“I feel the need to endanger myself every so often.” – Tim Daly
Content Warning: Discussion of baby loss (past not this current pregnancy, all is still okay & pregnancy (current)
For most of my life, I’ve been a sensible kind of girl. I listened to all the advice I received growing up about how to stay safe and what kind of people to let into my life and I was lucky that it worked. I stayed safe, both emotionally and physically and I never felt the need to put myself in situations that weren’t safe for me.
There is a topic I’ve spoken about before that changed all that for me, but I’m going to talk about it again, in part because I saw a tweet today, which you can see below, that reminded me of the period of time that instantly sprang to mind when I read the quote for this week’s Quote Quest.
A TFMR is a termination for medical reasons. There are lots and lots of medical reasons that might arise where given the information provided the decision is taken to terminate a pregnancy. It’s hard to talk about baby loss in general but I think there is an added layer of difficulty with TFMR’s because ultimately the decision to end the pregnancy lies with the expectant parent. I had to sign papers that essentially gave consent for doctors to end my babies life and it is fucking heartbreaking even when you know you are doing the right thing.
It is a situation that mercifully lots of people don’t experience and they can only guess at what they’d do in that situation. A lot of people get angry with you because they might assume you wrote a child off due a disability they themselves perceive to be easily managed, or they think maybe it was your health that was at risk and again they assume you should have just been braver or stronger and ‘all pregnancies are hard in some way’.
In my case I was presented with information that told me my baby would either die before I reach full term, or would die within minutes, hours or days of being born and given his prognosis those moments alive would not have been comfortable. I know I saved my baby fro suffering, but fuck me, it tore me apart to make that decision and not matter what I knew rationally or what people said to me the guilt and the heartbreak ate me alive.
The decisions I started to make after that were self-sabotaging, destructive, reckless and were done in many ways to live dangerously and feel something other than pain and sadness. I should mention I am not proud of that, it is one of the only times in my life I regret. I had a beautiful toddler at home that I didn’t always put first. Don’t get me wrong he was always safe and well looked after, but I was selfish in the wrong ways for a little while and it makes me sad that I can never undo that.
I am lucky that I made it through that period of my life unscathed, with nothing but some bizarre tales to tell about the people I got involved with. I finally started making friends with good people who were both safe and exciting, and I started to see that I needed to value myself more and start working on forgiving myself and moving forward. I couldn’t undo the past but I didn’t have to keep punishing myself for it.
Forgiveness can take time though, and so can healing and for me, it was only when I met Mr F that I understood that I had to let go of my guilt to embrace our future together. I couldn’t carry the weight of how cruel I was to myself and allow myself to be happy with him at the same time because I knew the things he wanted with me would require an open heart and when I realised I wanted those same things I think that was the moment in which I felt like I’d done more healing than I ever had before.
I know this week’s quote could be applied to thrill seeking or adrenaline rushes, which can happen in a risk aware environment that is overall considered safe but with that underlying element of danger that makes it fun. I do love lots of things that come under that category and I definitely hope to do some of them in the future. For me though the quote hit home in a different way and I don’t ever want that quote to apply to my life in that same way ever again.
As I type this Tiny Belly Human is making his presence known, I am 30 weeks pregnant and the knowledge I have about potential outcomes of pregnancy is terrifying, support groups are fantastic but they also teach you about people who go through more than you could ever imagine. I have to put all that aside though and believe and assume, like lots of other people do, that this pregnancy and birth will continue to be problem free.
For a long time, I struggled with being me and being a mum, because I felt like the whole world only wanted me to be a mother and I still wanted to do things that were just for me and that seemed to be an unpopular desire. What I’ve discovered in the past seven years though is the balance between motherhood and self-expression. Small Human actually helps with that because he is so supportive of the kind of person I want to be. The way I see it is the rest of the world can get lost because I have love and approval from the only voice that really matters when it comes to the kind of mum I am.
Now, Tiny Belly Human can speak yet obviously, but he also seems pretty happy, his biggest problem at the minute is trying to figure out how he can access all the space in my belly at one time. He’s definitely a problem solver because he’s currently only leaving one spot untouched and I have faith in him that he will punch a tiny fist into that space very soon.
I struggled for a time with being ‘just a mum’ and putting myself out there and taking risks seemed to be a way to prove to myself that I was something more. Now though, all I want is for my boy to arrive safely so I can be his mum too. I want all my boys (Mr F included) within kissing reach, so I can love them hard and keep them all safe and loved and I want to do the same to myself as well.
I want to keep myself healthy, safe and loved so I can be the best mum ever and any thrill-seeking we do I want to do either as a family or as a couple with Mr F because I’m sure some adrenaline rushes may not be suitable for children.