly, I will remind you that It will all be forgotten by the time you finish school . I’ll read to you – and you will read to me. We’ll explore the world, the universe and the backyard.
Your family and friends will never let you feel alone. Although at times in the world it is inevitable that you will. But you will have the resilience and the tenacity to continue with energy and excitement.
I want you to be you. Perfectly you. And I am so excited to see who that will be. I love you before I see you. I love you infinitely and will love you infinitely more at first sight. And that will continue to be so.
And tomorrow too, it will mean tears. It will be scary. It will mean, as I read a quote somewhere, that my heart will always be external to me.
I vow I will be strong for you. I will not succumb. I won’t always be right, but your true, genuine and sustained happiness will always be central to my actions. And I hope God and the blessed angels will be guiding you despite my best efforts.
My life was hectic while I was pregnant with constant fighting with my partner and feeling less stable, more emotional because of the tablets I had been prescribed for a safer pregnancy.
But there is another part that comes through the journal entry: I am absolutely euphoric with the joy of bringing new life into the world. Nothing tainted my pregnancy experience. I did pregnancy yoga where I met others on their journey toward motherhood. I had no morning sickness at all. The last month of pregnancy (feeling like a beached whale) was admittedly unpleasant.
You may have guessed from my posts that I usually find myself drawn to the negatives, but birthing a new life felt like such a profound experience I drank the whole experience of pregnancy in. I felt besotted at the beauty of life and at the potential and joy of my little one’s life.
I don’t like to admit it but maybe it was a tiny bit manic…
Pre-motherhood is certainly different to the presence of your own child and the demands, responsibilities and delights these bring.
Surprise, surprise, I’m not the perfect mother. I have lost my temper and on occasion, I’ve had her in front of the TV while I lie in bed fighting my demons.
It’s a struggle for every mum, whether they are in the workforce or not, have a mental illness or not, have a partner or not, rich or poor. If we’re honest we all have moments we’re not proud of, but we do our best.
I keep this prayer and promise to remind me of the joy of anticipation and the inner strength I want for being a mum. I have primarily one job. That’s to be a stable mum who shows her love to her daughter. It’s a good enough goal and one I’m achieving.