Tammy & Fox 15 months
blog: Gingernut Fox
I was born to a woman not worthy of the title Mother as she was a dreadful one, you could say I was one of the lucky ones as I was taken into care at a very young age along with my sister and then much later my brother and we grew up with a wonderfully nurturing and encouraging mum, someone who has spent her life caring for other people’s children.
Children can be cruel and I was often bullied for not having a real mum or dad my mum's answer was always “Well you were special we got to pick you and their parents were stuck with them” – I told you she was lovely!
From a very young age I was never certain I should be a mum. I was never one for ‘family’ I didn’t crave creating my own family and I rarely let people close to me and have been very independent my whole life. Always in the back of my mind was ‘What if I were like the woman who gave birth to me?’
Things changed 13 years ago when my nephew was born. I had never come into contact with a baby before and I certainly never thought I would want to be around one or heaven forbid look after one!
But I fell in love with that little boy and I loved him like my own and when his little brother and sister came along my heart expanded and I finally started to understand how important family was, but still I had niggling doubts over my own ability to be a mother and I ploughed on with having building a career and enjoying the freedom a childfree life comes with.
I wish I could tell you when the light bulb moment happened because I genuinely don’t know, I still don’t really know if it did or if the practicalities of having a child in my mid-thirties hit me and I just decided to go for it. I know that I certainly started to feel more confident as a person, I had a career, a home, a husband and I felt settled and calm and just ready.
Of course you know that I now do have a baby because I am writing about motherhood and our beautiful little boy Fox arrived in February last year.
I wasn’t there to meet him when he was born when I woke up someone handed me this tiny bundle and I became a mum – in the physical sense because I had no idea what I was meant to do with this helpless creature that needed me 24 hours a day.
I felt like I had failed him already, I didn’t know him, I didn’t know what he wanted and that first night when everyone had left and it was just the two of us was terrifying. I lay and stared at him; this new person that I had made, that I was responsible for, that would change my life and I wondered what on earth I was going to do.
I spent the next few weeks like many new mums in a haze of exhaustion, recovering from a C-section with a tiny underweight baby who wouldn’t feed. I remember very tearfully at my lowest point telling my husband one night that we had made a terrible mistake and could we take him back….
My young man and I finally bonded when he was 5 weeks old on the first day we were alone – I had been dreading this day, I had no idea what I was doing and I was tired, very, very tired. By 2pm I had somehow managed to get us both dressed and had strapped him into his buggy when he pooed – and I do mean an explosion of poo, poomagedon, the biggest poo I had ever seen and I sat on the floor and cried whilst he stared at me curiously
I grabbed a load of newspaper to cover the floor with (I cringe when I think back to this now) and started cleaning him, I got to the baby grow and realised I had no idea how to get it off without covering him in the stuff I very almost started cutting him out of it before I had a brainwave and pulled it down instead of over his head.
15 minutes later I was triumphantly sitting in a mass of poo covered baby wipes and clothes holding a naked baby who gave me a grudging look of appreciation and we never really looked back, for that whole summer he was my right hand man we went everywhere together and I of course fell totally and utterly in love with this tiny inquisitive mini me.
It still feels like my journey into motherhood is only just beginning, I still have days where I question my skills as a mother and wonder if I am cut out for it and I struggle with managing a fulltime job, a toddler, a marriage, a home and being me.
I will gladly admit to occasionally missing those heady childfree days where a lie in didn’t mean 7:30am and lunch didn’t involve me picking chewed up food out of my hair. Then he will do something that makes me laugh or gaze in wonder at him and I am so glad that we have our marvellous little boy and I feel that rush of unquestioning love and knowing that you will protect this precious little person for the rest of his life and I know I was nothing like the woman I came from. I am me, a mum.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because it’s taken me a long time to get here and I have learnt that motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes, it sometimes happens when you least expect it and sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s ok not to feel or to want to be a mother sometimes, or to not know what to do. It’s not about genes, or blood it’s about unconditional love.
At some point in the future I hope that I can give back the chance at life that was given to me by offering a home to children that need it, my hope that one day Fox is as proud of me, as I am my Mum.
Thank you Tammy for sharing and please do get in touch if you want your tale of motherhood to be a part of this series, I'd love to have you!