By Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
I remember looking at the line on the pregnancy test and the rest of the world just going quiet. I was 25 and not ready to be a parent. I knew I wanted a family, but not yet! However, the pharmacist told me to “Make an appointment with my doctor, as either I was pregnant or I had IBS. Either way I would need to discuss this with a doctor.” I’d been visiting my parents for the weekend and was not ready for this news. Even though I had been living on my own for a number of years, I wasn’t ready. I went to see my doctor – it was confirmed. I was 14 weeks pregnant.
My baby arrived in the depths of winter and it was not magical. I struggled with everything. Breast feeding was hard, so hard! There was little to no sleep or establishing of any kind of pattern that I had read about. The idea of taking naps when the baby napped was like a cruel joke, as my baby only liked to nap for 20 minutes at a time. I took it day by day. There was no family near by to help me and my husband had 2 weeks then went back to work for the vast majority of the day.
Slowly, slowly, things became easier. I got used to the cues and became more observant. I was determined that having a child would not stop my life. We moved to Tokyo and spent 6 months teaching abroad when he was 2 years old.
When he was 6 years old and finally learned to sleep through the night, I found roller skating. It gave me the space I needed to start to feel myself again. I hadn’t realised how much energy I had put into being a mother – so much that I had lost myself. I was wearing labels of ‘teacher’ ‘mother’ ‘wife’ but didn’t really know who ‘Mel’ was.
I know I can cope with anything, I’ve learned to trust myself and the universe that the timing will be right.
I’m now very grateful to have a thoughtful and kind 17 year old. At the last Corn Exchange roller disco (and my birthday) he said "Mum, look at what you've created. All these people having a great time - it's amazing and I'm so proud of you." Cue tears!
My reminder for the day is: the struggle is worthwhile for something you believe in. The struggle will feel like forever when you are in it - I look back now and wouldn't change anything.