I wanted a baby for so long, I was with someone for 9 years and he was never ready. I ended up getting together casually with a very good friend and our daughter was conceived. I found pregnancy a miracle, growing a human inside me blew my mind. I called her my magic bean and somehow I just knew she was a girl. I imagined how it would be, the kind of mother I would be, I wanted to be so there, loving and nurturing. Being half Indian and my partner also being very dark skinned and dark eyed, I imagined what kind of brown tones her skin would be. I couldn’t wait to birth her and hold her to my breast.. however, like so many women, the birth didn’t go to plan even though I was almost fully dilated when I got to the hospital, many hours later after a forcep delivery she was there. The forceps had damaged her eye and she had a big cut down her face. I remember seeing the other women hobbling around the hospital and I felt like we all looked like survivors of a war. There were other complications but we made it home safe and well 4 days later. But the breastfeeding was hard, it hurt and was hands down the worst time of my whole life. I didn’t give up though at times I felt I should.
My dad took us to a caravan park when I was 5, he didn’t come back. My mum had to do it alone with two mixed race kids (she is white). We were called ‘half-caste’ in the park. She was distant. Once I fell off my BMX and cut my leg open and mum just stood there and said “your leg’s bleeding”, another mum ran forward and hugged me, she looked at my mum and shouted “you are meant to hug her”. It was the moment I realised mum was different from other mums. I found the lack of ‘nurture’ hard, I wanted a mum like the ones in the films or the ones that seemed to be in other peoples houses. I felt so frustrated, for years! I have never heard her say anything bad about any human – I never heard her say one negative thing about my dad. Mum lost her own mother and twin brother tragically very young so I always thought this was the reason for her maternal issues. 7 years ago my mum was diagnosed with Aspergers. My mum used to play in the park with us- until it got embarrassing-she couldn’t always read that either. But until it was embarrassing I used to love the fact she would try to swing the highest on the swings, and that she would just dance when music came on, even in a shop and that she could just sing a song about anything and everything.
Your Mother, You, Your Children
Now I have my children and they teach me so much about being a parent, about listening, holding them when they fall and always constantly checking in with myself. At first I had to try hard to do the things I thought would come naturally- like reading a story at bedtime, kissing them, cuddling them, telling them I loved them. Sadly these things did not come naturally to me at first. But now they do! I never had cuddly toys as a child and I never even understood why people did but my son has taught me why, and he gives such great cuddles. My mum and I still do not hug, we tried for a bit but it was just so awkward. But my kids do hug her, and even if she finds it hard she prepares for it and allows it to happen. I’m sure somewhere she quite likes it as I noticed once when they didn’t hug her she looked a bit lost, and I actually felt glad that somewhere she can receive touch just for the reason of being nanny, and being loved. I still find parenting hard, there are highs and lows, but I think my mum has taught me to keep going, to pick myself up and not dwell on the shit stuff. That negativity and guilt get you nowhere. We dance in our house, our moves are not in time or cool but we just let go and jump around.