I am a midwife. I am a carer. I am a mum.
This morning I sat with my son who I love so much. It was another strained conversation where I struggle in my role as a mother to ‘fix’ him and his tortured mind/soul. He is unable to express what he needs as he is in so much pain, and I painstakingly try to find out. As a carer it is torturous to see the one you love in this amount of pain. Its even obvious in a physical sense – shoulders hunched, head down, very little eye contact. There is also the struggle of the carer to connect and somehow make a difference. There is this psychological maelstrom for the carer. Wanting to fix. Knowing you can’t. Am I the mother who cares too much because I won’t give up? Yet how can I not love my son and seek his very best? This is my child…the one I love, the baby I gave birth to, the child I nurtured. To lie awake worrying about his future. To face the new day not knowing how I will respond or cope.
Can I use the word dignity here? My answer is honestly no and yes. It is no as caring is so difficult and stressful. When we think of words like dignity and dignified they just don’t fit the every day reality. It can even seem way out to apply them. Yet there is something else here – like the ember burning in a fireplace. It is the presence of a love stronger than anything. It is the care – in the midst of all the pain and stress. It is the commitment to be there for another. Perhaps this is truest dignity.
Being a carer has made me grow, made me see, helped me navigate thoughts and emotions I never thought I’d experience. Being a carer to this beautifully courageous young man has and is an honor, I am in awe and his strength and his ability to fight his way through every day with very little relief. I thank him everyday in my subconscious for staying alive because I know he does it just for me. So being a carer brings the utmost pain however it also brings the utmost love. Perhaps caring and dignity do go together as it takes us to the deepest parts of our being and says to another ‘You matter – I care.