Four years ago, I was heading towards my first ever mothers day. Except, I wasn’t at home, I wasn’t with my family. I wasn’t excited. I was in hospital. Alone, in isolation, fighting off a bug that I’d picked up in ICU while recovering from my colostomy reversal surgery.
It feels like such a long time ago. It feels like something that happened to someone else. So much back then felt like a dream. Except it wasn’t. It was my reality. I was 33 years old. The mother of an 8 month old baby and fighting desperately for the nightmare to end.
I think the hardest part of it all was that it all came as such a shock. I had an uncomfortable pregnancy after being told I was not able to even have children but there were no complications. The baby was fine. I was mostly fine. Then everything went to shit and I was in ICU fighting for my life and so my journey began as an ostomate. I woke up from that emergency procedure with a colostomy bag. I didn’t even know what it fucking was to be honest. I tried so hard to be positive. I was so thankful to be alive, I almost wasn’t. It had been so close to the end of my life that every second was a gift and living with a colostomy was just the price I had to pay, for a while.
9 months later, I was ready for colostomy reversal surgery. My body had healed. I had recovered from all the surgeries I’d had in between. I was healthy. I was strong. I was terrified. For a moment, I considered keeping the bag. After all, it was the only reason I was alive. But my Doctor reassured me. He had done these surgeries before and although they were expecting mine to be more complicated because of the adhesions and endometriosis, they knew what they were doing.
My colostomy reversal surgery
I cried going into that surgery. I cried. I was so scarred by all the trauma I’d been through. I knew what it was like to have to relearn moving your legs after surgery that destroys your core. I knew what it was like to wake up from a coma. I knew what it was like to be thankful for not dying. I didn’t want to risk it all and leave a baby behind. A baby who wouldn’t know his mother. Me. I knew what the price was. But I took the chance anyway. I decided to have the cosolotomy reversal surgery.
And it turned out okay. Recovery was slow. Though not as slow as they expected. One thing I learned about myself through my year in and out of surgeries was that I am resilient and I am a fighter. I refused to just take it and I fought through every setback. I was not going to be weak in this moment. Fuck that.
And against all odds, I was okay. I got through the hardest year of my life.
Every single year, on Mother’s day. I remember the time in my life, when I was a brand new mother and celebrating motherhood for me meant choosing life. Spending ten days in a hospital recovering from the last hurdle in this battle, my colostomy reversal surgery.
Mothers Day every single year is a significant milestone of the journey that I went through to become a mother. The struggle having my miracle child. The battle to live to raise him and the hard choices I had to make.
I am thankful every single day of my life for being here. For being able to mother. For the life that I have and the child that I raise.
Happy 4 year reversal anniversary to me, or as my mother put it, happy LIFE anniversary to me.
Underwent through the process of reversal this year Feb, after how long should I expect a child?
Please speak with your doctor.
Thank you so much for this post. I felt such a kinship in seeing your battle scars–I have the same. My reversal was done last year… today I discovered that I am pregnant with my first. I know our sequence of events was not the same, but I hope that the outcome (living well post-reversal as the best parents we can be) is the same: wonderful every day we rose from such a difficult time . Thank you, even if this comment comes late.
Hi Scarlett, thank you so much for your comment. I don’t want to say I’m glad you can relate but I’m glad that my story makes you feel less alone. It’s such a tough journey becoming a mother and no matter what the sequence, any complications makes it worse and harder. I’m glad you were able to have a reveral, a small start to the feeling like your life will be normal again. I’m sure your child is going to grow up thankful for the survivor they were born to. Thank you for sharing your experience. xxx
I was also you. I had the same thing happen to me 2 years ago. I want another child so much but I am terrified to take this step. I have to ask, did you ever do back to have another child? Love to you for all you have been through. I feel your pain xx
Hi Adelle, I was told I can’t have children but when I moved to New Zealand, my Doctor here said they could support me to have another child if I wanted to. in the end, we decided it wasn’t worth it and chose not to but find a Doctor who will listen to you. I’m sorry you went through this xxx
Ingrid Roderick says
Darling dearest Joni, what a journey you undertook to get where you are now! I remember we were in Namakwaland when Mieke phoned such an unhappy time. You are indeed one big soul and is it not amazing how such things become badges of honour, medals instead of drawbacks in ones life. So much love to you all so far away.
Thank you Ingrid, you are always so amazing and these words are so kind.
It was an absolutely awful time but I am thankful that I went through that, if it meant getting to where I am now. I am lucky beyond measure for the life I live. You’re so right, badges of honour. Sending you all the love. I miss you and John so much! xx
Lorraine Borah says
You are indeed a strong woman. Nothing motivates us faster than our children to overcome every health hurdle thrown at us. May you continue to grow stronger, as your son grows older.
Thank you so much Lorraine. You’re right, nothing in my life that pushes me harder than knowing my son needs me!