I’m four and a half months pregnant. The sentiments I used to scorn at are now an all inclusive part of my emotional make up. There is already nothing I wouldn’t do for my child, I suddenly want to make sure that I am a better person to be a better Mother. Dreams I had given up on are suddenly paramountly important to teach my child that anything is possible. My husband feels the same.
It has made me re-evaluate my own parents, did they feel like this? My Mum remembers being pregnant with me really quite clearly, my Dad barely remembers anything at all, half the time I suspect that’s why he calls or emails my brother and I almost every day; just so we stay in his appalling memory bank! I know about a few of the things both of my parents planned or aimed for. The dreams they adjusted or a few regrets they have; I’m lucky to have a very open relationship with both of them and I’m lucky to be able to learn from their mistakes.
But don’t misunderstand my meaning, I have no interest in knocking my parents or criticising the people they are; from a new viewpoint of becoming a parent myself, it’s confirmed to me that every parent does the best job they can do. The real quality is being able to pass on your knowledge to your child. So when I hear a story about my Dad totalling his Dads car…more than once; or my Mum regretting never going back to Paris where she worked for a time, I’m grateful to learn more about them and why they made decisions that they made. Every parent was once an unsure teenager, a stroppy child, a screaming baby. We’re all the same, there is no handbook with the rules and I certainly didn’t live my life as a teenager considering how my actions might affect my future children. And I’m not going to pretend I did. I won’t pretend that I condone some of my behaviour, far from it; there are certain decisions in life I regret every single day and I want to be 100% honest to my children so they don’t make the same mistakes. They’ll make their own, special, ridiculous mistakes instead! But those life experiences need to be embraced, and most importantly, learned from.
Becoming a parent is a unique opportunity to be the best version of yourself to help your child grow to be confident with the person they become. Alongside the added bonus of growing up knowing their parents aren’t perfect; and therefore they can be open and honest when they make mistakes. If anything, it makes you better qualified to help, or at least support them through. I have a list of things I never really got round to doing in my twenties because I had that arrogant view that I had my whole life ahead of me, there was time to do those things. And there still is, I want to walk the Great Wall of China, and what better way than with my ‘little me’ and husband in tow experiencing it with me?! Not that I think mistakes won’t be made along the way but what better way to learn than together? As the parents, we simply have the benefit of making a lot of the mistakes before!
Life is tough, tiring, and unrelenting, but there are things that I now feel I owe it to my children to do. The follow up to this story may well be an older wizened Mother who decided against taking her child to China; but I hope that the follow up contains pictures and stories; not from perfect experiences, but happy ones. Life discovered as a family. That famous quote tells us not to take life too seriously, as you won’t get out alive. We all owe it to ourselves to live the best lives possible, and that means not shying away from the pitfalls, the unknown or the difficulties. I’m four and a half months pregnant, and it feels like life is just beginning, and I plan to live it with my family as the amazing adventure and journey of discovery it can be.