I was always one of those people who knew I wanted children. I became an aunt at 14 years old and I adored my little nephew. It was just one of those things that I was certain of – one day I’ll have kids. So when I was told at the age of 26, following an operation to remove an ovarian cyst, that my chances of falling pregnant naturally were almost non-existent as my fallopian tubes were so damaged, I was devastated.
When I found out that I was pregnant, 3 months after getting married, I was stunned. I had never considered myself as one of these people whom luck smiles upon. Quite the opposite in fact. But there I was, feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.
A horrendous pregnancy led to an emergency caesarean at 37 weeks, then a second operation a week after the birth. I was ill, physically drained, an emotional wreck and I had this tiny bundle that didn’t sleep and didn’t stop screaming. All I wanted was for my life to go back to how it was before this little man came into the world. I was so ashamed of how I was feeling. I couldn’t admit that I needed help. I felt like a complete failure who wasn’t worthy of calling herself Mam.
Nothing can ever prepare you for the reality of having your first baby – no amount of antenatal classes or reading. You think you know what being tired means. You don’t. After 5 weeks of little more than a few hours sleep, I really was the walking dead.
When I look back now, I realise that I had post-natal depression. At the time, I just stumbled about in the dark fog until gradually, it began to lift. Things started to feel right. I had this tiny little being that was completely dependent on me and I slowly began to love that fact.
I struggled to return to work after 9 months. I missed my baby boy so much, it was like a dull ache in my stomach all day and I couldn’t wait to rush home to be Mam.
Three years later, along came our second son. This time it was different. The depression didn’t come back. But, at 6 weeks old, he was diagnosed with meningitis. I have never in my life felt so terrifyingly helpless as I did watching my tiny baby battle with this horrendous illness. But battle he did for 5 days, pulled through and made a full recovery. So there it was again. That lucky star smiling down on us.
I was told I needed a hysterectomy. I was warned against having another child. But I couldn’t listen. And in 2014, along came our third son. Lucky star number three.
Even when other areas in my life are pretty pants, I will always appreciate how lucky I am to have three wonderful little boys. Even when I’m at the end of my tether, on my knees and desperate for time alone to be ‘me’, I still feel it.
From the second my first son came screaming into this world, my main role in life has been being Mam. Nothing else comes close. It means an endless amount of dirty washing and tidying up. It means my social life is children’s birthday parties and play dates. It means having to crawl out of bed to hush and soothe and clean up sick. It means falling into bed exhausted every night. It means tantrums and tears and slammed doors and snotty sorrys. It means breathing a sigh of relief when the school holidays end but missing them terribly when they’re not there. It means worry and fear, frustration and fed-upness. It means a beaming smile bounding towards me at the school gate. It means cwtches and kisses and tickles and snuggles. It means laughter and giggles and squeals of delight. It means being overwhelmingly adored by and overwhelmingly loving three beautiful boisterous little beings.
It quite simply means being Mam. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Hwyl am y tro X