Saturday, 12 November 2011

Double blessings...

I was never a motherly sort before I had my own kiddies.  In spite of the fact that I was a child psychologist, I am not sure that I actually got what having children is all about.  In a gaggle of women clustered around a newborn, I would be the one hoping and praying that I would not be the one called upon to hold the baby.  I was always scared I would make it cry, or drop it or make some kind of fool of myself with it.

The Sweetpea, on the other hand, was the total opposite.  Strangely, for a man, he was one of the first in those baby-admiring groups, easily picking up the little one and holding it with confidence that even the mother did not have.  When all others made a baby scream with panic, he was the one who had them hanging onto his beard with a look of wonder on their little faces.  He actually commented to me once that he thought I might be more comfortable holding a snake or a spider.  He knows me well - I would actually have been quite confident holding either of those - just don't give me a baby!

It all came to a head when we were asked to act as a couple in a play in the theater. They had a baby all lined up for us, a placid little creature who was calm and contented until, in the wings, a moment before we were due on stage, it took one look at me and from then on acted as though the very devil was after its soul.  I was supposed to carry the baby onto stage, showing it off to the audience as the son I had desired all my life.  But we couldn't get it near to me.  Eventually, with a large amount of ad-lib, Peter carried the then-cooing baby onto the stage and proclaimed that it was the son we had always wanted.  People always commented afterwards that it was a nice touch for the dad to show such pride in his son - I never had the courage to admit the truth behind our little charade.

I was therefore understandably nervous when I thought of having my own littlies - and not only one, but two!  I was the kind who had made a head-orientated decision to have babies, because time was running out for us and I thought we would be better people for it.  As the time for the birth drew near, I spent hours with the Sweetpea, agonising about if I would be able to love my babies as they deserved.  He always assured me that  I would.  He said he could see maternal instincts in me that I myself was not aware of (maybe he was making use of positive thinking?).  

However, I need not have worried.  The second those two were born (after a labour which was classified as uncomplicated and easy, but which seemed very difficult and a lot of hard work to me), the twins were put naked onto my chest.  And that was that.  I felt, for the first time in my life, that my heart was actually beating outside of my body - vulnerable and exposed in those two tiny creatures.  Everything from that moment on was about them - when I could not see them, I felt bereft; when I heard them crying, I would have done anything to make them stop.  

And when I looked at the Sweetpea, and he could read all of this in my face, he said what any husband in the situation could have been expected to say:  "I told you so!"


  1. Colloquially spoken I'd say "Been there, done that". But that doesn't do it justice. Of course it is unique for everyone. Giving birth is probably some kind of rite of passage which lets us grow like you describe. It's certainly was a very powerful event for me too and the love was just there. Thanks for sharing. P with N&R

  2. Lovely to hear you have felt the same way too. It's a difficult time and I think so many times we feel compelled to put a positive face on it, but anything that stretches us helps us to grow, as you said!