I was fairly innocuous as a child. Still am as an adult if I’m to be completely honest. Things slip by me on a daily basis. I was never one to think in depth about what I wanted to do after I left school. My first career plan was to become a librarian but after I discovered that didn’t necessarily mean I would be able to sit on my rump and read all day, I quickly changed my mind. I flirted with veterinarian thoughts until it emerged that I would actually have to leave the country to study. Me? Who got anxious if there was even a whisper of an overnight stay at a friend’s house?
And all of a sudden there was one week left of the summer holidays and I had nothing to do and nowhere to do it in. So I ended up doing a secretarial course that was purely an excuse to spend another year in school until I got my finger out. Fell into my first job shortly after that, covering a maternity stint that lasted 6 years and then hightailed it to Dublin.
Where I woke up.
Morphed, if you will. I discovered beer. Pubs. Parties. Shopping. As long as I was able to pay my pitifully small rent, a few bills and had enough left over to enjoy myself, I was happy. I could not imagine giving up this life of freedom and debauchery to settle down.
But settle down I did. I even got married. Although I continued to live the good life, leaving everything at the drop of a hat for a good time. I was in no hurry to make changes, be they big or small.
And then came the day we found ourselves looking at two blue lines on a home pregnancy test. A positive home pregnancy test.
I wasn’t completely stupid you have to understand. I knew what we had been doing for the last couple of months, could quite possibly, even more than likely, result in this. I just didn’t expect this to happen so quickly!
And so, with a touch of anxiety, a smidgeon of nerves and a whole lot of excitement, the next seven months began to tick past. I enjoyed a trouble free pregnancy and was obviously providing adequate room and board as 42 weeks came and went and it was an induction for me.
Our first son left my body at 6.20am, Sunday 19th February 2006, with a huge, slithery slurp and two things happened simultaneously: I fell in deep, maternal love and knew I would kill to protect this, our precious child, and secondly, I wanted to do this again. Several times.
Screecher Creature No. 1, eventually to become part of The Awesome Foursome, was placed on my chest after an uneventful labour and, following a quick introduction to breastfeeding, we were subsequently brought back to the maternity ward where we were both tucked up in bed together. My son and I slept for 4 hours until we were gently roused from slumber to begin our most excellent adventure together. With some help from Mister Husband it has to be noted.
The first few weeks were tough; hazy with lack of sleep and I possessed a vicious hunger that could not be sated. It also transpired that our firstborn did too. I had a leech on my hands. Or nipple to be precise. For hours at a time. Hours!
Pretty soon I became passably good at this mothering lark. Lots of things improved; my confidence, my sleep, my ability to stop snarling at the door to door callers who had just woken the baby after an hours attempt to get him down for a nap.
I even managed to get out with Mister Husband once or twice. Yes, life was getting back on a nice, even keel. So the inevitable happened. Discussions began about going for number 2. I must be a very fertile person indeed as it happened within a couple of months. New Years Eve 2006 saw me waving a freshly peed on stick at Mister Husband who was reclining on the couch. We reckoned I was about 5 weeks pregnant. We also reckoned that this might be as good a time as any to start weaning Screecher Creature Only Child. I was fully expecting (and secretly hoping) this idea would be met with great resistance. The day feeds went first and with just a couple of relapses, within a week, my body was my own again during the day. All going well so far, I decided to knock the morning feed next. Again, Screecher Creature Only Child launched himself at me once before deciding he preferred his milk out of a glass for breakfast. The night feed, my favourite, was the last to go, and 16 months after I gave him birth, our first born was completely weaned.
Alas, a couple of months into my second fledgling pregnancy, it came to an end.
I have the utmost respect for Mother Nature and truly believe that all things happen for a reason. I know this is how I was able to make my peace with my body’s loss. Understandably we were disappointed but we accepted it just wasn’t the right time for us.
We waited a month or three before trying to conceive again and this time I was able to inform Mister Husband on his 35th birthday that he was going to be a daddy again.
We arrived at the hospital on New Year’s night, eight months later, at 8pm. Our second boy was born an hour and a half later, a little ball of fury who latched on immediately and created in me, wonder and awe at what my body was able to do.
All of this from someone, who a few short years earlier, believed children didn’t have a place in her life.
Once upon a time being able to fit into a size 10 was something I was delighted with. Today, however, and four kids later, I am a perfect candidate for those Dove advertisements.
My jeans have little mouth shaped dried in yogurt stains and all my clothes have pretty much identical stains on the left shoulder. I may have been innocuous as a child but there’s no getting away from the person I am today. As one of my boys told me once; “Mammy, me Spiderman, you Super Mammy!” You betcha! I even have the battle scars to prove it!