I am a Pilates teacher and I am a mother. But for most of my life I insisted I did not want children because I had a career that I loved and I was frightened of how my life and ( yes, selfishly) how my body would change during and after pregnancy.
Also, new-born babies make me nervous. The worst thing a new parent could do was hand me their precious bundle of joy. To all my family and friends I have avoided after your babies were born, please accept my apology.
A conversation with a dear friend who is also a doctor made me pause for thought. Realising that I wasn’t getting any younger, what if after all these years saying I didn’t want children, I couldn’t have children. Flash forward a number of years; years spent thinking that the latter may be true – then suddenly – “Mrs Tudor you are doubly blessed” – these were the words of the sonographer at my 9 week scan.
I’d love to tell you that what followed was a Disneyesque style tableau with me lying back smiling beatifically whilst bluebirds circled my head with ribbons and stars.
What actually followed was I let rip a string of four letters words. My husband had to sit very still for a long time, so long in fact that after I left the clinic, he was still sitting in shock.
The first two years were hell. There is no point lying or pretending and women who do so only make it harder for those of us who struggle. Our son was in intensive care until he was 6 weeks old and our world was turned upside down, one baby at home and one life threateningly ill in hospital. He was discharged from GOSH only for us to return there with my daughter at 16 months old. Again our lives were devastated with difficult diagnosis that we now live with and laugh with every day.
So, how did my work fit into this scenario? Brilliantly.
Teaching Pilates gives me the professional flexibility that allows me to work around my children and husband and still gives me a sense of who I am beyond the definition of mother or wife. At the same time my family are my home and always truly where my heart is.
As I reflect on the last few years, the most wonderful and successful years of my teaching career to date, I am struck by the realisation that my achievements have happened SINCE I’ve had children.
My trepidation that a family would hold me back or that children would put my career on hold now feels like wasted energy. Looking back I see what I have achieved and what my children have enabled me to achieve. Children do not ground you, they inspire you; they give you the power to fly.
I am a mother and I am a Pilates teacher.