I tend to do things all or nothing which is why I always thought that if I had children, I’d have a hoard. Yet lately, images of an idyllic farmhouse orchard beyond my kitchen window through which children..3..4..5..ran barefoot, picking apples to be baked into a pie we’d eat later around our love-worn pinewood table have given way to a different vision, one of a table set for four, loving piled with food amidst the books, and the papers, and the half-built cars. I think, really do think, that this will be the last time I’ll be 7 months pregnant; I think this will be our last child.
Watching M grow has been the most magical journey. Week upon week he changes, our home changes, I change. I look back at photos now of him just four, six, eight months ago – it’s not the same boy, yet it is. It’s the same one-dimpled smile, same inquisitive eyes, same captivating hand movements, but the person behind them is different; he’s not a baby, anymore. Each day, week on week, he discovers more about himself and his world and as a stay-at-home-Mum, I’m blessed to watch these discoveries that he makes. When I nurse him in the day, as his still shifting colour, currently forest green eyes gaze up mischievously into mine and his hand comes up to pull off my nose, I feel Bump kick against him, and M giggles. I can imagine a world with these two together, I can imagine being a Mum who divides her time between these two managing to give them both the attention they deserve; I can’t imagine more children allowing me to do this.
For my children the most precious gift I can offer is me. My time, my commitment, my dedication. I want to be a Mum who is there for her children when and how they need her to be, in whatever format that may take over time. I want to spend time with my children, everyday if they’ll let me, learn about them, understand them, to know them. I never want to feel that I don’t have the time or my attention is too divided between them.
The image, the farmhouse with the chickens on the porch, is a nice one to see. It’s a nice dream to hold onto for the four of us maybe, but the orchard bit? The three, four kids bit? I just don’t see that for us. Financially, practically and in emotional terms, I see our family of four being just right with that vision in mind.
Which will make this my last pregnancy, these kicks the final ones I’ll feel or that G will try to film. This will be the last time I watch the miracle that is my body stretching to accommodate new life and as we enter the home stretch, I’m trying to remember this, to take note of all of it. The backache and the heartburn and the tiredness have just kicked in but I’m trying to revel in these even. Each and every day my child remains in my body is a blessing from Allah, it’s an extra day to gain in strength, develop his being. As I realise the finality of this pregnancy, the chapter it closes as it opens one new, I’m trying to stay focused on the positives and in my body will be mine again soon, anyway.
So the weeks tick on by, fly too quickly yet slow enough; too quickly to comprehend how our lives are going to shift now or the shifts we’re making ourselves, too slowly to miss entirely the monumentalism of the months as they pass. All I can think as our worlds axis spins now is
how Allah opens and shuts doors simultaneously for us. And i wonder, as we leave the pregnant phase, how the parent phase will then pan out..what does He hold in store for my family? What does He have in mind then for me?