THIS IS MOTHERHOOD

January 20th 2017:

I was meant to board my plane to Australia with a one way ticket to begin my adventure. From the age of 16 travelling was all I ever dreamt about. If ever asked what I wanted to achieve, “see the world” is what I’d repeatedly reply. The ultimate dream was to make money whilst travelling from city to city, country to country and work my way around the globe, literally. It wasn’t long before I began realising that hopes and dreams don’t always work that way, something else might just come your way.

I often declare that she was meant to be but the truth is I fell pregnant at 21 with nothing to give. How was that possibly ‘meant to be’? No financial foundation, family unit, or home ready to welcome her arrival – it was hardly a fairytale destined to be. The crazy thing is when the test appeared positive I was shocked but not one bit of me was scared. Though both the future and motherhood was completely unknown to me with no guarantee, she was staying and that’s all I knew. Surely I wasn’t naive enough to believe it would be a walk in the park but I guess you could say I underestimated just how much motherhood really is: a world of its own – forever evolving and blossoming yet falling and failing and around we go again – a forever lasting cycle.

My mum would remind me not to have kids before I was ready, she had four by 25 and let’s just say it was a bit messy. I never planned to have a baby in my early twenties, but I always knew I was destined to someday be a mummy – it made me feel warm inside to know one day I’d have my own. But now I know ‘to imagine’ and ‘to experience’ quite simply live on two separate planets. Being told to wait until life is somewhat in place, from sanity, stability, financial security and everything in between – now makes sense to me. Now I understand I wasn’t exactly ready to embark on this forever journey. “You’re not a mum for a day, you’re a mum forever” I heard Dave say. I obviously know I’ll be a mum forever but sometimes things highlight just how real it is – being a mum and what that means. And when I heard these words in his song I paused and had a moment of realisation, almost like an epiphany, that this profound and inexplainable love and responsibility for the embryo who turned into a precious little baby you spend a lifetime watching grow – it’s simply never ending.

I remember holding my bump confident I’d give her the world and keep her safe forever, blissfully ignorant to the raw reality of bringing life to life. You see, becoming a mum isn’t just days of being crazy in love and not being able to imagine life without them; it’s a lifetime of sleepless nights and many days feeling pain, guilt and strain. It’s, most days, looking back wishing I’d done different because I either lost my patience or did something else out of a million and one things. It’s a journey of manoeuvring through life without a second to yourself. With the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s about forever pulling yourself together because falling apart isn’t an option. It is parking, or in many cases, giving up anything you’ve ever dreamed of achieving. It is sacrificing your goals and dedicating your life to these little souls we created. 

Even my welcome to motherhood was deeply troublesome. An emergency caesarean after three days of hardcore labour left me scarred – not just physically. I’d never felt so much like a failure but there I was drowning in it for the first time ever.

With no time to process the most life changing experience I’ll ever encounter, just like that, my entire being had new purpose and meaning. I no longer belonged to myself but was simply in existence to serve someone else, my newborn baby, she needed nothing but my warmth, love and security – she needed nothing but all of me. I never learnt how to be all of me for all of me before birthing a role where I had to be all of me for all of her – it was new to me. The love she introduced to me was one I’d never felt for anyone, not even for myself – I had no clue this love even existed. It was so intense I began panicking and questioning if I’ll ever completely be what she needed me to be because the fear of letting her down was suffocating me. This love is so deep the thought alone of her enduring any suffering breaks my heart into a million pieces and makes my tummy twist. The challenge I have as her mother to keep her away from harm in this world we live in today, is one I already feel guilty for.

Oh, the reality of raising my child whom sadly does not belong to me but to herself, will grow and have to face the world with or without me, feel love and pain, know happiness and sadness, experience failure and battle insecurities, lose sight of who she is and fight to find her way again. What I’d do to have my bump back and keep her from the world but we are fulfilling the cycle of life and there is no cast or spell to change this nature. They say their first few years of life are the most important, the ones we’re meant to enjoy and embrace, watch them grow and cheer them on as they love learning about life and themselves. It’s their precious presence and vital progression that’s the core of our essence. And nothing beats their tiny kisses and cuddles. Yet, a part of me stays stuck in feeling the pressure of my doings and how they’ll greatly effect who she becomes. I find myself second guessing my choices and re-evaluating my decisions. Regularly, living with guilt because I’m never doing enough and constantly battling to find balance.

Yet, nearly two years since you’ve been born and its still my warmth, love and security you ask for: in fact you are your happiest when that’s what you receive. And in reality, isn’t that all any of us need? It may well be that your time of arrival wasn’t the most ideal, I mean I hadn’t completed my solo travels but now what better companion than yourself. My goals and aspirations may be the least of my worries and some will say you slowed me down or held me back, but they know little of what you’ve done to my soul or how you challenge my personal growth. You found me and ultimately paved the way for me to find myself, nothing in this world could offer me what you’ve already given me. To have my heart beating and living but not within me sounds ludicrous but that is exactly what you are. I see you and I see my heart. Your whole being came from within me and now until forever I’ll be searching for new ways to express this love because words never seem to be enough. It’s a love that sends shivers across my body and makes my heart physically erupt. Magical is what you are, you ignite something in my soul that hadn’t been before you.

You keep me on the ground and when I start to float you pull me back down. You force my vision to steer clear from impurity and my thoughts from insanity. You flood my soul with your energy that fights my demons for me. You force me to do better because I know you’re looking up to me and failing you isn’t an option. Making different choices and changes hasn’t been the easiest but when I look at you, you fill me with reason. Knowing I need to be all of me for all of you means everyday I choose to heal for you. Nothing completes me more than when I look at you smile, hear you laugh, hold you in my arms or watch you sleep and kiss you goodnight. You’ll forever be my baby, my beating heart and little piece of me. I’ll never be perfect but no doubt I’ll be there to hold your hand, dance with you when it shines, and hold you tight when it rains. You’ll never know this but I need you more than you’ll ever need me because you saved me.

— Lorena Vargas

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