I always wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. I have never been a particularly goal oriented person but having children was always right up the top of my to-do list. And I was blessed to have three healthy children which is far more than I deserve and I am thankful for this – every day of my life.
Really I am.
I don’t take this lightly – I know that there are a lot of women out there who go through years and years of heartache and loss and I will never understand why life deals crappy hands to some people. Life can really stink sometimes…it is unfair and it is harsh. Which makes me even more thankful for the blessings that I do have.
But towards the end of last year, I started to go through a kind of ‘shift’ in emotions. I found myself resenting the kids more and more and a number of times I told my husband that I wish we’d never had them in the first place. I tried to ‘speak to my soul’ and tell myself off for being so awful because I could hardly believe myself that I had allowed things to get that bad.
Of course I didn’t mean it but what I did mean was that I was losing who I was. I had forgotten what it was like to be “Fiona” and not just someone’s Mum or someone’s wife and I didn’t know how to get me back again.
I had decided last year that I would take the first year of Lucas’ schooling off before going back into the workforce and I can see now in hindsight that I wasted an entire 12 months. I achieved nothing except gaining weight, watching TV and browsing around shopping centres to kill time. No wonder I was miserable. But things are changing now in a really big way. I’ve taken the proverbial bull by the horns and thrown myself head first in to a number of new activities; boot camp, studying and even some part-time work. And I am once again looking after my mind and soul. I am taking care of ME.
As I mentioned, I have joined an outdoor fitness boot camp group that I’ve been going to three times a week and I’ve pushed myself harder than I ever thought possible. I’m so surprised at how much I really do love it and look forward to it. And whilst I still have a looooooong way to go to achieve my final fitness goal, at least I’m a helluva lot closer than I was last year! I have more energy, more motivation and a lot more self-esteem.
I’m eating better and sleeping more and just loving life at the moment.
I tried to exercise today, but my asthma let me down and I couldn’t breathe properly. There was a lot of smoke in the air and as soon as I tried to do the warm up exercises it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the session. So I decided to go for a slower walk for the hour instead and I took my friend’s new baby with me so she could do her workout in peace. And this beautiful baby boy taught me so much more than I ever thought possible.
As I walked, I watched him sleeping through the hood of the pram. He was so calm, so tiny and so helpless. He was safe and protected from the outside world and I thought about the fact that my friend had put so much trust in me. Her brand new son, her biggest treasure was in my hands and I wasn’t going to take that lightly at all. I felt honoured to be given such trust and I thought about how similar it is to how God takes cares of us. How He looks down on us and protects us from the world. How we were so helpless and insecure before we found Him. And because I know He is my shelter and my safeguard – I can also rest peacefully in Him. And that’s what I’ve been learning how to do.
While I walked I reminisced about my own little boy Harley – and remembered the many times that I used to walk around the block with him in his pram over and over again trying desperately to get him to stop screaming. I was always in tears myself as I walked. I would rock that damn pram for literally hours because my baby hated being held. He was so resistant to the outside world that it completely baffled and confused this once sanguine and outgoing mother. I sighed because I know that I barely even remember Harley as a baby. Sure I’ve got dozens of photos but my memory has blocked out a lot of his babyhood because it was just too painful. At the time, I thought I was the worst mother ever because he didn’t want me near him. I didn’t understand him and everything that I read about raising babies just made me feel worse because they were all written for parents of children who were developing typically.
But I didn’t know that I was dealing with autism. I had no clue that my boy’s sensory system was under constant assault from the environment around him. I didn’t know that taking his pram through a crowded shopping centre with bright lights, loud noises and crowds would do the reverse of calming him.
I just didn’t know.
But I do now.
I have learned how to show him love in a manner that HE understands. He has taught me how to navigate through the invisible barrier of communication and I now know when to leave him alone. I may not have had those moments of bliss where I got to gaze at my sleeping baby like I did today, but I have more than my share of those NOW.
And NOW is what I am going to continue to focus on because the past is only a reminder of how far I have come. The past is part of what has shaped who we are but it now serves as a reminder of just how far HE has come and of all the good times up ahead. I have fallen head-over-heels in love with my children all over again since I stopped to take care of me.
It was all about taking my eyes off what I don’t have and learning to be thankful for that which do have, because;
“Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so that you will discover that He is the rock at the bottom”.
Dr Tony Evans.
Psalm 61:22 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.