Thursday September 24 2015 11:00 AM
Last week Emma wrote about MS and the fertility and pregnancy journey. This week she delves deeper into the joys and challenges of having a new-born in her life.
One of my exes told me when we broke up that she pitied me- no-one would want to be with anyone with MS. For a long time, that got under my skin and I believed her, there was no choice. Then I met Cathy and everything changed. We romanced, fell in love and started planning for a child. We did it the typical lesbian way- clinic, donor and with medical intervention. Last September, she got pregnant and we’ve had a rollercoaster of a year. It was a good pregnancy, healthy, not too much sickness and with so many happy times. The months passed with scans of the baby growing, consultant visits and the waiting… and waiting.
Then the 16th of May in the early hours of a quiet Sunday morning, our baby girl arrived. Cathy stayed in hospital for three nights, learning how to breastfeed, resting and getting to know the new arrival. I prepared our home, hardly sleeping as the two loves of my life slept in a hospital across town. On a bright sunny morning, I drove to the hospital. We nervously put Baby into her snow-suit, packed the car seat and drove them home.
Cathy would say pregnancy is easy. It is when baby comes home that you will never be prepared for. My friend described becoming a parent, having a new-born in the house, as the equivalent of throwing a grenade into a relationship. The explosions rip through what you thought you knew about yourself, your partner, your family and friends. Some relationships collapse, only to grow renewed and stronger, while others fall away. MS and children also collapse TIME; we’re forced to be present, to be in the moment, to mindfully breathe every breath. Time slows down and speeds up, all at once!
As the first two hellish weeks fade in my memory, as my brain stops hurting from all new pathways built during those first few months of intensive learning, I see how MS was put to the back of my mind. My concerns faded as the jobs that needed to be done, got done. In the months since I’ve learned how to change a nappy in record time, how to interpret a baby’s cry, make the meals that are super nutritious and quick (or pop to the local fast food restaurant in desperation for a meal!), do the housework, be mindful, take rest when I could and make it to my TRX/Kettle bell class whenever I can.
Last Christmas we had the Rogan Nativity. It’s our tradition, when we meet for food and drinks and all my cousins, aunts and uncles dress up as shepherds, angels, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and the donkey. We play our parts while someone reads the Nativity story from the Bible. At the end of the fun, we give thanks for being together, gratitude for family, the universe we live in and for the gifts we have. It is also an opportunity to share news. This year I decided to share my happy news about the pregnancy, only I got overwhelmed and upset. Eventually, I blurted out the news. There was stillness…then an eruption of laughing and cheering. Afterwards, one of my aunts hugged me and told me how happy she was. Because I had cried, she too cried. She thought that the MS was getting worse and I was about to tell them bad news…
Thalia is now four months old and we have great fun together with a joy like I’ve never known. Having a loving partner and becoming a parent has unfolded a life-long love letter to what is our precious existence. Finally, I see how choosing to leave a bad relationship allowed me to move on to something precious.
My pregnancy journey was from a partner’s perspective and I’d really like to know how it has been for you? Please comment or send me an email.