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Thursday, 28 June 2012

A leap of faith leads me to Reach for the Stars.

Ned took part in his first school concert on Tuesday night. The school has a concert for the senior classes every 2 years and the children and teachers prepare for it over the first 2 terms and then present the show to their families.

Ned was on a high after the show

Ned had told us a little about it, mainly what his role was,the two songs he was singing and his costume needs, so Ben and I turned up with few expectations.Well, we were blown away. What a wonderful night of entertainment, talent and creativity. All the kids from years 3 to 6 had participated in some way and they were all brilliant and inspiring. We laughed ourselves silly, and clapped hard. A great night for our little public school and a terrific experience for all of the children. Ned had a great time and was on a high when we got him home. Unfortunately, Miranda was really sick that night and could not come with us. (Thank you to Papa who came along to look after her and Charlie). But she will love being a part of the concert when it is her turn in 2 years.

As parents, school concerts provide an opportunity to sit back and admire our children (and our friends' children) and classmates. Being there to see Ned in his few minutes on stage with his class was lovely, and somehow it transported me to another time and place that seemed completely unconnected with the evening.

There was a time when I thought I may never have children. I really wanted them, but with my mental illness having a huge impact on my life, particularly in my 20's, I didn't think I'd even find a partner, let alone have my own children. I think at one stage, when I hit 30 and was unmarried and without child, my mother suggested that I would make a nice stepmother. But that was never going to be enough for me, not that it wouldn't have been a privilege to be a stepmother, but I wanted to carry a child and birth him too. So it was wonderful to meet Ben and fall in love and decide we wanted to make a life together. Ben didn't really have an overwhelming interest in having a baby, but as it was important to me we decided to try for a family not long after we were wed. 

I was on quite a lot of medication back then and I needed medical advise on what to stop and change so that we could safely get pregnant. I will always remember sitting in our GP's office and telling him that we wanted to start a family and him looking at me and saying simply "People like you dont have babies."

I said "What."

He said "People like you with mental illness dont have babies. I'll give you a 3 year contraceptive implant instead."

I looked at Ben. I was speechless, shocked and devastated. Ben in his own strong and silent way, stood up, pulled me up off my seat, and excused us and we left. Ben said no one tells you that Kate, that is our decision. (it was my "no one sticks Baby in the corner" moment)  Ben reminded me that I was not a second-class citizen or some kind of subhuman who shouldn't reproduce. He said we were going to have a baby and we were going to be great parents, parents every baby deserved to have, with a home filled with love and care and all good things.

Thank God for Benjamin! I was left pretty shattered and it took a real step in faith to cope with it and to move forward. I had some doubts but it was working through things with Ben that strengthened our marriage and his desire to have children.

We found a doctor who did support our decision and who didn't make me feel less of a woman and a mother. Unfortunately, we lost our first pregnancy but within a few weeks I was pregnant again, this time with our Ned. 

reach for the stars!

Now why my attendance at Ned's school concert took me back to that devastating moment in the doctor's surgery nearly 10 years ago, I'm not quite sure, but it did make me shed a couple of tears as all the kids came onto the stage to sing the final song 'Reach for the Stars', all about having a dream and never giving up.  I guess it reminded me of my dream of a family and how I suffered to achieve it, but I got it in the end. A dream doesn't have to be about being the best dancer, or the fastest driver or a famous celebrity, it just has to be honest and from your heart. Now I look at my dream - Ben and my kids and I am dancing with the stars!


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