A Reason to Wake Up in the Morning: A Memoir of Motherhood

Photo by Juliette Baxter

I think that in their journey towards adulthood, everyone reaches one turning point that grounds them. At some point, we all realise that life is about more than the instant gratification we seek as we get older. Some of us reach that point a little later. I didn’t get there until I was 20 and I found out I was pregnant. I was entirely certain I didn’t want to keep it until I was rushed to hospital for what they were afraid was an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a baby forms outside of the uterus. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

In that moment, I heard my daughter’s heartbeat for the first time, and even though I was afraid to admit it until later, I knew then that I was going to be someone’s mother. It was the right decision for me, even though it was difficult and even though it isn’t the right decision for everyone. So, I made it work.

I reconciled with my parents, and the father and I decided that we’d try to make it work. At 20 weeks, we found out that our baby was a girl. My brother gave me a name. My daughter’s name is Liliath, which is derivative of ‘Lalaith’ (laughter, in some Tolkien Elvish dialect), because he thought any child of mine would always be smiling. He’s right for the most part. On the days that she isn’t being a typical toddler, she will smile and charm you and, most importantly, she will love you. She has the biggest heart of any person that I have ever met.

My grounding point was the moment I held her in my arms for the first time. I have never cried like that before or since. It was the moment of realisation that I now had a reason to get up in the mornings, get my shit together, and keep it together, because she needed me to.

For some people, their grounding point is the perfect job or a passion for dance or music. It’s really just that one thing that motivates you to strive and achieve. As hopeless as life can be, there is always the potential of a grounding point that can help you overcome almost anything.

I’m lucky that Liliath came when she did. I was on a downward spiral that seemed as if it were to inevitably end with the worst. With her to motivate me, I finally got a diagnosis for ADHD, and I figured out what I wanted from life. I’ve started taking steps towards my goals instead of just drifting aimlessly. I never want to let my daughter down, and that thought keeps me focused when it sometimes seems hopeless, exhausting, or overwhelming.

With Liliath to inspire me, I’ve started performing again, writing songs like never before and am finally in my final semester of university. I’ve been here for what feels like an eternity some days, but through her I’ve learned how to manage my time a little better. I’ve learned how to keep going, and I’ve learned how to love more completely.

Some days, it’s still hard. I travel from Yass for university,  I work 5 AM shifts, I get booked most weekends for performances, and I miss her every moment that I’m away from her. But I’ve learned along the way that love isn’t shown in the quantity of time spent with the people you love, but in the quality of time you spend with them. Liliath knows unquestioningly that I love her more than anything else in the world, and that absolute faith in me makes everything both easier and more important. Every moment I’m alive matters now in a way that it didn’t before, because she needs me and that keeps me from falling apart.

Some days I still do, but she’s there to remind me that she loves me, and that everything is okay. Not long ago, she walked into a room as I was huddled in bed, absolutely overwhelmed, and weeping. She came over and hugged me as hard as she could and told me that it was okay and that I was the best mummy. So I stopped crying, pulled myself together, and got going. I haven’t stopped since.