Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Most definitely NOT your typical 'mama material'...

Until my mid 30s I vowed never to marry and definitely never to have kids. I was an independent 'career woman'. If that sounds impressive, it wasn't. I had a pretty checkered past with hideous teenage years where I messed up my school exams, ended up on a dead-end college course, changed friends, boyfriends, apartments and jobs in almost indecent quick succession and went through a particularly 'wild phase' in my 20s. By the time I was 30 I was a decade behind my more 'sensible' peers on every single front: maturity, career, relationships and kids. Then at 34 I got married and by 35 I was expecting Ben...

I was never cut out to be a mother. I remember being in floods of tears at 6 months pregnant because I was petrified I'd be a bad mother. I'd always avoided babies and kids like the plague and I hated 'talking nappies / diapers' with other mums-to-be. Basically Batty Matty wasn't 'mama material' and never would be.

Ben's birth was a nightmare experience to say the least with just about every intervention known to woman, but when he was born I was surprised at the overwhelming bonding that took place. I felt this powerful emotion that I would protect Ben no matter what.

I always loathed Mother and Toddler Groups, play groups and stuff like that. So did Ben because he was always the child that screamed blue murder all the time while the other kids played nicely. As a result, the other mums avoided me like the plague, but I didn't care.

I was always the one that rebelled against the 'norm'. When all the other babies were decked in pale pink and blue, Ben was wearing clashing primary colors, wearing weird and wonderful hand-knits and had a home-made coca cola logo'd pram parasol made from a boot-fair bargain and some cheap fabric I acquired at the market.

Despite the fact I loved Ben and was a reasonably good mother I guess, I was never your 'typical mama'. I was always the rebel.

Yet it's funny how the eating disorder has meant that my primary job these days IS being a mother - the very thing that once seemed so alien to me.

But I think one of the things that's helped me manage this the most IS my checkered past, especially my experiences as a teenager which aren't a million miles away from what Ben has gone through (but without a marked eating disorder, but I definitely had 'disordered eating', if you like...).

Ben is also spookily similar to me in so many ways.

I think this is why I seem to 'get it' and also why I spend so much time thinking about eating disorders and moving in these circles.

It's not because I want everyone to think "What a saintly mother; she manages her son's eating disorder awesomely!" or anything like that - because I don't.

I don't work as much as I used to, and when I do work I work from home, so I have far more time to devote to the eating disorder than many parents. I have an awesome support network - the other mums on the ATDT Forum plus some amazing former anorexia sufferers who have provided invaluable help. I have the best friend in all the world who is always there to lend a shoulder for me to cry on and offer wise, practical advice. The support I get from Ben's school is incredible. And this blog acts as a kind of catharsis in the same way my teenage diary did during the 1970s (ha, that's another story!!).

Oh, and I probably spend far too much time on this blog: time I should spend earning some money and, more importantly, spending quality time with Ben which is why my guilt feelings have prompted me to promise to go to the park with him in a minute.

1 comment:

  1. I love the blue hair! I had green hair at one point. It does sound like you have a good insight into Ben because of your own experiences of being around his age. I don't think you're ever too old to be a rebel ;) you're still retaining that spirit by standing up for Ben against professionals who get it wrong so often too. You sound like a brilliant mum!