Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A letter to my younger self



To the 21-year-old Gemma who thinks she knows everything,

You actually don't. It's now 10 years later and you still don't, but your head is screwed on a little tighter now and you have more of an idea about what you're doing and where you're going.

The next 10 years are not going to be as straightforward as you think. Right now you're a single Mam to an almost two-year-old little boy. You work 40+ hours a week to make sure you can make rent each month, keep him in clothes and fed. You're doing OK with it. He's happy and healthy. You have a strong and supportive family who are always there for you so you never have to feel like a single Mum alone.

You've celebrated your 21st birthday over a week, had something different planned for every day. You're 31 now and you're still doing the same, here's hoping it's something we'll never grow out of. You've organised a night of drinks and dancing in Town with all your friends tonight, you won't remember getting home and you'll take Osh to a kids party tomorrow with a raging hangover. 

Your 31st Birthday is going to be completely different. I know you won't believe me when I tell you, but you'll be married, have two more children and have a mortgage on a house you and your husband own on your 31st Birthday. Madness isn't it, I mean - right now you couldn't think of anything worse than more kids. Having Osh at 19 was not easy, but you'll find it so much easier next time - you'll have a loving husband by your side. Also, you'll remember everything Mam and Nain taught you and actually enjoy the newborn days. You'll actually use your whole Maternity leave this time, rather than going back to work when the baby is 7 weeks old. You'll enjoy taking a baby for a walk in the pram. You'll just be so much more confident as a mother.

But you're going to be tested as well. Something huge is going to happen in your life and it's going to change you in every way possible. Unfortunately, it involves the health of one of your children. I don't want to worry you too much now because there's no point, there's nothing that you can do to change it or to stop it from happening. This baby will bring you unbearable pain, but she'll also bring you the greatest of joys. She'll change the way you view the world and your ability to tolerate bu****it will be severely affected. You'll witness other parents losing their children, you'll cry for the loss of children you don't know. Your mental health will take a serious hit. But this child is worth every ounce of pain.

Your stubbornness and pigheadedness will serve you well as you navigate your way through the new world you're thrust in to. You'll learn to survive on a minimal amount of sleep, learn skills you never thought you'd ever need and learn medical phrases your Biology teacher would be proud of.

You'll love that little bit harder, appreciate the small things in life because to you - they will be the big things.

I hope you enjoy your night drinking Passoa & Lemonade and whatever else the gang buys you followed by dancing in "Occy". You've got a couple of years yet until you meet the love of your life and from them on, you'll be happiest at home drinking panads with him while your three babies are fast asleep upstairs. There's nowhere that you'd rather be.

GM
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