Next February, it will be twenty years since I became a mother for the first time.
I was 25 and living in Newcastle, far from home and newly married to an unpredictably violent man. He hit me. Often. It hurt. Every time. He was 6ft 4″. I am 5ft 2″. He was cruel and I was suffering from an appalling lack of self-esteem.
It was a match made in hell. I had been fired from my radio job at the time because it was apparently uncool to be a female breakfast radio personality with a pregnant belly. (It’s okay. I later sued the radio station and I won.)
Just before my daughter’s birth, I went into her room where everything was shiny and new. I had been in there hundreds of times, but on this day in particular, it stuck me that a baby was never going to sleep in that room.
But I brushed the thought aside thinking all new mothers have weird thoughts like that…
I went into labour on her due date. It was long. It was painful. I started feeling like something was very wrong, so I asked for the doctor on duty to come to check things over.
I was in a midwife attending birthing program. The midwife kept telling me everything was fine. I kept telling her everything was not. Finally the doctor came. He checked me over. He patted me on the head and told me how I was feeling was something all new mothers felt and that I was fine. I told him I wasn’t and neither was the baby. And he walked out anyway.
Later when the foreboding feelings and the pain got much worse, I screamed at the nurse to get the doctor again and when he came back I told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted the baby out NOW because something was very wrong. He warned me that I would have to leave the birth room and go to a more traditional medical focused room. I didn’t care. I had to get her out.