Honestly, for the most part, 2020 sucked.
My son was conceived on 5 January, which was an interesting surprise. I have an autoimmune disease that requires me to take immune suppressing medication and one of those medications comes with a 48 per cent risk of miscarriage, and a high risk of birth defects. So the first part of 2020 was spent anxiously waiting and hoping our pregnancy was viable.
That became more complicated as the pandemic hit. Being pregnant, immune-compromised and having a history of lung scarring made COVID-19 a potential death sentence for me, aged 36. My husband is in the events industry so that also meant a significant drop in household income.
But we were healthy, safe and going to be four.
Then we get to August. I was into my 8 month of pregnancy, gearing up to go on maternity leave and excited to meet my baby (after about 50 hospital appointments, scans, blood tests and all the things that come with a high risk pregnancy).
Then we got some bad news. My mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, but she’d been stable and well and in remission. On 7 August we found out she’d suddenly become much worse and reached end stage – and had a few weeks at most. We hoped she’d hold on to meet her first grandson but it wasn’t to be. She died August 12 from Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer).
Five days later we were robbed. Someone broke in and stole our keys, and our car. It had mums handbag and some of her possessions in it, because I hadn’t been able to bring myself to get them out yet. Luckily we hadn’t put the baby capsule in yet.
Five days after that I found out I was the executor of mums estate – meaning I was liaising with police, insurance companies, real estate agents, closing bank accounts and all the things you need to do when someone dies, attending at least 4 hospital appointments a week and trying to hand over at work – 3 weeks before I was supposed to give birth to my giant baby boy.
My son was born on 10 September at 9.04am. My care team recommended a caesarean as my daughter’s birth in 2016 went very badly. Going into surgery was really traumatic. Mum’s blood stopped clotting near the end and she bled from her nose and mouth for the last 36 or so hours of her life. The care team were brilliant and put a lot of extra screening in place to make sure I didn’t see much of the blood as my 9 pound, 5 ounce, 56cm long (2 weeks early) son was delivered.
The rest of the year has been spent cuddling my new baby boy and loving every inch of his wonderfulness. Despite all the stress of the year, and particularly the month he was born, he’s the most delightful and relaxed baby and I can’t imagine life without him.
What helped you overcome these challenges?
Focusing on each moment. What you can control and what you can’t. Remembering that each moment is precious and that’s all you get. To accept that no one gets out alive, so now is the best opportunity you’ll ever have to go after what you want. And that it’s better to die trying, not wondering. To take less for granted and take more time to be present and – as a mum of two – prioritise me more often.
What “her” have you become?