I have started and stopped and then started again to write this entry in my Emotional Memory Series. It has proven much harder to put this into words than the other two previous entries, because words aren’t always capable of demonstrating this human emotion.
I have begun with examining two versions of ‘romantic’ love, if you will and they have served well as stark contrasts to each other. One is night and the other one is day and are more companion pieces to one another.
This one will ostensibly deal with another type of love that is hard wired into almost every human being on the planet. For those it isn’t intrinsically part of, are considered taboo in human society.
I’m talking about the greatest love of all – the love I have for my children.
The song is utterly wrong. The greatest love of all is not learning to love your self. When you are a parent, you put your child first and yourself second. If you have a partner, then they come second and then you come third, if you’re lucky.
It is important to love and accept yourself for what and who you are, but it doesn’t matter as much as your greater loves. As long as it is on the list somewhere and you do something about it every now and then, then fair enough. But that is just me.
Unlike the other two entries in this series, I cannot begin with a series of anecdotes to tell you how this love began. Where could I possibly start?
Getting my first positive pregnancy test was where it began for me with my first ever baby. I loved that baby from the moment I found out they were there inside me. I loved the baby from then until the moment they were born and indeed all of my babies – either via a miscarriage, premature birth or term birth. I have loved them all and continued to carry them all inside me to this day: inside my heart.
I understand that that sounded terribly cliché, but there is no other way to relate or quantify this.
Writing about the constant raging torrent of instinct and emotion that it takes every day to be a mother, is harder than you might think. Inserting clichés in a bid to bypass direct empathy can be a ridiculously stilted and hard task to undertake as a writer.
Some writers who have never been parents have managed to do this themselves and to pull this off nicely with great results. Perhaps the detachment of not having this wild river of personal emotion as a parent can be beneficial in some way as you are not picking or teasing apart an abundance of swirling emotions ; you are simply cutting and pasting from stricter personally set guidelines presented by answering the ‘magic if’.
How would I describe the feelings I have for my children, in order to layout the groundwork for a potential parent figure I was writing about?
Being a mother is the most important thing that has even happened to me or ever will. If my babies are hurt or ill or upset, then I feel it in every inch of me from my head to my toes. My skin prickles and my eyes widen if I even think they are in someway in pain.
I love them dearly, absolutely and unconditionally. This is love in its strongest, most potent and purest possible form. No matter what happens in life, I will always have them and they will always have me and I live and breathe for them.
Yes, I of course I do have more than enough room in my heart to hold others; however, my heart entire belongs to six little babies.
I have had a notably awful time becoming a mother, in that I have suffered the tragic loss of two babies at ten weeks and then a still birth at 24 weeks and five days and a neonatal loss at one month old.
My own perception of motherhood may therefore be slightly different to that of other women who have never suffered a loss. It may also be different to other mum’s who have also suffered losing a child too.
This makes writing about being a mum for me, perhaps skewed. How do I know if my perception of motherhood is the same as other women’s? However, this is the curse and the blessing of all writers: our own unique perspectives.
If we all had uniform personal experiences, then our writing styles would reflect this and the world of writing would be a dull, boring and redundant world.
We have to trust our own version of the world to guide us. It is our version of the truth that matters, as opposed to that of the readers. They are buying into the world we have created, rather than trying to play up to theirs too much.
My experiences of the love and devotion I have for my gorgeous, precious and wonderful children is many fold and virtually too abundant and complex to even begin to put into words. I think with a mother’s heart about everything I do since I first became a mother. I do therefore believe that I have also made it rather hard to write about.
Answering the ‘magic if’s’ I have are easy, because I can think like a mother – because I am one. However, conveying that in a written form can be hard. Just finding the words to convey the complex nuances of how a mother thinks, reacts and behaves can be so hard, at least for me, that I grind to an utter halt.
How do you put into words, the intangible, unstoppable and fearless love that inhabits all of you inside out and back to front? How can you describe the feeling of finding strength when there is none left inside you, for the sake of your child? How do you just simply say what it feels like to be willing to chuck yourself in front of a speeding train or suffer a million terrible deaths if it mean your baby is safe?
The physical pain of giving birth is but a drop in the ocean of the world of pain you’d be willing to absorb if it meant your babies were okay.
How do you sprawl that out over chapters and eek it out?
The greatest love there is, let alone of all, is also possibly the hardest to write about, at least for me.
I for one though, wouldn’t have this particular human emotional experience any other way.