Dear Broken Mother.
I promise you won’t always feel this lost.
Here you are in a life you never signed up for and you feel broken. Few people see it.
They see your smile and your strength. They see a wonderful mother with a quiet, patient understanding. They see courage and love. But I see the truth. I see scattered fragments of the person you were before. The silent tears and the internal screams. The confusion and the sadness. Your painted smile fools many. But not me.
You see I am a broken mum too. At least, I was. My world shattered with the news that one of my premature twin boys had a very rare Cranio facial condition. As much as I absolutely adore him, this wasn’t the life I had dreamed of and planned for and neither is yours.
Everyone will be so nervous around you. They won’t know what to say or how to support you. They will try to stay positive thinking that’s the best thing. They have unshakable faith in you and the fact that you and your baby will be absolutely fine. They will want you to know that, to feel their belief in the hope that you get a transfusion of love and strength. You will want to punch them when they tell you that you are a ‘chosen mother’.
They won’t want to say that this is absolutely shit. That it’s crap and unfair and wrong for you all. They won’t say that the pregnant girl chain smoking outside the maternity block should be rebuilding a fractured life instead of you. You did nothing to deserve this and you definitely don’t feel equipped to deal with such an uncertain future. You want to go to sleep and wake up to find it’s all an awful dream.
But when you wake you realise it’s not a dream. It’s not the pregnant smokers reality. It’s yours, and you will be angry. So angry. You will want to know ‘why me?’ And ‘why us?’ You will soon realise that there are no answers to your questions. Only more questions and your head will ache. So will your heart.
You will grieve. You will watch other mothers with their babies and think ‘that’s the life I should have had’. You will worry about the milestones you may never see or celebrate and the decisions you never want to make. You will feel different to the other mothers. Less than them. Defunct somehow. You will doubt how incredible you actually are.
You will be so strong for everyone else. You will reassure them and tell them that everything will be fine (even though you don’t know that for sure). You will nod in all the right places and smile at the right times as you meet an endless stream of professionals who will become a part of your life. Unwanted and welcomed at the same time. Everyone will tell you how lucky your baby is to have you as their mother. You’ll still want to punch them but you’ll simply smile and pour tea / wine!
You will muddle through the fog of each day trying not to let the demons of worry for the future spoil your moments here and now. And you will do it. One foot at a time, over unfamiliar terrain. In time, you will become a reluctant expert in all things related to your child’s condition and your altered lives. Your baby will teach you more in a few months than all of life has taught you so far. You will learn that the family and friends who believed in you right at the start were correct to do so. You’ll develop a new level of tolerance, understanding and have an appreciation for the everyday things that so many take for granted. You will even feel blessed some days although I know you doubt that now.
You won’t always feel this lost. Before you know it, you will smile a genuine smile and laugh from your toes. You will realise that this life now is a real gift and that disability doesn’t mean without, it simply means different. You will look back on the journey you are just beginning and you will be so proud of yourself. Proud not because you don’t have bad days and occasional pity parties, but because you are a warrior mother in spite of them. You will become a mother you can’t even imagine now but trust me when I say this. You might feel broken now but one day you will look at your baby and be amazed by them and the beautiful mosaic that they created from the broken pieces you are today. As well as that, you’ll no longer want to punch anyone who tells you that you were a chosen mum. Because you’ll know it’s true.
For reasons you don’t know and can’t imagine yet, this life has chosen you. And unlike all the people who tell you it will be ok now who have no idea of what you’re going through, I know you can totally handle this. Because I was lost too. There’s nothing you could think or say that I haven’t felt as well. But I worked through it and so can you.
From one broken mother to another, you’ve got this. You may never have the life you dreamt of but it will still be a brilliant one, even better in many ways! The journey won’t always be easy but it will be worth it when you look back down the winding road behind you. Trust me. You’ve got this.