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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Timing Was Perfect

Imagine this…

The year is 1970. You’re a 41-year-old woman with two daughters. The eldest, who is 20, was married the previous year and is expecting your first grandchild. Your youngest is almost 17, in a committed relationship and likely to be engaged within a year or two. You and your husband of 22 years are planning fishing trips and weekends away together. Which, of course, is possible now with your daughters in adulthood, or close to it. Before you know it, you’ll be ‘empty-nesters’, spending your days reading, drinking cups of tea and waiting for the grandchildren to burst through the door at any given moment.

But then one warm day in March, you find yourself sitting in your doctor’s office. You’ve suspected something for a little while now, and tests have been conducted to confirm whether your suspicions are correct. You’re anxious, because if you’re right, the future will be uncertain. You won’t be living the life you thought you were about to, and you’re not sure how you’ll feel about this.

Your mind is busy racing with the possible scenarios when your doctor suddenly turns to you and announces: “Well, Mrs G. It seems you were right. Congratulations…you’re pregnant!”

That was my mum 40 years ago, sitting in that doctor’s office. Her initial reaction to this news? Not quite the excitement you would expect. In fact, she was quite upset on hearing her doctor’s words. Her pregnancy with me hadn’t been planned. This was not the future she had in mind as a woman in her forties. She held many concerns about being pregnant at her age. Would there be something wrong with me? How would she and Dad cope with that? During the whole pregnancy, she worried. She couldn’t relax. On top of that, she really wasn’t sure she actually wanted another baby. What if, when I was born, she didn’t want me? I wasn’t part of her plan. She was done. Together with my Dad, she had raised two children, and she was about to become a grandmother. How could she possibly be pregnant this “late in life” (as it was considered to be back then)?

During the pregnancy, she would cry to my Dad, "I'm too old to have a baby now. We probably won't see her reach her 21st birthday. We probably won't see her get married and have children of her own!"

The timing, it seemed, was all wrong.

The moment I was born, and my Mum held me in her arms, she finally relaxed. All of the concerns of the past nine months disappeared, and immediately – from that moment on – she knew she wanted me.

As she would find out six months later, she also needed me at this point in her life.

Less than a year after my birth, not long after my 17-year-old sister died, my Mum was sitting in that same doctor’s office telling her doctor how having me around had helped her through her darkest moments. He said, “Now you know why you had Jodie when you did, Mrs G.” As Oprah would say, it was an “A-HA!” moment for my Mum.

I believe, wholeheartedly, along with my Mum, that our children are sent to us when the time is right for us to receive them (whether it feels that way at the time or not). They teach us many things (more than what we imagine). Life teaches us many lessons - as difficult or as joyous as they may be.

Even though at the time it seemed to my Mum that my arrival couldn’t have been more untimely, it was, in fact, the best possible time for me to be born. With a newborn to care for, one that she loved with all her heart, she had no other option than to continue to look after me. During those difficult months and years after my sister’s death, I became her distraction. Her comfort. Her saving grace. Her blessing. Yet another reason to keep on living life.

The timing, in the end, was perfect.



Lori said...

Oh. Goosebumps and tears. Just beautiful. This is the reason I read so many blogs, for stories like these. Thanks for posting.

fat mum slim said...

Umm. Touched. Completely. Thank you Jodie, just beautiful. xx

Lucy said...

Oh Jodie, you truly know how to make a Mummy cry. You have no idea how relevant this is to me. Thank you.

Jane said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. And thanks for the reminder that even when it feels like timing couldn't be worse, everything always works out for the best xx

Thea Smith said...

Oh wow, Jodie.
I am a 41 year old woman with 2 children but they're only 5 & 2.
My biggest worry is being too old as they grow up.
You'll have tell me how you felt having an 'older' mum, as I am to my kids.

I love how you were a little angel for your mum. xxx

MegsyJ said...

This is a beautiful post. I can really relate to this - my parents were 41 when my younger brother was born. There are three of us older kids who were then 10 (me), 12 and 17, so a baby was a big surprise.

But the years following were filled with bad events (luckily for us, not tragic events like your family), in so many ways but especially health-wise for my Mum. She always said exactly what you've said here - he was born for a reason and having him really pulled her through.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Times have changed my dear Thea. Back then, being pregnant at such an age was almost unheard of. There were no tests for abnormalities. It was assumed the risks were high.

These days, we are fit for longer. We look after ourselves. We have tests we can do if we choose to when pregnant at such an age.

I kept my parents young. They are in their 80s now, and have seen me reach my 21st, marry and have 3 boys.

I liked that my parents were fairly relaxed. Being older than the other parents meant they'd been there, done that. The only down side was that we didn't do many physical activities, eg going to the beach, bike riding together, that sort of thing. They were probably past that sort of thing by the time they had me! But I did a lot of that stuff with my sister and her husband and kids.

If you keep active along with your kids, and act like a 40 year old should (many back then started to think they were "too old" to do this and that), then you'll be fine!

Besides - I'm almost 40 myself and have an 8, 6 & 3yo, so not far behind you! I would say I do far more physical stuff with my kids than what my parents did with me. Different times. Many of us are in the same boat.


SeraphimSP said...

Oh I totally didn't expect to burst into tears reading this post. But I did. What an AMAZING story, thank you for sharing xo

Cinda said...

I read your post today and the one about your sister and I was so touched by them. I guess we are all part of a master plan in life and we are born into this world at a time when we are needed. To live,share and love and just be blessed to have a part in this world.

Michelle said...

It happens in so many families.
God's perfect timing :)

Jessica said...

what an incredible story. i believe everything happens for a reason, even the terrible things. I guess I have to b/c without that, I'm not sure I would want to wake up in the morning.

Anj (@anjwrites) said...

Wow - what a post...and really helps me with some stuff that is going on with my oldest son right now. Feeling that all has happened when and how it should, well, it gives me comfort. Thanks for the that...

Kylie L said...

Oh. Wow. WOW. This just moved me to tears. Beautiful writing and an amazing story, Jodie. I'm so glad for your mum she had you!

Bernadette Morley said...

This is so lovely. I am going to send it to my best friend. Just over a year ago, she lost twins through miscarriage. She has been so scared to try again and has just recently gotten past that 12 week mark with her new baby last week. I think what you are saying is so so true. I am so sorry you didn't get to know your sister. x

The Dotterel said...

Moving post Jodie. Amazing what life has in store for us really, and yet we always think we're in control.

Nomie said...

Perfect post Jodie, just perfect. What a truly beautiful story... and it is true, our babies choose when to come, not us. XXX