Monday 16 March 2015

The Greatest Act

'....Thursday 9th January 2014 ...This year may possibly be the year that everything starts to fall into place for us. The year we start to put foundations in place just for you.
I don't know who you are yet and when you will be here but know this as my first words that i ever speak to you, you are loved and wanted more than anything in the world.  With a tiny flicker of hope and with a little whisper of magic yo
u may just be on your way as this year ends.' 
- Taken from 'My self indulgent lupus pregnancy diary'.

As the heartwarming, sentimental photos and testimonials of love and admiration for our Mum's ease from our Facebook and Instagram feeds, I am yet again feeling the significance of the changes that are occurring and the blessing that I too, all being well, will be celebrating Mother's day next year. But the catalyst for this post really being a message my sister sent me yesterday.

"Happy mothers day!! As you are officially a mummy and a great one too!! Xx"
Heavily fueled by my hormonal state, my eyes burned with tears but for what, I couldn't quite identify, was it the kindness and thoughtfulness of my sister's actions? Was it the affirmation that in her eyes she values me in this regard already? Or finally the reality of being in a position I never thought I would be?

In my heart I knew her statement couldn't be more poignant. For many women motherhood begins when they get the double blue line on that little plastic stick, when they give birth after hours of labour or are handed the adopted child that they have longed for. Despite only being 22 weeks pregnant, I know I am barely a novice, but I'm optimistic in saying that each person will at some point in their journey, have that defining moment when they understand the true nature and being of becoming a parent.  There may be many more moments to come but there is a point at which most must realise the significant changes in their lives brought about by the arrival of a child.
But for me there has been no significant moment in this pregnancy where I've realised I am now a Mum, because I know deep down inside I was already a mother, I was already there and waiting. And I have been for a long time.  Being pregnant is the realisation of dream I never took for granted I'd have until it was here, but the love for this child has been growing in my heart far longer than she has being growing in my belly. I've seen her face whilst I've slept and felt the weight of her warm little body in my arms since before we were married. She is already a dream come true and her strength and willingness to thrive and grow inside my compromised and damaged body astounds me daily. I am overwhelmingly proud of this miracle despite her tiny fluttering heart beating for a mere 5 months. 
The past few months have been more frightening than anything I have encountered in my life and yet the battle to achieve this accolade of motherhood fills me with such desire I would go through it again threefold.

I've spoken to dozens of women over the past year on pages and in groups of people facing the same challenges as I, and with the same or even more harrowing medical history than my own. Some have battled tirelessly in their quest to become a mother, enduring endless heartaches, painful complications and stretching their bodies to the limit to achieve that goal of becoming a mother, that natural entitlement most of us as humans seek to claim.  And yet so unfairly the scales are tipped between those who can do so so easily and those that have to fight wholeheartedly.  But this natural longing brings out the warmongering in the most biologically challenged.  We flip the 'out of order' sign and replace it with a neon version 'maintenance in progress'. They are some of the most positive women you could ever meet, each pregnancy announcement is a celebration for all and each grief is given support, because the one thing we all have in common is hope, hope that one day we will get what we prayed for.  Some of my fellow chronic illness sufferers have chosen not to pursue the opportunity evolution provides us with in our in our most primitive human make-up. The heartbreak is to much too bear, the risk too dangerous or the price to high to pay and in the end, for some of us our bodies take away that choice.  

But for the few of us with chronic illness, lupus or other medical conditions that affect our daily life, future health and possibilities of having children, that have managed clutched onto that tiny strand of opportunity and given the fateful fortuity to become a mother, we face a lifetime of uncertainty. No parents health or wellbeing is guaranteed, but we ourselves begin our journey with the decision not many have to make, and that is whether or not to knowingly bring a child into a family where there is a chance the child will witness the ill health and suffering of a parent, will potentially have a higher risk of developing a similar illness and will have a parent with limited energy and resources compared to their friends.  Family life is difficult enough for the best and healthiest of us, sleepless nights and full days at work, school problems, tummy bugs and money worries keep us on our toes and ready for that glass of wine on a Friday evening. Add a chronic illness aggravated by stress and sleeplessness, a change in your condition that could prevent you from working and a compromised immune system that makes you twice as susceptible to germs as your child into that busy life and you are given a whole world of complications to manage.  So why do we make that choice?  More than anything in the world, those who have faced adversity seek anything that may give them the normality that others have never had to search for.
I read somewhere that motherhood is the greatest act of love and selflessness. The most challenging yet rewarding experience.. and I think I know already how much this child is and will be loved but I speak only as an amateur, and I know that soon enough my eyes will be well and truly opened.  I know that I will worry about her from her first breath, every cough and sneeze I will over analyse, every friend I will question suitability, each achievement I will praise and each road crossed I will grip her hand that bit tighter.
The greatest act it may truly be, but with rewards that are infinite and eternal.


  1. There must be dust in this room or something in my eye.
    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  2. I found this post via Alex (above) whose Dadrites blog I follow. I just wanted to say, don't ever let your lupus get you down. My mum raised my sister and I while suffering lupus (which she got at 14). She also broke her back when I was less than 1 year old. There were times it was hard for her, times she needed help, and there were times when mum just needed to rest. But we grew up having a greater understanding of how hard life can be for some, what chronic illness is like, and a better appreciation for what real pain is, all of which gave us greater empathy, and independence. She still did plenty of things with us, but rather than running around a playground, we'd do screen printing, or make books.

    She's in he 70s now and has been in remission for decades (I think menopause actually helped her), and she has a more active and full life than many 70 year olds.

    1. Thank you Richard, such nice words to hear from a different perspective, I truly hope it influences my child in the way that you have been. I'm always quite positive about my disease and try and live a life that is as close to normal as possible, I have a great family and wonderful friends - the lovely Alex being one - and consider myself truly blessed x x best wishes x x