Tuesday 2 January 2018

In 1993 the sheer enormity of the task I was about to undertake - impending motherhood - suddenly seamed impossible

In the summer of 1993 I remember walking along the South-West coastal path in South Devon. I was six months pregnant and my emotions were all over the place. I remember sitting down on a bench overlooking the sea and bursting out into tears. The reason? Because the sheer responsibilities of impending motherhood had just hit me like a ton of bricks. Did I have what it would take to be a good or even reasonably good mother to the son or daughter inside me? Even an average mother? The sheer enormity of the task I was about to undertake suddenly seamed impossible. With my hormones all over the place, I burst into tears and couldn't stop.

This New Year's Eve that has just passed, I sat in our local pub with my husband, observing family groups enjoying an early-evening drink. A young father was holding his toddler, a little girl was playing with her Barbie-pink tablet and a new mother was discreetly breast-feeding her baby daughter.

Again, the enormity of the task of parenthood hit me. I could see the sheer love and care being lavished on these youngsters from parents who obviously wanted to 'get it right'. Ahead of each of these tiny human beings, these parents' much-loved children, there lay a whole lifetime.

I wondered what that lifetime would bring...

Back in 1993 when I was in tears by the sea I could never have imagined what we would end up facing some 16 years later in the summer of 2009 and subsequent summers. And autumns, winters and springs.

For us, parenthood brought with it a weight of responsibility that we could never have imagined in our wildest nightmares as the tiny baby that entered our lives in December 1993 went on to develop hideous anorexia nervosa 16 years later.

And I hoped and prayed that, for these young parents, enjoying a family get-together on New Year's Eve 2017, with 2018 just hours away, that their children would grow up happy and healthy, free of the many horrors that can come with adolescence - and as they get older.

My worry, back in 1993, was that I didn't have it in me to be a 'good mother', a task that seemed way, way beyond what I believed I was capable of doing.

But I hope that, in the years that followed and right up to the present day, I have proved to be a Good Mother. Or even a Great Mother.

But motherhood, as I came to know it during my son's teenage years and afterwards, was punishingly tough and there is no doubt that it has left me with scars as well as ageing and exhausting me.

As it has probably done to other parents reading this blog who are or have been battling with a son or daughter with an eating disorder.

Or worse.

For this first blog post of 2018, I wish all of my blog followers and readers an easier, more peaceful and generally better year than 2017 and / or preceding years.

And for those families from New Year's Eve, I wish for a happy, healthy future, free of all of the stuff that we have had to face as parents.

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