I've been sitting here for a couple of hours contemplating what to write about 2012. How can I possibly convey in words what that year has meant for me and for my family?
There is a quote that instantly springs to mind, and I feel that it is more fitting in my life now than it has ever been before.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..." --- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I've been reading several blog posts today from other mamas who said goodbye to their babies last year, and there seems to be a general consensus: that the year was equally the greatest year and the worst.
For me the year started off in Canada with my oldest friends and family. I had my husband by my side, and I was in my third trimester of pregnancy. I had the belief that although the year before had been very crazy and rushed, that everything had turned out exactly how it was meant to. I had my entire life mapped out in my mind. I felt extreme bliss at knowing it would be the year I would become a mother. I had an incredible innocence about me despite a great knowledge of life and suffering and the world, and I truly believed in my heart that all of the good decisions I had made in life had led me to that moment - the one in which my family was growing and I could only grow happier with it.
And then there was the labour and the birth. That alone would have changed me. I must confess that despite the pain I enjoyed it. I was in a good mood, and I was laughing throughout the day when I wasn't trying to sleep. I knew that each pain was bringing me closer to the ultimate goal of meeting my son, and I welcomed it. I managed to focus myself entirely on bringing him into this world, and I did the very best that I could.
I learned in a moment that despite even the most valiant of efforts, that sometimes life doesn't work out how we plan. I was taken for a cesarean section, and I cried, both from fear of the surgery and feeling like I'd failed at birthing my son. Despite all of that, I managed acceptance, because I knew I would be meeting him shortly. The perfect moment I'd imagined so often would soon be upon me, and who really would care in the long term how we got there?
But life had even more lessons in store for me. Finley was born yes, but it wasn't the moment I had imagined. It wasn't all happy tears and close snuggles and admiration for my child. It was fear, it was horror and it was hell. I learned in an instant what sheer terror felt like, but even then I still had hope.
I met my son for the first time, and I got to hold his tiny body. And that moment was the single most amazing moment of my life. No, it didn't happen the way I had hoped, and no I didn't get to keep him with me, but in that moment I was a mother and I was in love. If you look at any of the photos, you can see that my eyes never once left him. I was in awe of him. I didn't ever want to have to let him go, and yet that is exactly what I had to do.
I learned what it feels like to be dying. As my blood drained from my body and the doctors were scrambling around to save my life, I wasn't afraid. I was so calm. I learned that I loved my husband more than I ever knew, and I was a hundred times more worried for him than I was for myself. At some point I went unconscious to this world, and yet while they were taking extreme life saving measures, I was somewhere else entirely. I was happy, and I was with my son. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I know it to be true. I could have stayed there forever, I could have easily let go, and I think that's why waking up was so confusing. I woke up to the same horror that I'd left, and when I asked for my husband, I knew it was a choice. I knew that we needed each other and that I couldn't have left him.
And then I received the news that truly changed my life and everything I believed in. I instantly knew what it was to be a mother bereft of her child and it was a hell unlike any other. Shock took over and others were making my decisions for me. I could barely function and I hated my body for the way that it didn't know that my son was dead. I discovered that even having a shower could feel like the biggest accomplishment in the world.
I had no idea what the journey ahead of me would mean. I kept saying that my life was ruined, but I sincerely didn't realise just how much my life would change. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood would never be the same things that they were to me before. My innocence has gone. I am very cynical, and I have a tendency to think the worst of situations now. I am quick to anger and frustration, and my tolerance of other peoples' weaknesses has become nearly non-existent. The smallest of things that I would have just brushed off before Finley suddenly can cripple me. I wonder at people's intentions and find reasons to fault them.
There have been some blessings hidden in amongst the horrors though, and I am becoming ever more aware of them. Despite only having known my husband for two years, and being married not quite a year and a half, we have an amazingly strong marriage. My respect and love for him have grown exponentially and I am so grateful to him for carrying me when I would have let myself lay down and be left behind to die. I have learned that everybody grieves differently and I will never again console somebody with empty words because I don't know what to say. I've learned compassion and the true importance of listening. I have learned who my friends are, and in some cases I was surprised by those that were and equally those who weren't. I have learned to be honest about my feelings surrounding my son, and that is such a blessing. I have discovered a talent and joy at writing and will be looking at ways to pursue it further in the future. And I think most importantly I think, I have learned that I have an inner strength that is stronger than I ever could have known. I have gotten up and out of the house, faked smiles, and worked hard when all I wanted to do was cry. I have begun to find hope again for the future.
|Quote to try and live by.|