Chapter 1: New born fantasies

This post was written in April 2021

Grieving for the child you thought you would have is something that pretty much every parent has to go through. Some to a lesser extent of course, but don’t we all imagine parenthood to be a particular way, imagine interactions between ourselves and our child, imagine the life they’ll lead? Then the kid comes along and shits all over it.

As a high achieving, control freak I’ll admit this reality hit me hard. But as all mothers do, I made the necessary adjustments when I had my first child. I learned to sit back a bit and allow him to bloom into whatever he would become, find his own path. On reflection, I suppose I still had control over this… I selected a handful of paths and allowed him to choose one.

He was handsome, performed well enough academically, made enough acceptable friends and generally towed the line enough for me to be able to feel that being his Mother was what I signed up for. I allowed myself the occasional musing as to what our life (my life) would be if he was just a bit more like this or like that but in the main I was not having to make enormous adjustments to my mindset.

In strolled child number 2.

I will preface what is coming with the following undeniable truths:

1) I love my daughter with the fierceness you wouldn’t want to mess with

2) My daughter is magnificent

3) I know exactly how lucky I am to have her – 100% she is a blessing

4) I am well aware of how ugly some of my thoughts are. But they are mine and by speaking them out loud I am trying to unpick and diminish them

When she was born I fell in love so hard I could barely sleep, I just wanted to stare at her perfect little face and not miss a minute. I suppose it was in those hours I set my future self up for much heartache and turmoil. I dreamed of the future she would have, the intelligent, self assured feminist that would astonish the world with her quick mind and kind heart. I imagined us as firm friends – spending hours chatting, doodling, crafting, playing board games. I’m sure I am not unique in these newborn daydreams. Even at the time I probably could have identified how ludicrous the whole ideas was, after-all I was not some newbie first timer. I knew the realities of parenthood but nevertheless I proceeded with these unhelpful fantasies.

She was born with a hole in her heart, this didn’t faze me. Being brutally honest I think I probably enjoyed us having this adversity to conquer together.

She was small, again not a problem. I revelled in having this tiny little thing to proclaim was ‘small but mighty’.

At 6 months old we started down a long a winding road of doctors and health professionals all wondering if there was ‘something up’ with this kid. Her cardiologist was happy that her heart was doing well and she wouldn’t need any interventions, but she thought she was perhaps a bit too small so referred her to a general paediatrician.

I was so confident that there was nothing wrong with my perfect child I bounced along to this paediatric appointment a few days before Christmas without my husband, ready to be told that the referral was a waste of time and that my child would be ready to run marathons and join MENSA in a few years.

It is fair to say that is not how it went down.

Next blog post – Palatable Differences

Palatable differences

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