Welcome to the 20th issue of the #beingamother project. This week’s instalment features Angela from Days in Bed with a theme which is one that I have very much struggled with in parenthood – patience. It seems that everything we do, think and feel in motherhood is somehow intwined with patience – or the lack of – with Angela’s journey demanding an extra special layer of that. So without giving too much further way, please join me in reading Angela’s account of her parenthood journey and what motherhood means to her…
If I had to choose one word to describe motherhood I would use the word patience.
My journey towards motherhood starting many years ago aged 16. I was suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome when the doctor told me, “you probably won’t be able to have kids when your older”. My heart broke! I always dreamed of having many children. I even joked about having a whole rugby team but in that moment at the doctors surgery my dreams were dashed!
I worried would I ever be a mother? Would the opportunity ever come? I had to have patience. I got married young! In fact I was only 20 years old. I decided to do all I could to try and get pregnant but it never happened.
I read books, did tests, everything I could think of but I never fell pregnant. I even tried funny things like doing headstands after “doing the deed” to help the tadpoles find their way to my eggs!
Thinking about it now cracks me up laughing. I tried everything to fall pregnant but at the end of the day, I had to have patience. It took patience trying to get pregnant, patience undergoing tests and patience in my desire to become a mother.
At the age of 25 I underwent many investigations. I was told my eggs did not pop out each month. I did not ovulate. In order to become a mother I would need to have fertility treatment. Again I needed patience. I was not entitled to treatment until I was under 70kg. I had to lose weight -20kg. I lost the weight. This took extreme effort and patience.
I then underwent daily injections to stimulate ovulation. I had daily blood tests to measure my hormone levels and then had scans to check the egg had popped out. After a long wait “when I finally ovulated” another procedure was done, IUI, Inter-Uterine-Insemination. My (then) husband’s sperm was washed and the very best sperms were placed in the optimal position in my womb to give me the best chance to falling pregnant. This process tested my patience.
I was overjoyed to fall pregnant aged 26 and was working as a teacher. At 20 weeks we were driving down the road when a drunk driver crashed into our car! This gave my body a major shock. I began to bleed and had to go to hospital. I stayed on the maternity ward for a week. That week I needed a lot of patience as I waited to see if the baby had been harmed.
Luckily my baby was okay but in the second trimester I developed pregnancy diabetes followed by Cholostasis in the third trimester. Cholostasis is dangerous and threatens the life of the baby. I spent about 5 weeks in and out of hospital. My liver was not cleaning my blood properly and I was told there was a high risk of poisoning my baby resulting in stillbirth. The last trimester of my pregnancy took a lot of patience.
I had to have my baby early to reduce the risk of stillbirth. I was induced and in absolute agony for three days. The doctors were just about to take me to theatre for a C section when I was told to push. I delivered my baby naturally. A 3 day labour required a lot of patience.
When my baby was born she had to be given extra colostrum due to my gestational diabetes. My baby had jaundice. I struggled to breastfeed my baby. I struggled to rest and get the sleep I needed. Being a mother without any support in the first six weeks took a lot of patience. After several weeks I learned that my body was not producing enough milk. I had to change to the bottle and then help my baby learn a new routine. This took patience.
Healing after the birth, waiting for my tears and grazes down below to stop stinging each time I peed took extreme patience.
Not long after my daughter was born I became a single mother. I had to take care of my baby all by myself. My precious Sylvia was my sole responsibility. Being a single Mummy was a huge unexpected change and yes this took a lot of patience.
Going to court to get a protection order to keep me and baby safe and fighting for full custody of my daughter took patience. Learning to be a mother, giving my all to my little girl and meeting her every need as a baby taught me even more patience.
I was blessed to meet my current husband several years ago! Finding the right man for me and the tight man to father my baby took patience. You sometimes have to kiss a few toads before meeting your prince. A process that requires patience.
Since developing adrenal failure in 2013 I have had to learn more patience as a mother. Patience when I cannot walk to my child when I want to. Patience when we can’t go to the park or shop together but cannot because mummy is unwell. Patience when I feel frustrated because I cannot physically work and earn a living to give opportunities to my child as her mother.
I need patience when I think of the places I’d love to take my daughter. I need patience and one day when I get an adrenal pump I will be able to do these things.
I often parent from the bed side. I mother from the sofa and as frustrating as it is not being able to meet my own needs let alone those of my child, I need to have patience.
It has been two years since I was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency and waiting for tests, MRI scans and all my results has required extreme patience. Working with specialists through a public health system to get to the correct dose of medication has taken patience.
Working to lose weight so I can reduce my steroid intake is taking patience. Fighting to get well and to raise money for the life changing Adrenal Pump is taking time and takes much patience. Yet I am doing this because I am a Mother!
Motherhood is learning to be patient! Whether your infertile or not, whether your sick or not, whether you have to wait 9 months in pregnancy or many months to adopt. Waiting to be a mother requires patience.
Then, when we become mothers, our patience is tested further. Sleepless nights, nappies, feeding, bathing, teaching, raising, loving our child. This requires the virtue of patience.
Some mothers wait 9 months only to lose their precious baby at birth! Some mothers wait patiently as their premature baby grows in strength to come home. Mothers patiently raise their babies watching them grow from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond. Our children test us, they try our patience but we love them!
Love and patience go hand in hand. Loving my child helps me to be more patient. It helps me to be the best Mother I can be in my current circumstances. The love I have for my child gives me the strength and patience to blog even when I’m sick. I fight through the sickness because my blogging experience will ultimately bless my child. It will provide opportunities we otherwise would not have if I stayed on sickness benefit for life. It will help me earn the money to pay for my adrenal pump!
Fighting for an adrenal pump will benefit my child and I must have patience to keep fighting. I look forward to the day I can stand and swing my child around and go for a walk to the park. I look forward to the day we can swim together and go on a fun holiday without having to stay in the motel room half the day. I look forward to going clothes shopping together and doing many more mother-daughter activities.
Until then I will need to have more patience. Even after my pump, I will need even more patience because patience is irrevocably intertwined with being a mother and motherhood is simply beautiful.
To find out more about the #beingamother project, read previous issues or to be featured see here.