We do not own our children

They were born in a private Athens clinic in Greece when, at 39 and pregnant, I moved from NYC .There, doctors referred to them as ‘Twin A’ and ‘ Twin B’ on prenatal scans. I soon adopted Alpha and Beta as my unborn babies’ names. August 1st was extremely early for their delivery, but they wouldn’t wait ! Beta, my bright orange- haired daughter, perfectly formed, died as my husband and I dropped tears onto her incubator and spoke of the great love we had for her. A short life; 48 hours only. Alpha, my son, was transferred across to Pedon Childrens’ Hospital where he lived bravely for more than ten weeks. Dark orange-haired, he endured many trials and tribulations there in his efforts to survive. The beauty my children brought to me filled my heart to abundance; their passing broke it with deliberate steady blows. Time healed, as is its wont. I felt gratitude at having had those  souls in my life, if even for a moment. They had chosen me as their mother. Three years later, I went on to have another son, and another daughter three years after that. My firstborns instilled in me an acute awareness that we do not own our children, something I’d often pondered on. This has been so helpful in raising my beloved Patrick and Fiona. I’ve tried to give them space to be themselves; not molded models of me. Protective maternal instincts sometimes clouded this vision but I fought it as best I knew how. It is indeed true, that seeing my offspring as persons in their own right whom I have the privilege to know, makes them prosper and confident. Our love runs deep and enriches our lives in every way. It’s been my honour to mother all four beings.

About the author

Deirdre Anne Gialamas has lived outside her native Ireland for decades including UK, France, US and Greece where she is currently based. She has worked in health care prior to raising her family and later took up ESL teaching. A people watcher interested in human behaviour, she is intrigued by the universality and commonality of most creature’s basic needs and desires. Colour and words play a large role in her life; she can sometimes be found on her balcony painting pots and trellis blues and greens while Athens slumbers. Words are her music and she wishes she could write like those who can, but . . . ‘ it ain’t over till the fat lady sings!’

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