Now we’re adults and we understand the world just that little bit more. Experiences have allowed us to feel and love with belief tantamount to happiness. Our little girl gets the most refined versions of us because we know what it meant when we were less. The days you’ve spent nurturing your individuality, so she knows and has an example of the good person you are is telling.
You wanted children more than I did, I always knew you’d be a good dad but you’re more than that. You’re the best dad and it shows how much you care. Getting up in the middle of the night to check she’s alive so I can sleep is something my dear. Taking a job that let’s you work from home so you’re around for all the firsts was so endearing. The logistics of how our madhouse works aren’t important because of our efforts we manage it.
As you always remind me when I’m having a “let’s plan the next 10 years so we’re sure life will be alright” moment, we have the rest of our lives ahead of us and we’ve come so far already.
The days after we got home from the hospital shell shocked and unsure of what to do. You said to me it’s fine we’ll figure it out together and boy we did. With the support from our really helpful family and friends we cultivated a family. May the idea that this is forever always remind us of the value in our jobs as parents. The responsibility we have interpreting the world for her young mind to absorb is one you take seriously with pride. In truth you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary.
You’re doing what you signed up for.
You’re being a man I respect and following through on your promise.
You’re doing the only task for which no preparation is enough.
You’re being her one and only.
You’re being her dad.
A bond which is incomparable, yet so necessary.
A lifeline which can alter a whole being. A dad and his daughter. December 2014 I began on a journey to fix what not having a present dad had done to me, that among other things. The influence of the lack of fatherly presence on my life is something I chose to “overcome”. It’s something I felt had never really affected me.
I’d never known any different, I’d always had pretty stable male figures in my life and family so what’s a missing dad, right?!?
If only it was that simple pregnancy taught me my “overcoming” wasn’t really over; My fears weren’t gone they were suppressed!
It didn’t matter to me the semantics of a two decade odd breakdown that I became a product of. What mattered was the outcome.
What mattered was that I was 22 pregnant and couldn’t imagine a future where we celebrated fathers day, all woke up under one roof, had family dinners and communicated as parents without the assistance of third parties. Reason being I had never experienced any of those things not even once. I was faced with a realisation, that I was the product of a broken home and as a result my belief in the family unit was also broken.
This wasn’t a question of good or bad people nor was it a question of good or bad decisions, it was a question of consequence.
Was the naivety that happy ever after existed a contributing factor to why happy ever after never came? Would it be my fear or his certainty that prevailed. Although it was only a few roads between our childhood homes they didn’t just separate us physically. They taught him family is everything and any sacrifice for the wellbeing of the collective is imperative. They taught him dads come home after work and tell you to listen to your mum. They taught me I have the most phenomenal godfathers in the world and my grandad is a bad ass even though he gave me my first drink of Caribbean rum at 14.
I went to see a doctor this week specifically to talk about my lady garden. Things have changed since Sanaa’s come along. If I’m honest I like my body a whole lot less, I notice the creases and rolls a whole lot more. I like the jiggle a whole lot less, a lot less than I did before. Upon my reflection my adjectives are harsher than they should be, colder than they need to be. Admitting I love what my body did and not what it has become is hard and my gosh I hope that one day I will love it even more than I do today. I understand that everything was necessary but it has caused me to become more introverted my internal monologue has become more of a voice of reason than anything. It talks me out of feelings that I’d rather wallow in and ones I’d rather avoid. It reminds me that while I see lot I should only be seeing the authentic reality of what we created and that I have to help myself to be kind to myself so my daughter can be kind to herself too. When I cried at the thought of walking back into a hospital because of how traumatic my labour was and avoided it for 3 months, it taught me to take pride in a sentence; I went to see a doctor this week specifically to talk about my lady garden.
Last week I received my exam schedule and topics, along with my assignment deadlines which are in April. Yikes!
I’m going back to uni on Thursday after not being there for 6 months. The prospect of being the girl who got the whispers and looks to blending in has brought on a lot of feelings I didn’t expect.
It was a bit of a catalyst for me I’m still in complete mum mode mentally. My daughter also started teething last week bless her cotton socks and I’m not yet feeling like myself which unfortunately for me is so frustrating. Life is not as I thought it would be. I’m trying so hard to find myself again but right now I’m not sure where to start.
Its disorientating to feel like you know exactly who you are and not feel like yourself; four months in and wow I adore my daughter in a way I didn’t even know I was capable of. But times passing and my thought processes are highlighting my unbelonging. I tried to throw myself into meeting local mums and whilst they were welcoming I felt uncomfortable it wasn’t my club! I couldn’t identify with them.
I am a mum yes but I don’t feel like I’m a proper mum yet, I dont have suggestions for parenting techniques and nursery ofsted reports. The idea of the collective mumosphere (my name for the mothering world) is so daunting to me because I want to be a good mum, the best one, seasoned in knowledge. I believe I will be one too however it doesn’t happen overnight and that’s where I’m finding the glitch.
I told myself in order to be enough I must be immersed in this whole new life “happily”, put myself on an unofficial deadline to have all the answers and get it all right. But, just like the exams period at uni in life you need to prepare in order to pass. So instead of viewing my week as bad I choose to see it as starting blocks for better.
The “finding out” is quite simple you take a test and call the doctor to make an appointment. Unless, you are me. I took 3 home tests 2 of which were digital. I went to the GP I had her test me too its not a standard procedure, I just wanted to be sure. Then at my midwife booking in appointment I asked for another she even said to me do you not believe that you’re pregnant the answer was no absolutely not. Shocked would be a reduction of describing how I felt stunned maybe but even that just about summed it up. It was about April so I had known about a month and had no physical symptoms of pregnancy but boy oh boy did my mind feel like jelly. Just a barrel of mess coincidentally I also had the biggest assignment of the academic year upcoming which I had not even started.
The process of accepting that my whole 5 year plan would be completely thwarted was a daunting journey. A hard and gritty realisation, the years between leaving my childhood home and creating own my home had taught me many things. One of the many and possibly most crucial things I had learned was that I was a woman with a need for hope. My hope looked very unconventional, uncomfortable, my hope was based on a need to have things done in a time frame I had set, in a way I had judged as appropriate, my hope was incredibly tangible it was where both my security and independence lay. Even through all of my adventures and ‘living’ I had structured it so I could not disappoint myself and in turn loose my hope.
To digest that I may not finish my academic year due to what most saw as a blessing I was torn and guilt consumed me. As a couple my boyfriend and I had always agreed should we fall pregnant it would be a no-brainer that we would become parents. So you see I was not torn because I was considering a termination quite the contrary I was torn because I couldn’t shake the feeling of lost hope of disappointment within myself and yet at the same time a love for a child that I’d not met felt or seen. It was the first time in nearly 5 years that I did not know what the future held and I could not plan for anything because for once instead of me happening to life, life was happening to me.