When I fell pregnant over five years ago, to say it was unplanned would be an understatement. I was overjoyed but also terribly overwhelmed… Barely a year after getting my first job and meeting my husband, and three months away from getting married – I was only just entering my prime.
When my son came into this world, everything changed – and it was just as things were starting to get good. I had been through some frightening ordeals with regards to my reproductive health in my younger days, so by the time I hit fourth month of pregnancy without any problems, I was shouting my impending motherhood from the rooftops. I loved every moment of being pregnant and my husband and I would sit and daydream aloud about what parenthood would be like.
Then reality hit. The baby was born just after I started working from home, and between the social isolation and the never-ending colic I went into a tailspin that I still suspect was some form of a mild depression. Suddenly I was carrying most of the load – the man who was, until then, the lightest sleeper I had ever known gained the ability to sleep through a hurricane (and incidentally a crying baby). I was exhausted and lonely, and some days the only thing that I lived for was my beautiful baby boy – that precious and innocent soul that I had been entrusted to take care of.
My son was born in April 2007, a year before the credit crisis hit. So just as he became a toddler, things started to take a desperate turn for the worse financially. So did my mental state (although I think I just got better at hiding it). By 2010, it was near impossible to cope. We cashed in the one policy we had, and after that we were left with no nest egg and barely a salary to speak of between the two of us. On top of all that, my son began to get sick – with an endless string of colds and infections, culminating in a 6-day hospitalisation for septicemia. That’s when my husband’s parents offered to help us out by taking him for a while so they could focus on bringing him back to health while we sorted ourselves out. A nice offer, but taking him meant taking him to Zambia!
I agonised over it. Oscillating from resentment over what I perceived as an implicit accusation that I was a bad mother to guilt for putting my own petty emotions over my son’s wellbeing. We eventually agreed and, just like that, he was gone… Gone for over a year – 398 days to be exact! And in that time we could only afford one visit.
Now he’s back. Healthy, strong and so smart that he surprises us a good couple of dozen times a day, every single day. Words can not describe how good it feels to have him back; and with the benefit of hindsight, I feel nothing but gratitude for what my in-laws did. They love him with all their hearts and treated him with the kind of doting care that only a grandparent can master. I had the time to consider all the questions I had (shamefully) asked myself in my darker days: the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘maybes’. Would life have been easier, better, more fun? And the answer I came up with was there would have been no life – I’m a mother, my husband is a father. There’s simply no other way of being.
Things are better now, moneywise – but they’re ‘pay-all-your-bills-on-time’ better, not ‘save-and-invest’ better. I worry sometimes about providing for my son the way I’d always imagined, but more than anything I feel honoured just to be here in the ring fighting to be able to do that. I may not have had a plan to begin with, but the plan right now is clear as day: strive everyday to give that boy the best of everything we have.
Because I know that just because I didn’t try to bring him in this world, doesn’t mean he wasn’t sent here for a grand and special reason.
There is always a plan!