“This day, 19 years ago, I lay awake in bed through the early hours feeling increasingly regular bands of pain spreading across abdomen while I tried to wrestle with the notion that this was actually, finally, happening.”
Speaking in the Sunday Independent, the 47-year-old columnist explained: “A mixture of terror, excitement and denial coursing through me, I found myself humming that old tune ‘there may be trouble ahead…’
“I realised that I had gotten my head around being pregnant but I had no real concept that that meant there was motherhood on the other side of it. And I still didn’t know how I was going to manage it.”
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But picking out the moment she realised she wasn’t experiencing the initial ‘bubble of love’, she revealed: “A close friend came to see me. ‘He’s gorgeous,’ she said. ‘I know he’s lovely,’ I replied. ‘But it doesn’t seem real. If someone took him away from me now, I’d say that was a lovely baby. But it doesn’t feel like he’s mine.’
“I don’t think I was depressed. I think I was terrified. I was afraid of the momentousness of being a mum to this tiny creature. I was afraid of how much I loved him and I was actually afraid to love him too. I was afraid of how vulnerable that would make me.
But, four kids later and celebrating her eldest son’s last birthday as a teen, she said: “I am no longer afraid to be a mother. I kept going. I had three more. It got easier. I did it – so I started to know that I could do it. I grew up as he grew up. And I fell in love with my son.
However, she admitted: “But it wasn’t instant. It took time and growth and overcoming my own fears and insecurities. If you are reading this, and you haven’t bonded instantly, and you don’t know how to say it, don’t think it means that you won’t.
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