I always wanted to be a mother. It was a choice I made and a choice that came easily to Andy and I , we know how very lucky we were to have been able to even have that choice.
Four children, each journey with them so different.
When Theo was born I assumed that babies just cried all the time and didn't sleep. Now I know that he has disordered sleep as a result of his ASD diagnosis. Sleep....I remember wondering if I ever would sleep properly again. With three children under 7 and heavily pregnant with Daisy I lay awake at night, my skin burning with the obstetric choleastasis that I developed in pregnancy, hoping that this last baby would be a good sleeper.
Of course Daisy took the art of not sleeping to the extreme, eventually needing a huge cocktail of drugs at night to help her sleep. I lay in bed listening out for her, crying for mummy, a seizure or a cry of pain....
And now, I still can't sleep, now I have older children, my body and mind still listen out for them, and still I wake at night, this time to silence.
They needed me all the time, I wondered if I would ever have time for me again, that there would ever be time when I was tending to the needs of a small person, all needy, in their own little ways.
And now the most needy one is no longer here and the my others don't need me. It's the time I wanted, time to myself. But when you have spent half a life time being needed, putting your child's needs before your own, it's difficult to know what to do. But they do still need me, not in a physical way, just to be present, to be available when late at night, my eyes heavy and wanting to go to bed they decide they need to talk, they need to know I'm there, the anchor, even when they are not here.
Empty nesting, it's very real. One in University, fiercely independent but yet indignant that she can't track my whereabouts on her phone, one working full time, who still likes to tell me about his life and plans, and one making plans for a new college course, needing me to buoy him against the crippling anxiety he feels.
Motherhood never ends, it just changes. It changes you, each stage so different, that umbilical cord is still very much attached.
Even when they are not here. I am and will always be Daisy's mother. I will always be their mother. The mother of four, very much wanted and loved children.
My body knows this, the folds of loose skin on my stomach the visible signs of the severe polyhydroamnios which were the first sign that something was not right with my last pregnancy, my chronic insomnia from nights awake worrying about them.
I'm still learning, this new stage, as a mother of older children, as a bereaved mother, I am learning what this means.
I glow with pride as I watch them make their way in the world, independent, resilient, determined. As I remember my beautiful Daisy and the mother she made me, the love she gave me.
Mother's Day is always hard. It was a choice I made, it was never going to be easy, motherhood is not easy. I seem to have travelled a harder path but I wouldn't swap it for the world.
As always I send my love to those who so want to become mothers and can't, to those who are mothers but can no longer hold their children and to the mothers like me who continue to make it up as they go along!