There are some things that only time can teach you. Like when I started at university, a few days before my twentieth birthday, terrified of everything, with no knowledge of medicine past episodes of Casualty and ER, I would not have been able to believe I’d be a senior ED doctor myself. In my early twenties, when EVERYONE but me had a boyfriend, and I’d visualise myself dying alone, being eaten by my horde of cats (I don’t even like cats!) I wouldn’t believe I’d now have been in a happy relationship for more than a quarter of my life, with two beautiful children.
When my beautiful daughter was ten days old, and they told me that she’d lost a dangerous amount of weight, that I needed to go and buy formula and bottles. When they told me that it didn’t matter how you fed your baby, that it didn’t make a difference to what kind of mother you were. When every feed took hours and she never seemed satisfied. When they forced me to weigh her every week. When they rang me to check how I was doing and where I was. When they arranged emergency doctors appointments for my failing baby. When I expressed two or three times every night, treasuring every difficult drop that I could get. When we spent hours with a tiny syringe trying to get extra nutrients into my tiny baby. When they told me that my milk must not be good enough for my baby. When I felt like a failure…
Well when all of those things were happening, I would never have seen myself here, with over five years of breastfeeding under my nursing bra strap, with boobs that stretch around corners, that can satisfy and comfort one child while I’m getting another child dressed for school, with two enormous, healthy, happy, adventurous children and feeling totally ok about all of it.
So I guess, when things get tough, when they feel impossible and insurmountable, when I feel broken and a failure, I have to remember that time is a great teacher, and that if I just keep battling when something feels important, then I can achieve, that every one of us can achieve, amazing things that we never dreamed we could.
And in thirty years time, maybe I’ll be like my Mum, saying, “oh I don’t really remember what it was like having two young children, guess it can’t have been too hard, I just managed I guess.”