Last year Marie and Dan became the proud parents of Mark, via a surrogate. Every parent wishes their child wouldn’t grow up so fast, but for Marie and Dan it brings greater challenges. At three foot six and with brittle bone disease, Marie must adapt quickly as Mark is likely to tower over her before his first birthday.
Mark is almost six months old and he is getting bigger every day. It is so exciting to see him growing and all the things he can do now, but it also means I can’t support him on my own as much as I did before. I mean, he weighs over a stone now and I only weigh three stone nine myself!
In the first three months or so after his birth, I could pick him up by myself and give him a cuddle. Whilst I can still sit him up, wind him and dress and change him I can’t physically lift him anymore. This is where team work comes in and he is actually learning to help mummy move him already, smart little guy!
He is going to tower over me in only another three or four months. It was inevitable, but I am surprised how quickly it has happened. It’s been hard because I want to be as close to him as possible and when he’s upset (he’s teething at the moment), he wants his mummy to pick him up to comfort him.
But we are already finding ways to adapt. My Personal Assistant (PA) or Dan will put a big ‘V’ shaped bolster cushion around me so that I can support Mark while I’m comforting him or feeding him. They will also help to lift him when I am changing his clothes or giving him a bath.
I can still manage to feed him and change his nappy. He does kick me in the ribs sometimes though, which we have to look out for because of my condition. I have had a slight rib fracture since he was born. Although I don’t know for certain that was Mark, so I won’t blame him!
Nonetheless it is going to be a challenge, as he gets bigger and he starts kicking and falling about even more. But that is something we will just have to deal with and hope that, as he gets older, he will understand that there are things you can do with Daddy, but you can’t do too near mummy.
I do feel frustrated sometimes, like when Mark is in pain with his teeth he likes to be walked around and that’s something I just can’t do. I can’t get up on my own two feet, let alone hold him and walk around. But there will always be things that I won’t be able to do, so I just have to focus on the things that I can do.
I don’t think people realised I would be able to do as much as I am. Even Dan’s dad said “What are you going to do if he hurts you?” Well, if he hurts me, it’s just something that’s going to happen. I could go to the toilet and break my arm. I can’t stop helping Mark just because he might hurt me. You just get on with it and deal with it if it does happen, like any other mum.
I don’t feel different from other mums, and I have been accepted wonderfully at the local children’s centre where I take Mark for baby massage. All I need is a strong pair of arms, so if I drop Mark’s nappy bag, Dan or my PA will pick it up, or if I need to move Mark, they’ll lift him for me. I change Mark and feed him and sooth him and know when he needs to be burped. Dan’s mum said that I was a natural mum, which was quite nice.
I just want to be the best mum I can be for Mark because it does go too quick. It feels like only yesterday that he was born and soon he will be bigger than I am. I am treasuring every moment and just doing what I can to be the best mum I can, and it feels like I am doing a great job.