Thursday, August 3, 2006

How did I become a mum?

How did I end up becoming a mother? It was a question that I pondered until my reverie was broken whilst having a little quiet time, competing for the toilet paper with an eight month old and trying my best to avoid repeated requests to provide voices for each member of a family of four play dough balls. 

This introspection was brought about by some extremely upsetting news delivered to us on Sunday evening. My sister-in-law Lari and her husband Allan were due to welcome their first child into the world next week. A freak of nature (that only ever happens to other families) occurred, namely the rupturing of the placenta. Baby Payton died and Lari became very sick. Lari is in hospital now, several blood transfusions and operations later. The whole family is in shock and disbelief. Everyone has asked “Why?” Surely this sort of thing just doesn’t happen anymore in a modern world of medicine and health care. Apparently stillbirths now occur in about one in 200 of all pregnancies – this rate has declined by 50% in the last 20 years. In Australia, the rate of stillborn babies is approximately 1750 per year - or in one in one hundred babies. These rates are far higher than I ever thought they would be – but help put a bit of perspective on the situation… if not answering ‘why this baby?’ 

When I think of all friends and family members that have spent months and even years trying to fall pregnant, those that have had one or multiple miscarriages, a couple of people who have lost one or more very young babies and even a friend with a three-year-old currently going through chemotherapy for leukaemia… it makes life appear all the more tenuous and fragile. I have been giving the boys extra hugs the last few days. 

Poor Lari and Allan had to deal with all the initial shock and trauma themselves as they live in Japan, away from family. Paul’s mother Naureen arrived to help on Tuesday and she will be followed by Allan’s mother. The news made us seem all that more isolated ourselves. 

Lari and Allan are in an extremely strong position as they are a very devoted and strong couple with a synergy of thought and expectation. I am positive that they are in the best position to overcome this appalling time in their lives and be able to live beyond, yet hold a special place for their darling little boy. 

Motherhood on a different note… On Saturday, we made a visit to Millennium Park to play in the Crown Fountain for a while. Luc and I returned from playing to find that Nic had his own harem of four young girls cuddling him and playing games with him. He looked very happy. Luc wanted to play as well, so the little girls played ring-a-ring-a-rosy with him. 

I wondered if the girls were related. I asked the lady looking after them. She said, Yes, they were all sisters and were all her children. I asked her how many children she had. She said “Ten. Five boys and five girls” I looked at her in disbelief and exclaimed “How old are you?!” “Thirty-four” “My God! When did you start? When you were twelve?!” “Yes, as a matter of fact, I was twelve”. This mum was the coolest person, very calm and phlegmatic. She had five of her children with her, all their snacks, drinks, selection of toys, arm chairs, towels, etc. etc. and was even able to include and entertain our children. Her children were polite, well-behaved and very good natured. She rocked! I asked her how on earth she managed as I tended to find it hard to keep just two children in check. She said that it could be really hard, but she seemed to have such a great attitude that it looked as if it came easy to her. Given her early start into motherhood, we could only imagine the hardships she had faced and the total lack of education and opportunities she had dealt with.

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