T.S Eliot was wrong.
I love T.S Eliot, he is one of my all-time favourite writers, yes writers, because besides being one of the greatest 20th century poets, he was also an essayist, playwright, publisher and social critic. He was an incredible man and he left behind an incredible body of work, for us to pour over and find ourselves in.
I never thought I’d disagree with much that Mr Eliot had to say. Until I became pregnant for the first time five years ago. I’m now a mother to two boys, but for the sake of my argument, I want to focus on my first foray into motherhood.
Pregnancy wasn’t my cup of tea, and believe me I LOVE tea. From your everyday black tea, to various other herbal tea, the list is endless, I like all tea, but pregnancy was not a cup of tea I could stomach, literally.
My first pregnancy at the age of 18 to my now 5-year-oldson didn’t have the greatest beginning. I was sick, a lot. I could barely eat, and I was always exhausted. Sounds normal I know, a lot of pregnant women past and present can empathise with this, or be annoyed at me for complaining after the fact, but hear me out. I was a crying, sweating, vomiting, always peeing absolute mess. I had envisioned pregnancy yoga, and walks in the morning. Instead I was hugging the toilet, sleeping on the bathroom floor.
About half way through, all the vomiting subsided, thankfully, but my mama gut instinct (even at the tender age of 18) knew there was something wrong with my baby. I was in and out of the hospital constantly, begging anyone to listen to me. No one did. Until one day, I met Dr Joseph. In he waltzed, leant down beside me and asked me what I believed was wrong. I told him I had no idea, but that I needed to find out so I could get on with this pregnancy as planned, start that pregnancy yoga, do my walks etc. I was trying to find that glow that I always saw pregnant women have. Instead, my glow was frustrated tears and sweat from being a literal human oven. Dr Joseph, like no other doctor, listened to me for the first time that day.
There was something wrong with my baby. IUGR to be exact. Inter Utero Growth Restriction. He wasn’t growing like a baby should be. I was right, and I was devastated. My dreams of having that perfect radiant pregnancy were shattered. I mourned for my baby the hardest, but I alsomourned for the pregnancy I felt my body was denying me. I was monitored weekly and put on bed rest. I gave birth via emergency c-section at 35 weeks, to a 3pound baby boy, we named him Eli. Besides his tiny birth weight, he was healthy.
So what does all of this have to do with T.S Eliot? Well T.S Eliot once said, ‘the journey, not the destination matters.’ But for me motherhood is all about the destination, that baby at the end, that baby, that destination, it makes all that grief and anger and confusion of a terrible journey bearable. When I was reunited with Eli nearly a full 12 hours later, I realised that the glow I had been looking for, was right there in front of me attached to my breast. It was him. He was the destination, and he was my huge sigh of a relief at the end of a terrible journey.
But maybe —and maybe this is just the admirer in me— Mr Eliot wasn’t all wrong. Watching my destination, my glow, my Eli; watching him grow and flourish is one journey I never want to see end.
My name is Chloe Mills, I’m a 23 year old mother of two boys, Eli and Flynn Cassidy. We reside in Brisbane, Australia. I’m also a full time student at QUT studying my bachelor degree in creative and professional writing. I’m an avid lover of the arts but my greatest passion in life is definitely my two boys.