Today in the UK is Mothers Day and so I am taking the opportunity on this day, as is my prerogative, to dedicate this blog post to my daughters.
I have three beautiful adult daughters with my husband Dave, Keisha (21 years), Natasha (20 years) and Tara (19 years), who have given me many years of laughter, tears, disasters and successes. My life would not have been complete without them and looking back I breathe a huge sigh of relief because we haven’t done too bad a job ~ even if we do say so ourselves.
Being a parent isn’t for some. Couples when they get together and plan their lives either go down the route of wanting children ~ or not wanting children and take it from there.
When you think of a mother your first thought goes to a woman who carried you for 9 months and then gave birth to you. That’s generally true but for some a mother isn’t genetically related to them because they may be their stepmother, adoptive mother, foster~mother, or aunt or grandmother stepping into the role.
On Mothers Day I always think of the women who for whatever reason are unable to have children of their own. Fertility treatment may not be successful or affordable and adoption takes time and patience. Sometimes, no matter what, couples may not have the children they desire so strongly, which is heartbreaking.
I have experienced miscarriages first hand, 5 times in fact and feel very much for any woman who has faced miscarriage, still birth or loss of a child. It makes no difference how many weeks down the line you are, loss is loss ~ it’s all relative.
So to mothers day ~ today, I think back to my mum and how turbulent our relationship was which all started at 5.10pm on the 17th May 1969 at Nocton Hall RAF Hospital Lincolnshire. I was born weighing 7lb 4oz and measuring 21 inches in length. A happy smiling baby who rarely cried unlike my siblings, who were both premature and jaundiced ~ I’m the lucky middle child with an older sister and younger brother.
I’m the one in the middle, my sister Chloe on one side and my brother Justin on the other..
This is a wee photo of me at a few months old..
Mum was unique, a bat shit crazy wonderful woman, we loved each other but we also at times loathed each other. Fighting in my teens was our normal but as I grew into adulthood we became close friends which is something I cherish. I miss mum each and every day but know she would be proud of us and imagine her cheering me on from the other side
Mum was a fabulous grandmother, who became a second mother to my girls. When I had weeks in hospital with either of my youngest two daughters, who were in and out of hospital an awful lot in the early years, mum stepped in to child mind my other two daughters at home.
Looking back I realise how special those early years were, I got to spend valuable time enjoying not only my children but also the company of my mum as equals, friends as well as family.
I have been exceptionally lucky to have my three beautiful daughters and don’t take a moment of it for granted. It wasn’t easy, I had 5 miscarriages ~ all boys, before I managed to complete my family. Pregnancy was not enjoyable ~ low blood pressure and horrendous morning sickness didn’t help. Weirdly I did enjoy giving birth with all 3 ~ that part was exhilarating. I was exceptionally lucky having short labours with all three and enjoyed long pulls on the gas and air, leaving tooth marks in the mouth piece each time!
My first-~born Keisha arrived after a 8 hour labour at 5.55am on Thursday 17th April 1997 on the maternity wing of Derby City General Hospital. She weighed in at a healthy 8lb 11oz and measured 52 cm long. Her arrival was dramatic as her cord was around her neck, as the midwife moved the cord from around her neck it snapped and hose~piped up the midwife, her glasses and up to the ceiling. A doctor was called as they were struggling to find enough cord to pinch between the clamp and thought that it may need sewing. However a nimble fingered midwife managed to clamp what was left of the cord and we could relax.
This is a photo of Keisha only hours hold and taken by Dave on the ward ~ the midwife had bathed and dressed her for me whilst I had a wash myself.
My second born Tasha didn’t want to come into the world on time and when she was 2 weeks overdue it was decided that the only option left was for me to be induced. So I had some gel squirted upwards to encourage the action to start and told to “walk around a bit” to try and get things moving faster. This second labour was my longest ~ lasting a lengthy 8 hours and at 7.58pm on Saturday 11 July 1998 again on the maternity wing of Derby City General hospital. Tasha was born weighing in at a stonking 10lb 5oz and measured a good 56.5cm long. The poor child was overcooked and her skin was red and chapped, otherwise she was a very happy and content baby.
This is Tasha all new and the first time we saw each other..
My youngest daughter Tara was also tardy, 9 days late in fact. We started labour only after I experienced some bleeding and we took ourselves to the hospital demanding to be seen. It was determined that her heart was in distress and that I should be induced. Now this labour was ridiculous ~ I had very little pain and so had to watch the monitors to see when I was having full contractions, I barely pulled on the gas and air. Mum had always wanted to be present at one of the births but as she lived in Lincolnshire and me in Derbyshire for the first 2 births she missed them.
When we had Tara we had moved to Lincolnshire which meant that we could grant her her wish. So she was in the room when Tara was born, I felt bad because I was perfectly comfortable and not in any real pain and so cheated, peeking at the monitor I groaned in faux pain as I contracted and think all in all I put on a great dramatic performance. Tara seemed to struggle even when fully dilated, her heart rate was going haywire so it was decided that my waters needed breaking. At this point the midwife realised that it was Taras head at the front with all the fluid behind her head which was causing her the distress. After much uncomfortable fumbling and a quick nick with a crotchet needle like implement Tara surfed her way into the world. My labour was a just 4 hours and she arrived at 7.08pm on the 4th February 2000 in the maternity wing of Lincoln County Hospital. She was my smallest baby weighing in at 7lb 14oz and measuring 52cm long. Just half an hour after the birth I was breast feeding and enjoying tea and toast.
This is Tara, only a few hours old, after we both had a clean up on the ward..
My girls have added a richness to my life, it’s not been all plain sailing and is stormy at times but I wouldn’t be without them. Parenting isn’t easy and there is no guide~book as to how to navigate the waters which are full of milestones, questions, mishaps and adventures. You are frazzled in the early years but watching your offspring grow up and become individuals in their own right is beyond rewarding.
I have a strong and supportive husband who was fully immersed in all parenting duties, from bottle feeds to nappy changes ~ watching plays, sports days and assemblies. Helping sort out revision and exam prep, going shopping and buying the first assorted sanitary wear ~ the trauma of periods, buying first bras, dresses, heels, make~up. Meeting boyfriends and consoling through heart breaks, paying for driving lessons and proudly and apprehensively watching them drive off without L plates.
My partner in crime, best friend and husband Dave…
My daughters make me proud, every single day, they are informed, articulate and follow their beliefs. They are very close and socialize together, laugh together and cry together ~ their sibling bond is so very strong.
As we watch them as young adults working towards their goals and moving forward to a time away from home we give ourselves a tentative pat on the back. We have weathered the storms and basked in the glorious days of their childhood. Now as adults we are entering the phase of being not “just” parents but also friends and that is such a fabulous feeling.
Me and my girls over the years..
Who knows, perhaps one day we will become grandparents ~ anything could happen!
Today I raise a glass and toast all women ~ not just the mothers ~ for somewhere along the line, with or without children we all mother someone at some time in our lives.
To my daughters ~ thank you for all that you are and all that you do ,we love you all so very much and are beyond proud of all you have achieved, you are fabulous ~ keep doing you and don’t compromise your dreams.