Guest Blogger Post #27 is by the awesome blogger Cath of Passports and Adventures . Cath was one of my early Snapchat friends. Another Irish living abroad, she and I had the pleasure of meeting when she came to London for a blogger convention. We hit it off instantly and she even joined me on my weekly adventure called Foodie Fieldtrip Friday. So I was delighted when she agreed to participate in the Month of LOVE series and share a very sweet story. It is especially meaningful to me, being that I have a son, and that my favorite book of all time is quoted in the opening line!
“… and she loved a little boy very, very much―even more than she loved herself.”
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
I thought I knew love. Twice over in fact.
My first time out it lasted four and a half years. They were good years but with some rocky roads to them. The second time, my real love, continues to this day, in my husband. The man who stole my heart before I had even met him. And who I knew from the first time we met face to face, was going to be the man I would marry.
And there really isn’t anything stronger than the love between a man or a wife. Or so I thought. Until Hurricane Alexander stormed into our lives and turned it upside-down.
From the moment I had missed my period, to the evening we saw those precious words on the stick “pregnant, 3+ weeks”, a different love began, and is one which endures each and every day. Those nine long months of waiting while a little person grew, fluttered in my belly and then jabbed me in the ribs in the dark of night, they felt like they were lasting a lifetime. But the lifetime was only just beginning.
His entrance into the world was not without drama. I laboured well, and with the help of gas and air, and a birthing pool, I think I coped pretty well. Then came the moment of truth. Time to bring him into the big, bad world. But things didn’t progress as well as the first twenty hours had. I tried and tried. In the pool, on the bed, nothing. My energy waned and I became utterly exhausted.
“I can’t do it anymore bebe”.
And my husband knew I meant it. I had been doing so well up to that point, but I had nothing left. Why wasn’t he coming out? First stage of labour had been a breeze, so-to-speak. I thought I’d be able to do it. But it just wasn’t happening.
“Please help me. If I need a caesarean, then let’s do it. But get him out safe. Please”.
I begged to my husband to help. To step in, because deep inside I knew we needed help. The midwife wanted to carry on, but I simply had nothing in reserve. And my guts were telling me he wasn’t going to come out unaided.
And thank God for our hypnobirthing teacher Jen. During our course she had taught us that if Dad had to step in and speak on behalf of Mum, then to do it. She reinforced this time and time again. And to this day I am so grateful because without her instilling this into us, I dread to think what might have happened.
So, hubby asked for a doctor to be brought in, explaining to the midwife that he wasn’t trying to undermine her, but he wanted a doctor to examine me. Unbeknownst to me, she had lost Alexander’s heartbeat on the monitor twice and this had worried my husband. A doctor arrived soon after and straight away she said, “this baby isn’t coming out without help, prep her for surgery”. It turns out he was stuck between my pelvic bone and his shoulder blade.
To this day I love my husband more and more for having the courage to step in and have himself heard for both myself and our son.
When he finally arrived, a new love washed over me. It was, and is, like nothing I’ve ever felt in this world. Whether he cries, stamps his feet in a fearsome fours tantrum, whether he throws his arms around me for no reason and tells me “I love you so much Mum”, the love I have for my son is like nothing else on this earth.
Yes, he drives me crazy at times and I think “I wish I could just have five minutes to myself”, but I still wouldn’t change a thing. And it grows every day. My husband must feel it too, as he often says to me when we have those few precious hours to ourselves in the evenings “I love him so much”.
It’s a different kind of love to the one I have for my husband. Both different but both equalling strong and everlasting. I would lay down my life for my child. And I would kill for my child. We’ve both said it. If anyone harms our son, so help us we’ll do their worse harm.
I hate seeing him hurt or upset. I worried for many weeks after he started school, with not a word of Portuguese, whether he’d be ok. Would he make friends, would they help him or exclude him? Would he be bullied or be picked on because he didn’t speak the language? Would he be lonely because no one would play with him? Thankfully, all is good.
I don’t think there is a parent out there who can convey in words how strong their love is for their child. It is powerful and all-consuming. Their needs come before yours, no matter what. Their happiness is your biggest worry. Their fears, upset or worries are your biggest and you would do anything to take them away from them, even if it meant them becoming yours.
Becoming a parent is one of the biggest things in a person’s life. It is a moment where everything changes, and you discover a love so powerful it would crush you if it was ever taken away from you. You can never understand the love a parent has for their child or children until you become one yourself. Then you understand. You join a club that needs no words when it comes to understanding or describing the love between you and your child.
They will drive you crazy, test your patience to the limit and they will love you like nothing else can. You might crave five minutes peace when they’re calling “Mum, mum, mum” from the next room. But your love for them means, deep down, you wouldn’t change it for the world. Their love for you will endure long after you are gone, just like your own love for your parents.
“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest” An Irish Proverb.
I hope this rings true of Hurricane Alexander, my precious boy.
Cath is an Irish expat who now lives in Portugal with her husband and son. A former scientist, she gave up working when they emigrated south from the UK. She is a family travel and lifestyle blogger and hopes that, through her blog, they will inspire more families to travel, especially with the toddlers in tow. As a family they love travelling and have started working their way through their family travel bucket list. Cath writes about their family travels and experiences on her blog BattleMum.
Thank you Cath for that heartfelt LOVE story. Alexander is a lucky boy to have you for his mum! I miss you here in the U.K. but hope we meet again one day. I sure loved our Beauty/Foodie adventure here in London. Or as we re-named it Feauty Fieldtrip Friday. Wishing you continued success with your phenomenal blog and your new life in Portugal. I know I am a bit early, but Happy Mum’s Day too!