I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt the beginning of a new year to be reflective, sometimes a little too much. Born in January, and diagnosed in January, just days before my 19th birthday, this first month of the year became a grim time marker, even more so than the standard brand new year marker. The year would tick over, turn to the next page and I would check off another year older, another year of living with MRKH, like a prison wall tally.
That’s what it felt like, at times. Another year of wondering whether I would ever be a Mum. The feeling grew more acute as I entered my late twenties and my friends started to have their babies. Then, the annual tally, the slog of passing time seemed to grind even harder, as others I cared about decided to have a baby and nine months later, ‘bam’ had one. Simplistic, perhaps; I know that these things are never as easy as they seem to those of us on the outside. Those of us who watch through the windows, kindling our own desires against relentless storms and flash floods determined to wipe out the flame.
I am sure this is recognisable to many of you: The endless counting of time towards a seemingly unachievable Motherhood. The endless wondering if it will ever change.
2024 is my 9th January as a Mum. My 23rd with the knowledge of my MRKH. Between my diagnosis and the birth of my daughter there were 14 Januaries (if I also count that first one in the immediate aftermath of my diagnosis). When the Before and the After balance out, when I hit 14 as a Mum, will then the need to weigh them finally go away? I’m sure that’s normal, I’m sure many of you do that also. Do you also count the months, years? Days?
Having my daughter did bring a reprieve from the pain of my diagnosis anniversary, and now as I face my birthday I muster a joy that comes entirely from my daughter. Her love of birthdays and her joy at being able to celebrate me rubbed off on me until I found it to be genuine joy and not just me pretending.
I’m rambling a little here. My thoughts seem to coalesce around January, and the day my life changed forever. And so January brings out my maudlin side, the grey, the rain and the cold. It often feels like I am slogging along through slush, not just in my thoughts but in work, relationships and even with my parenting
For the rest of the year I let it go. I sink into mothering with my daughter as my brain’s focus point. Maybe it is a weird tic of my brain, the need to weigh time, balance the Before and the After. Or maybe the counting is just a coping mechanism, a way to tell myself that I have, or am processing the grief that underlies my life, my motherhood.
Maybe I’ll never know. I hope that January is treating you all kindly wherever you are in your life. Soon the light will return and life might feel a little less heavy. As February approaches, often so does hope for a better year, and so I pass that to you now: May this be the year that whatever you hope for comes to you.
Mary (@mrotherywrites) is a writer of stories about women. She writes with focus on motherhood and infertility, trauma and loss, hope and love. She is currently working on her first novel and has recently had short stories and articles published by Motherscope, Five Minute Lit and Pure Slush Books. A mother of one and Content Manager by day, Mary writes in her spare time from her home on the Sussex coast of England, where she lives with her daughter, her husband and her dog.