For the sake of this post, I am borrowing Doc Brown’s DeLorean. (It’s a time machine, kids)
*Back to 1981*
Puberty starts with a bang – literally – because it’s bonfire night.
I find blood in my knickers and presume I’m dying so I scream for my mother whose panic quickly turns to realisation before disappearing into her bedroom..
She returns a short time later with a sanitary towel the size of Wales.
Mum: You’ve started your periods. Perfectly normal. Stick this in your pants.
Dad: Bloody hell!! (I was only 11 so I’m guessing he was about as prepared for it as I was)
Me: So, I’m not dying then?
*Fast forward to 1983*
Me to my Dad: “I’ll NEVER leave you! I’ll NEVER get married!! I HATE boys!!!” (except Nick Rhodes out of Duran Duran)
*fast forward to 1987*
*fast forward to 1988*
Is handed a howling bundle of joy by an extremely cranky midwife with staffing issues. I am smitten! (with baby not midwife)
*fast forward to 1991*
Complete miscarriage at 6 weeks (always in my heart)
*fast forwards to 1992*
Cantankerous old cow of a midwife (been delivering babies since the 1800’s) thrusts a sleepy bundle of joy in my arms. Smitten again!
*fast forwards to 2009*
Limps into labour ward looking like Alice Cooper. I’m in a world of pain but I’m not in labour so something’s obviously up. Within a couple of hours I’m descended on by a team of theatre staff who unceremoniously prepare me for an emergency C Section. I am sedated and a 9lbs 7 oz human is extracted from my mangled womb. I cop a glance and see him pee all over the nurse. Smitten for the third time!
*fast forwards to 2010*
Gynaecological consultant (male) cheerfully informs me that he is going into retirement and so are my ovaries..
I am menopausal.
You fucking what, mate?
Didn’t drop the F bomb but I was thinking it because I was still only 39!
*fast forwards to 2012*
Two years post menopausal – my ovaries have officially retired.
*fast forwards to 2013*
Pelvic floor surrenders. ‘Pissing myself laughing’, literally.
*rewinds back to August 1992 – maternity hospital*
Pleads to have a couple of stitches put in.
“But Mrs A Soul (not really thought the title of this blog through, have I?) we’ve already given you three stitches!”
“STOP TALKING AND THROW A FEW MORE IN FFS!”
*fast forwards to 2012*
- Cravings for comfortable shoes, oversized tops and middle-aged gardeners.
- Buys Tena Lady’s by the pallet load.
- Displays erratic, bordering on psychotic, behaviour.
- Forgets stuff.
*Fast forward to 2015*
Has a mofo of a nervous breakdown where my NT mask literally falls off and thanks to an observant A & E psychiatrist is sent for autistic assessment.
*Fast forward to 2016*
Diagnosed autistic. Everything makes sense, finally.
*Fast forward to 2019*
Diagnosed with fibromyalgia, arthritis and disc disease (If I was a car, I would in the scrap yard)
*Set the clock for 2020, I’m comin’ home!*
Now I am almost 50 and despite my body disintegrating faster than a dunked Rich Tea biscuit (only with less finesse), I am more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been.
Time changes you physically and mentally. Life changes you. You see your loved ones get ill and die and you know that one day it will be you in that coffin (not the same one, obvs) and suddenly your perspective shifts to what really matters. Yes, my tummy is doughy and spills over my waistband in a very unbecoming manner but when I see the silvery stretch marks of pregnancy and the c section scar which spans my lower abdomen, I remind myself of why they are there.
Lets get philosophical…
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art which repairs chips and cracks in pottery with fine gold, silver or platinum. Rather than rejecting or hiding it’s flaws and imperfections – they are highlighted and the object is considered to be more even beautiful than before. This analogy resonates with me because I have worked in a potbank, except that our cracked pottery ended up in a massive skip..
Anyway, back to Kintsugi – this is how I choose to see my scar and stretch marks. I embrace them for what they are – a beautiful reminder of the three boys who call me ‘Mum’.
Despite all the crap, I like being older. I wish I wasn’t chronically ill, obvs, but I like this version of me. I’m battered and bruised and some bits are technically broken but I am authentically who I was born to be.
Don’t you think I’m looking older?
But something good has happened to me
George Michael ~ Older