“It’s a girl!” I felt exhausted. Three hours after giving birth I was still bleeding. The decision was made to rush me into theatre for an operation. A few days later I watched the blood flow down a tube and into my arm as blood was pumped back into me. I look over at my beautiful baby girl, less than 15 hours old with a squashed head. A newborn only has that look of an elongated potato head for a few days. Mother Nature is such a miracle; allowing a whole human to adapt so it can make its way into this world.

The photographer is back. She spends the next few hours taking photos of newborn babies against the same pink or blue spotty background. Four misshapen newborn heads today. She wants to make it five and include my girl but she can’t take her to have her photograph taken without me being present. It’s a new hospital policy because three babies have been snatched from the hospital over the last six months. All returned to the arms of their frightened mothers, thank God. Security is tight and only I can wheel her cot over to the photographer but I am hooked up to a drip so that vital drops of someones blood can enter my body and mingle with my own. God bless blood donors.

I lost a total of five pints of blood during delivery and so the following day, and the day after that when the photographer returned I am sat frustrated on my bed and desperate to have a photo taken.

Finally, on the afternoon I am due to leave hospital the photographer turns up. My boyfriend is with me. He is here to pick me up and take us home. Now that the photographer is here and I am not attached to a drip it means I can finally have my photo taken of what is a not so misshapen head but still a newborn baby girl. As we are leaving the photographer agrees to fit us in first. I look over so very happy that I won’t miss out on the newborn spotty background photo opportunity that all parents hang up in their living room. It wasn’t to be. My boyfriend has to get back to work within the hour he says and we need to leave immediately.

I pick up my beautiful baby girl and we leave the warmth of the hospital and head home. My boyfriend stayed at home with us for three hours before returning to work. There would have been plenty of time to stop and get a photograph taken. I am livid. I am angry but as always I say nothing.

As I sit on my bed and watch my baby girl sleep I make a promise to myself. I promise that I am going to learn how to speak up for myself and how to be more forceful in my opinion so people can’t push me around so easily. I make a promise that my baby girl will never be as lacking in self confidence, shy, repressed and silent as I am.

Time has passed since then. Nearly three years later and the birth of one son, then four more years and the birth of another son have taken place. I have two blue background spotty photos of two newborn boys and they hang next to a photo of my one year old daughter. She was one before I had a professional photograph taken. I use these three photographs to remind me of a time when I wouldn’t speak my mind or stand my ground. I still believe if I had been more persistent with my boyfriend that he would have waited but as always I shut my mouth, went home and kept the anger inside of me.

These three photographs are a reminder that I lost out on capturing a moment in time that I can never go back to and I use it as a metaphor for life. Whenever I want to limit myself or am afraid to take a chance on something I remind myself of the missed photo opportunity and the fact that this opportunity was only available in that moment.

For a woman who said nothing and was a complete people pleaser my life has been amazing. There are still another 50 to go, God willing, and I intend to spend them doing everything I couldn’t do when I was in my twenties. The babies are now young adults and a new era waits. There will be no more missed opportunities for this old gal that’s for damn sure.

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I am writing a collection of memoirs as short stories. Over Christmas I asked a number of friends and family to tell me a story about a moment that changed their life. I am now doing my best to turn them all into short memoirs. I enjoyed listening to their stories. It seems the more alcohol that had been consumed the easily the words flowed out of their mouth 🙂

Once I have all 10 of them added here I am going to put them all into a free PDF and add them to my blog.