Motherhood by Mandy Nolan

I never planned to be a mother. I also never planned not to be one either. It was something I never really thought about. After three terminated pregnancies I was pregnant at 28 and in a relationship with a man who had told me he wanted children.  I was in love. So I had a baby.

I hadn’t thought it through. I was a free spirit who just did things impulsively. I was living in a shed in someone’s backyard. It was barely fit for human habitation. Thanks to my partner’s parents panic attack when they saw our living conditions, they found us a house and we moved out the week I had the baby. Coincidentally that was the week the shed filled with water in a freak flood. It would have been totally Moses in the rushes had we stayed there. We had no money so I scavenged for stuff for the baby. I found my bassinet thrown outside Vinnies. I put my synthetic fake ocelot coat in it aka Pats from Absolutely Fabulous, and my infant Zoe slept in a bed that would have had a 100% SIDS risk rating.

My partner was an on again off again heroin addict. After the baby arrived he decided to give heroin another big go. One of my bleakest moments was coming home from the hospital to find him and a friend of his hitting up in the nursery. Well, nursery is a pretty big word for a room that contains a discarded bassinet and a chair and nothing else. Well, except for a fluffy bunny and two junkies.

I was madly in love with my baby daughter, but I had bought her home to chaos and dysfunction. Everything I thought I would never do, I had already done. The girl who grew up in domestic violence and addiction and who swore that she’d never tolerate that if she had kids had done exactly that. I forgave my own mother instantly. Then I set about trying to get my shit together. Fast forward 23 years and I have five kids to three different men. I’m not a perfect mother. I’m not a perfect woman. But I love my life. I love my kids. And I guess, in the end, I may not have given them a perfect childhood, but I have given them a story.

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