Last week, this story stopped me in my tracks. A young woman named Rebecca, whilst working as a missionary in Ghana, discovered severely disabled twins. Their mother had just passed away. I won't regurgitate the story, you can read it for yourselves here in Rebecca's own words. Needless to say it's pretty incredible. To be Mummy to a disabled child is easily the hardest thing I've ever done and am ever likely to do. This blog charts that journey and regular readers will know it's had more ups and downs than Taylor Swift's love life. There were times, especially in the early days, when I didn't know if I could carry on. If I was equipped, emotionally and physically. I loved my daughter more than life itself but I didn't know if I had the strength to live that life and to be her Mummy. Sometimes, in the darkest of dark moments, when I was ready to throw in the towel (and/or throw a tantrum/throw a dish at the wall/ throw up/ throw myself under a duvet and never come out) my sense of responsibility to man-up (woman-up?) because I WAS her mummy and I HAD to, was the only thing that kept me going. Which brings me to this extraordinary young woman. She had no such responsibility. She meets children in need of fostering and adoption almost every single day. To choose, then, to begin the arduous task of attempting to adopt disabled twin babies in a foreign country without the nearby support of her family and friends (back in America) absolutely blows my mind. What's more, I'm sure she probably isn't the only one embarking on this journey. I can barely comprehend the selflessness of what Rebecca has chosen to do and why. As a missionary she cites God as leading her way and is devoted to him and what she describes as her 'path'. I find this part the most difficult to understand,because it is so far from what I believe but I am in complete awe of the strength of her faith. Her actions are simply incredibly noble and completely amazing.
It makes me feel like a bit of a lemon to be honest. It took me so long to be able to untangle my thoughts about what had happened to Elin, to start seeing the positives, to stop feeling sorry for all of us. Has my first-world narcissism created problems that should never have been there for me following Elin's birth? If Rebecca can actively choose to be a mummy to a child like her beautiful Ellie-Grace then what the hell have I been going on about for eight years? This serves me up a giant dollop of fresh mum-guilt (mum-guilt is something I EXCEL at. Seriously, I could get a Phd in it and I'm willing to bet I'm in the majority on this one- why do we punish ourselves so continuously?). But then it dawns on me that it doesn't matter how you got to be a Mummy to a child with disabilities in the first place, whether you actively chose it or did not. The fact is, you're doing it. By playing the cards you got dealt in the only way you know how. Your own way. Making mistakes, struggling, making it up as you go along. But still being that Mummy. Being there. At the end of the day that's all we can do, isn't it? Be there and do our best, in our own way...and stop negatively comparing ourselves to someone because they seem stronger than us, or braver, or smarter, or better, or we don't think we're good enough.
Because to the person who matters most, we almost certainly are.
Have lovely half term folks and please check out Rebecca's inspirational story if you can xx