Saturday, 5 March 2016
For the millions of Moms out there who are also Carers to their children, Mothers Day can be a bitter sweet event.
All mothers experience a greater awareness of suffering once their child enters in to the world. It is as if women see the world through different eyes once they have experienced childbirth. Loss, pain,and vulnerability become more real to us than ever before in our lives.
A mothers love for a child teaches us to be selfless, to be patient and to be forgiving, and for a Mother who is a Carer it teaches us lessons in limitless devotion. We also learn lessons in suffering and impermanence that mothers to healthy children will never understand. This is perhaps why mothers of disabled children often feel a detachment from the lives of friends whose children are healthy. Sorry friends, but it's true. I will always feel that divide between us. Those of us who are Mothers to disabled children have an unspoken bond between us because we bare the intense pain of our children's suffering and recognise within each other that fragility.
Nine months after my twins were born my first Mothers Day was spent by my daughters bedside in hospital. Plans to leave the ward for an hour to go to lunch were quickly changed when Grace developed an infection in her Central line. I spent 14 months trying to be a mother to my twins within the boundaries of a hospital ward. Moments of joy when you are a Mother and a Carer can slip through your fingers like grains of sand. Medical care takes priority over everything else and a huge amount of extra physical and emotional energy is required to do the things that Mothers of healthy children do.
Mother's Day will just be another day of caring for me and thousands of other Mothers like me. Feeding syringes won't wash themselves, my daughter who is almost six will not miraculously stop needing nappies over night and learn to eat three meals a day. If I leave the house this Mother's Day, it will only be after I have drawn in great detail the events of the day so that my brain damaged son doesn't become anxious at the idea of leaving the house. Then there is his new fear of motorways to negotiate, or we stick to quiet country roads, and listen to his repetitive conversations that soothe his mind about where we are going. Mother's Day will be another day of cultivating patience, whilst fighting exhaustion. It will be a day of challenges but it will also be a day filled with unconditional love. Happy Mothers Day to every Mother like me, may your spirit remain strong, when the days of caring are long.