How did I go from someone needing advice and a helping hand, to someone who thought she had advice to give?
I saw a friend post something on instagram today, and I immediately had to message her. I wanted to give some advice, or at least let her know there was an ear here should she need it. Never in a million years would I usually have done that. There is a lot of things I would normally not think or consider to do, but as I am starting to notice, I did not much like who I was and the things I would usually do, so today I thought I would resist my urge to scroll on and I sent a message.
My daughter is almost two, and it is only now that I feel I can be her mother. The last few months I have changed. Before this I had not known how to be a mum, or how I expected to bring my daughter up into the world and not expect her to be like me. I am the one she will learn from, I learnt from my own upbringing, it is nature. We become who we learn to be. How can I expect my daughter to be someone I love, if I do not love myself. How did I expect to advise my daughter through life, sad moments, through breakups, through bullying. If my daughter turns out to have exactly the life, experiences and struggles that I had, then why on earth did I have her? Why did I decide it was a good idea to procreate, when so far I do not think I have had a good time.
For a while I wanted a second child so badly. Then something changed, I think I became so career focused that the idea of a sibling has been put on the back burner. When I got told I may have bi-polar I thought I would never have another child again. How could I? Knowing that potential child may end up with the struggles of that disorder, I lilterally could not bear the thought of it. The worst thing about that potential diagnosis was the notion that my daughter may end up with it. There is bipolar in my family and so it stood to reason that its possible she may also end up with this rogue family gene that would lead to years of depression, wrong choices, struggling with life, and worst of all potential suicide. I pictured myself as a mum to a 21 year old who struggles at university, struggles with life, and worst of all considers suicide, it does not bare thinking about. I had some kind of meltdown, I actually used the term midlife crisis but looking back I use the word blessing. As Freud said…
“From error to error one discovers the entire truth.”
I can teach my daughter and give her sound advice during difficult times. I can do this because I have made mistakes, multiple of them, and from those errors I have learnt. I know I do not have the answers, but does anyone really? I am still going to make mistakes, I am still learning and I will do so until I stop breathing. What I do know is that I will be able to help my child, to show her things are alright in the end. And to top it off, it turns out I am not bipolar, I have just made mistakes which I did not know how to deal with at the time. Looking back I am starting to realise I would not be the person I am today without having made the mistakes I have, and so for that, although I may not ever be proud of them, I guess I can appreciate them.
As I write this I realise this is a turning point for me as a mum. I have always loved my daughter, but it is today that feeling has really settled in me. On previous occasion, I wont lie, I have looked at her and wondered if I love her, I cried to my partner once as it took me 15 minutes minutes to utter the words “I don’t know if I love her”. That conversation took place not that long ago, and it is the conversation that gave me the push I needed to go and see my GP and tell him something did not right with me. I love her, the way most mothers love their children, I always wondered what it felt like when someone said they would do anything for someone, that they would die for someone, and today I really understood that feeling.
This idea that we are like our parents, or as a women at least, like our mothers, is something I have just realised, at the grand old age of 30 is bullshit. I am sure my own mum would be glad to hear that I am not like her. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother dearly, she has brought us all up tremendously despite having her own struggles in life. Mistakes were most definitely made, and I am sure there are things she will look back on and wonder what would have happened had she done something differently. But just like me, she did not have the answers then and she most certainly does not have the answers now. There is no right or wrong answers in life, or perhaps there is, but we will never be certain of them. The only thing we can be certain of is that we will one day die. Everything between now and then will be a series of choices and decisions, some may be the best we ever make, some may turn out to be huge mistakes, but whatever happens once you get there, that is the journey you took. One decision will lead you down one path and the other in a different direction. I guess the question is where do you want to go?
What do you want to be doing in one month, one year or five years? We may never know much but I know if you figure that out it will be truly life changing.