tick tock, tick tock

So, we’re all confirmed: unless I go into labour over the weekend, we’re heading into the hospital for a C-section at 9.30 on Monday morning. Changing the face of Monday mornings forever, right? Geez. I’d usually be happily sipping on my morning coffee at that rather civilised hour, but instead I’ll have been nil-per-mouth (NOT EVEN WATER?!) since midnight the night before. Not even a coffee to steady the nerves.

It might sound like I’m a little bit petulant about the whole thing, and I guess (if I have to be honest) I am, rather. The whole of pregnancy has felt rather like a series of indignities that have been visited upon me by the universe. I know, I know, it’s a miracle and all that, but it’s also amazingly uncomfortable, undignified and (again, if I’m honest) a total pain in the ass. At the moment, all I want is to never, ever be pregnant again, and yet, I’m fairly sure that motherhood has some new indignities hiding up it’s sneaky sleeves for me. So, there’s that to look forward to.

It’s strange. You hear of people who have this instant connection to the child growing in their belly. Mums and even dads who are bowled over by the miracle, absolutely besotted with the child they have yet to meet. I’ve not really felt a connection to this child yet. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my brain’s way of protecting me if anything should go wrong (look, I’m a little bit pessimistic at times, and have been waiting for a disaster for the last 9 months). I’ve read about people like me, mums who don’t feel much for the child they are incubating, who fall in love the moment they are born. I’ve even read about mums who are besotted with their unborn child, only to discover that the actual baby is something quite different to what they were expecting.

I don’t know what will happen to us. I know that, given how I feel about my retarded dogs, I will probably love this child with unreasoning abandon. I hope so. I hope that once he’s out and about, a real, living, breathing thing, that I’ll feel that connection and be able to shuck off this weird feeling of disconnectedness. That I’ll be able to honestly tell you that it was worth it. That I’ll be able to feel that all the new indignities that new motherhood will force upon me will be worth it. I hope so, or I’m in for a helluva ride over the next few months.

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on mother’s day and motherhood

Today was weird. For the first time, I was wished a happy Mother’s Day by several people, even though the child I will mother hasn’t actually come yet. I have a strange relationship with Mother’s Day. My own mother has never felt further away, either emotionally or geographically. You see, my parents divorced when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and when I was 11 we (my dad had sole custody by then) emigrated to SA. My relationship with my mother, which was never especially good (even as a small child I saw her as extremely selfish and difficult to deal with) completely fell apart. We didn’t speak for several years, and when we did eventually make contact again, it’s always been iffy to the point of non-existent.

As of now, we’ve not spoken in over a year (possibly 2?). I even forgot to invite her to our wedding a few years ago. She just doesn’t feature in my life, which I suppose, on reflection should be a really sad thing, but in reality it’s just the way life is. My relationship with my dad is not much better (is there any wonder I’ve always been nervous about parenthood with these examples?!) It’s just been deteriorating for much longer.

I have, however, often loved my friends’ moms. They seem like lovely souls, doling out love to everyone who passes by. I was in boarding school, which meant any weekends we wanted to spend away from the boarding house were, by nature, with someone else’s family. That was always fine by me – I seemed to get along with parents in a way that my friends (impatient teenagers) just didn’t. I loved seeing moms dealing with daughters, dads dealing with sons – they always seemed to be such great friends.

As a teenager in boarding school, and later throughout most of my adult life, I’ve always been a mothering type. I care for my friends the way most people care for their families. I used to tuck my sister and her friends in at night in the boarding house, and bring them little treats to make tough weeks lighter. When a colleague has forgotten lunch, I’ll often share my own with them, so they don’t go without. I’ve always joked that I’ll mother anything that moves.

So as I take my first steps into parenthood and motherhood in just a few short weeks, I wish with every fervent hope in my being, that my parenting journey will be different from that my parents had. They say you always turn into your parents, but I really, really, really hope I never turn into mine. I hope that my own history, my own personality and the way that I want to be as a mother wins out over whatever nature has placed inside of me or created in my early years. I hope to be the mother I saw in my friends families, not my own.