A friend of ours recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and, as so many things do these days, it got me thinking.
After I had Heidi, almost 5 years ago, I really struggled to be around expectant mums, or their gorgeous new arrivals.
It brought so many emotions from my own experience to the surface – of course I was happy for them, and relieved when the news came through that “mum and baby are doing well” but it was a harsh reminder of what was taken away from me and Steve.
That in turn then brought feelings of guilt that I shouldn’t be thinking that way, that this was their time, which made me feel rubbish, which then made me realise how lucky we are as some people have it much worse, which made me feel guilty again, and so the cycle continued.
But, at some point, and I can’t tell you exactly when, things changed.
I felt myself sharing the joy of baby news, without having to force anything, or take a few moments to gather myself together.
I was also able to remember my pregnancy (bloomin’ loved being pregnant!) and talk about the birth without breaking down in tears.
I clearly remember pre-Heidi, how I had it all planned out in my head (massive lessons learned there hey!).
I was going to be a chilled-out mum, with firm but fair principles. I was going to hug my little one every day and tell them how much they were loved.
I was going to have fun. I was going to bake and do crafts. I was going to cheer them on at every school event. I was going to support them in whatever they wanted to do.
I was going to bring them up to be kind. I very much wanted to be the kind of mum that my own mum was, and still is, to me.
All that changed in an instant when Heidi was taken so poorly within the first hour of being born.
My plan went out the window, and we had to start from scratch. For a long time after having Heidi, I didn’t feel like a mum at all, let alone the kind of mum I wanted to be.
I was a nurse, a physio, a therapist, an administrator, an advocate. It wasn’t what I signed up for and I was scared.
Over time though, and with the right support, we settled in to a routine.
We learned about Heidi, we worked as a team, and before we knew it we started to be happy.
It feels a bit strange saying that, as I think sometimes people look at families like ours and feel pity or wonder how we do it.
Don’t get me wrong, there can be tougher days, but there are also days where you feel your heart is full to bursting. Heidi has taught me so much.
Of course, I wish things were different for her, that she didn’t have extra challenges, but she doesn’t know any different and is such a happy and loved little girl.
She has shown me that I am exactly the kind of mum I was meant to be.
I’m Heidi’s mum, doing all the things I planned to do (sometimes just in a slightly adapted way) and I wouldn’t change that for the world.