Sometimes, when I am looking through the lens I feel for a moment an odd disconnection to my family. It’s nice to be able to step back and watch them through the eyes of someone else. When I see Errol holding his son’s hand and carefully explaining to Priya why she can’t climb the shelves, I smile to know that they are mine.
Today was Priya’s first ballet class. The class is ages 2-4 but as soon as we walked in I realised Peach was, by far, the youngest one. Perhaps it was the fact that the other children could actually understand the instruction “Now go line up tallest to shortest” or the fact they were all a good head taller than her. Though my Peach has been turning into a little girl faster than I’d hoped, in amongst these girls, she was suddenly my baby again.
The teacher had told me that she only took the children from 2 if they were able to take part in the class. I was thinking this would be our first and only lesson though as Peach spent most of the time hiding behind my chair with her fingers stuffed in her mouth; she was very nervous and a little overwhelmed. I asked her if she wanted to go home and she said no. I asked if she wanted to join the other girls and she said no. She wanted to stand and absorb everything from a safe distance. With help from the teacher coming and taking her hand and being allowed to watch most of a class, Peach was ready to join in at the end. I asked if I should bring her next week or wait a few more months till she was a little older and the teacher said that believe it or not, Peach had been pretty good. At 2, not wetting your pants and curling in a ball on the floor is apparently all you need. I felt nervous about being the new mum and pulling out my camera mid lesson so I waited till the class was over to catch P running around the studio. She’s wearing her Billi Jade bathing suit (that she peed on and got to keep while modelling) as we didn’t own a leotard.
I know that when I am old and grey (and full of sleep!) I shall long for the afternoons like this. The warm winter days and little naked bodies. The soft curves and movements. His gentle chatter, forming little coos and ahhs. I breathe in as deep as I can to try and lock away his smell and the way everything feels so that on those days when I need it most I can find myself here; here with my babies where time can not touch us.
Late last night we heard news that the Birth Centre on the Gold Coast had been shut down. I couldn’t believe it! What a step backwards for the choice of birthing women. Even though this was not the Birth Centre where we had Theo, I was really upset at this news. My heart went out to the women who were due to give birth there at this time and couldn’t imagine how upset I would have been being told I couldn’t deliver in the birth centre the day I was due! I was angry that a decision like that could be made without warning and without a formal process. I was angry that women’s right to choice is being taken away at an alarming rate in this country. I was angry that Midwifery care was being questioned as unsafe when the outcomes for Birth Centre mothers are so much better than birthing women down the hall!
So I packed these kiddos in the car and headed to the Gold Coast to take part in a rally to save the Gold Coast Birth Centre. I am so afraid that if more people don’t fight for our rights Priya isn’t going to have a choice in where she has her children (if she so chooses to have children!).
*The Birth Centre was reopened the very next day! Angry mobs really do work :)
Theo wearing his FBC shirt in support of the midwives at the Gold Coast Birth Centre. The last rally we went to (a homebirth rally) Theo was still in my tummy, so I will count this as his first. I like to think it will be his last and that we won’t have to keep fight for our rights but something tells me it will be a long time before we can stop lobbying for maternity choices.