Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Kind Of Grieving

With every love there is grief.
With every joy there is pain.
For every happiness there is sadness.

I am always extremely conscious of the oscillations within me between happiness and sadness – that opposites really aren’t that far removed from each other. Motherhood brings those swings into crystal focus – that they really are one and the same feelings no matter how far apart we think they are.

Towards the middle and end of my pregnancy I started to grieve – for the time I was fast loosing with my first child. Soon he would be a big brother, and would be part of a foursome not a threesome. I grieved for the loss of the life as he knew it, and the undivided attention he had between my husband and I. In grieving I found the joy of him though – the growing he has done, the things he has learnt, the special way he has of seeing the world. I cherished the moments he would lie against my belly and tell me he loved me and the baby. It seemed somehow wrong of us to make him share us with another life at times, and there were moments when I have questioned the validity of bringing another child into the mix.

Our lives were quite fine as a threesome. We could pretend we were a cool couple who just happened to have a child with us. With another child we would be a family. And somehow that seemed immense. There is always upheaval with the arrival of a child, I just wasn’t sure how we would cope, or how that upheaval would manifest itself.

When the baby arrived, I grieved again. For many things. For the fact this was our last child, the preciousness of those first weeks slipping by so quickly, the intensity of remembering and savouring her just being perfect and beautiful at the start of her life, at the growing she has already done, and the fact she is no longer a newborn. I grieve for the breastfeeding more than I should, even though I know she will be ok. Still I grieve for what she should have had and I was not capable of giving. I grieve for the passing of time too quickly. I grieve for the known becoming unknown.

I grieve for the changes for Max, and our family, for the time he doesn’t always get with me, the energy I don’t have to be with him the way he wants me to be. I grieve for the shortness of tempers which flare between mother father child.

This grieve though is borne of intense love – it is a love grief. It is about loving beyond the capacity to love a child, to cherish each closeness and the joy of watching them become themselves, and of allowing them the chances to just be who they need to be. These children break your heart.


Blogger Love Squalor said...

this is beautiful! and kind of strange because i was just saying almost the exact same thing on my blog today. strange, but not really i suppose, because although each individual relationship between mother and child is sacred and unique, i am finding that the overall experience of being a mother is similar for most women - the love beyond what seems possible, the joy deeper and greater than the human mind can even process, and the intense sadness and pain that the passing of time brings, that each step forward brings, the inevitable loss of parts of yourself that sacrifice brings. yes, being a mother is joy in every sense of the word, but it is also so much pain and that makes the experience so much deeper and wider and greater. you have captured it perfectly - these children do break your heart - they break it wide open and life becomes so much more meaningful in the process. thank you alison for sharing your experiences here!

6:25 am  
Anonymous shannon said...

I often thnk of us three that way - cool couple who happens to have kid. Scary to think I could be pram pushing, toddler yelling mother. Maybe Ill take up smoking to complete the picture...!

2:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for putting that out there. That's exactly how I felt (and still feel sometimes) it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

When my daughter was born - after months of wondering what havoc I was going to bring to my adored son's life, I held her and thought 'I don't even know you - and here you are, and you're going to change everything, and maybe I won't even like you and I'm all you've got'. It felt very strange to feel like that. I would certainly not have let her slip away from me in any way, but I was so acutely conscious that this was a future person, and first time around you don't know that I guess.

Here I am contemplating the fact that it's possible that I could create a third little person. Wondering if it's fair to any of us, wondering if it's fair that I may not give someone else life who could change the world and feeling guilty for that.


9:22 am  

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