Friday, 19 February 2016
For some time I have thought I should wrap up this blog; that perhaps I have written all that I can about motherhood, about Felix, about the all consuming, relentlessly mercurial nature of the baby - toddler - child. This force of nature that endlessly reinvents itself, developing new habits, skills and words seemingly overnight, shimmering in transformation like a mirage. And then something happens; something so significant, so wonderful, or so terrible, and I rush to put it into words and communicate it in the hopes that my words may reach others who understand, who also struggle with the immensity of parenthood and marvel at the complexity of the child. I see now that my urge to write has been underscored by the fact that I had my own journey to undergo, not only the incredible voyage of motherhood but also the journey through the darkness that began with Felix's traumatic birth. A year after his birth I wrote an entry entitled 'Dark Side of the Moon' that explored the possibility that I would never be ready to have another child. A lot has changed in that time; I have fought and won the dread battle with my demons, and thus I find myself in the astonishing position of seriously contemplating another baby. Not even in an abstract way but in a concrete, when shall we do this kind of way.
Perhaps that is why it is time to stop writing Yellow Wellies, or at least to keep an end in sight. Not because the journey is over, not because Felix has stopped doing things deserving of recording and treasuring, not because I have simply run out of ideas, but because a new journey is beginning and it needs space to grow. In order for spring to bloom winter must first have its time. To strip the branches of old leaves, to wither the flowers and freeze the sap and aggressively clear the ground so that new growth may follow. The field must have its fallow period, its time of brown and empty ground when it appears sterile, when in fact the very earth itself is incubating life. Yellow Wellies has been a platform for sharing my experiences but also an outlet for the unspeakable pain inside, the void that opened up in those life changing hours between pregnancy and motherhood. That pain is now dealt with, not in a perfect, orderly way, but in a way that makes progress not just possible but necessary. Suddenly I feel like the time is coming, that within bare branches tiny buds are forming. I am preparing myself, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, to undergo the journey into the unknown where the ghosts of my demons lurk, and yet where a light shines so bright that it beckons me near like a lighhouse to a stricken boat. To once again carry life and give birth.
Who knows if it will even happen? Too many people I know try for a second child only to be confounded. Sad stories of miscarriage abound, unexplained infertility, months of hope followed by months of worry and frustration. I used to think that if you could have one child you could certainly have many more, but this is not the case. Nature, ever contrary, has her own ideas, and it may be that we only ever make this one beautiful, perfect, shining child. If so, I’m forever glad that child is Felix. A lifetime ago, before Felix really existed, I was convinced that I wanted a girl. I knew nothing then of the soul of the baby you carry within you, this innately unique person who emerges from the vessel of the mother fully formed, complete with its own personality, abilities, and passions. This entity that will follow its own course and increasingly display its will and desires to you as it learns to communicate. This creature that becomes more and more amazing every day that you spend undertaking the thousand seemingly mundane, workaday tasks that keep it alive, fed, amused, safe. That in fact this one remarkable child will take you on a ride through the undiscovered, untrammeled paradises of the universe.
In having a child you become intimately conscious of your own place in the circle of life. The miraculous growth before you makes your own slow demise, your gradual, daily descent towards decrepitude and death bearable, meaningful, and essential. I can only imagine the heights of vanity, self indulgence and ultimately self destructiveness I may have achieved had I not been grounded by this anchor, a rock in the ever flowing river of life. In him I see the folly of eternity and the wisdom of mortality.