It was an extremely interesting experience. There is something that I had not admitted to myself and honestly, when I tell you what the realisation that I had was, you are going to think that I have some sort of brain disorder. Okay, after I had changed JBB into his cute bathers and wrestled all of our stuff down to poolside, we eased our way in. I finally looked around a bit and seriously, it was mother and baby central. There were so many mums and kids around that it was ridiculous and that was when I had the realisation - I'm one of them, I'm a mother!! This really floored me and of course I had to laugh at how long it has taken for me to realise this very important fact.
I have been going to this gym for years, the mothers and babies have always been there and of course at first I looked at them and thought 'soon I will be one of you' but after awhile I learnt to avert my eyes - I was worried that I would never be one of them. Now I am one of them. It was a strange feeling, I thought that it would have meant more to me than it actually did. What meant the most to me was that JBB had an absolute ball in the pool, we had the most beautiful, fun time together. I am a confident swimmer, I love the water, it is extremely soothing to me, I am calm and confident around the water (but extremely vigilant!!) - I hope that this love of the water is something that I can pass on to him.
When battling IF, I thought that the word 'mother' would be the be all and end all to me and certainly it is in some ways but I think about how I viewed it then and it was really all about me, what I could give to a baby if I had one, how it would effect me, what I could do to nurture this human being. Now I realised that being a mother is not about me at all, it is about the child. It is not just what I want anymore, though of course I still like to have time for myself so that I can be sustained as a person. It is not about what I think is nurturing because each child is different and likes to be nurtured in different ways. I think that if we can allow it, the mother is created from the child and not the other way around. I don't know if I am making sense but it has been a profound realisation to me - it has reached right into the heart of who I am and who I hope to be.
Another realisation that I had was that in some small, strange way, I didn't really want people looking at me with JBB lest I be seen as being show-offery. I've never really like the attention on me, the only thing that I was nervous about on our wedding day was that everyone would be looking at me. What a strange feeling to have, I was quite surprised by it because I am absolutely proud of JBB, I love people looking at him - it would hurt my heart though if I was someone that a person struggling with IF looked at me with JBB and they were hurt by our carefree fun. I still stand next to my IF sisters and I do not want to ever hurt anyone though I realise that unless I have a little bio of my experiences pinned to my shirt, people will make just assume that we didn't have a struggle to get this little fellow.
I also realise that I look at my own mother differently now. I knew that she had done a great job in raising the four of us kids - though we have all had our issues, we have been strong and fought through them. I look at her now and realise the time she spent allowing me to become the person that I am today. At one point in my life, I wondered why she didn't push me to become a more competitive swimmer, I was pretty talented apparently and I had thoughts that I might have gotten somewhere if she had of given me some nudges. When I asked her a couple of years ago about why she didn't push me, she said that if I really wanted to be a competitive swimmer, I would have made it happen myself, I wouldn't have let anything stop me from becoming it. I used to be dissatisfied by this answer because I thought that she had somehow taken away some success from me because she didn't want to push me. Now I think that she was right, she knows me very well - when pushed, I generally rebel and end up hating whatever it was that I was doing - everything has to be my choice. In the end, she gave me a wonderful gift. I still love to swim, I still love the water, I still find peace there - if she pushed me, that would have most likely not been the case.
I also remember walking with my mum after a failed cycle. I couldn't stop crying and she grabbed me and hugged me in the middle of the walking track, with tears streaming down her own cheeks. I remember her saying, please let me do something to help, please just tell me what I can do. I have tears streaming down my face now remembering that day, I was so caught up in my own pain, I didn't realise her feeling of helplessness at not being able to do something to ease the pain in me. I am not saying that it took me to be a mother to realise this but I just think that I am finally starting to heal from all of those failed cycles because I didn't have the time before, I was still mired in the struggle and using all of my energy just to survive.
My mum said something lovely to me today. She said that she was so proud of how I am doing with JBB. She said that she loves it how calm and confident that I am around him and how great and at ease he is with other people because I have not been shy about letting others interact with him. I can't tell you what this means to me.
I am one very, very lucky woman!!