How Time Flies

Photography:Rachel Burt Photography

By Sally Saint

My son is 10 and will be 11 in a couple of months time and oh how time has flown. My heart soars and aches at the same time. 

I have absolutely loved being a mum. When people asked me when I was younger, I was adamant I wanted a large family. I always knew being a mum was high on my heart’s priorities. 

As a child, I mothered everything: my cat, dog, animals, injured birds and more, over the years of growing up. I even tried to breastfeed my cat when I was just a young child. I remember lifting my top and putting his face in my pretend bosom. 

I have had a tricky path since then, not the easy one of ‘meet your soulmate and have 2.5 children’. My childhood set me up for something else. 

I became extremely ill at 16 with ME (myalgia encephalomyelitis) and took years to recover. Then when I did step out into the world, I looked very much like a woman but with zero experience as I had been so poorly. 

Disasters occurred which maybe in the throws of normal adolescent growing up, I would have learnt in the cocoon of learning and growth of a teen, rather than the adult shielded from the world by an illness and more. 

My dear mother loved me but due to her own heartbreaking childhood, she over mothered and there was little space for me, as authentic me, so growing up I never quite grew away from my mother, the natural cycle of life. 

The illness took me back to being a child cared for by her mum and the separation that should have happened in teens didn’t. A cycle was unfinished. 

Step forward and a relationship with an unhealthy man resulted in a pregnancy and then a miscarriage, which although I was not far gone, was one of the deepest traumas for a woman that always knew she wanted a child. 

I bled in my bedroom and went back and forth to the toilet, and sunk into a hole inside, my heart empty. It’s one of the most heartbreaking things, as no one knows, as it was too soon to tell people. I went back to work in a few days like it had just been a heavy period. 

The void walked with me. I numbed it for years until I was able to open up the pain and release on a shamanic retreat.

The howl that came out was raw, this visceral pain that just needed to be heard, held and expressed. 

Step forward a good few years and I was blessed to have my son. Initially, we lived with his father but the relationship was unhealthy and would have not allowed either of us to grow, so I left. 

In the 8 years of single parenting, I have learnt more about life, my heart, this world, my capacity to give, to step up for him and to carve my path in life. I have also learnt about letting go. 

The child face that I now look upon is changing. There are times I can glimpse the younger child. When he is asleep or when he is ill, the years slip off him and he is this young child again. 

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