When I was born I had a clicky hip. I spun round in the womb and tried to come out feet first. A caesarian section was necessary. Different from the very beginning, amazing I was born at all. Mum had five miscarriages before she had me.
I didn’t walk until I was two. In and out of hospital, confined to my legs being in a frog plaster to make my hip stable. I spent weeks lying on my back. It’s the position I feel happiest in even now. But during that time I was having my hips stretched outwards. It was called being ‘on traction’. Sometimes my legs were stretched so far apart that mum had to intervene because I cried and she couldn’t bear it.
I had a lot of x-rays. A nurse told mum to make sure my ovaries were always protected from the radiation and that I may never have children. It’s something I’m researching now because I would like to have a baby. I’m hopeful and positive and healthy and these days don’t take what one person says as the truth. I want to put all the best bits of myself, all the love and joy I feel into my child. Yet, while I wish for this, I also accept that if it goes a different way, I’ll be ok.
People waiting around on me became normal and I expected it. I had no independence. It was easier if they did everything. I got used to that. Even in my thinking, to a degree. This mindset has followed me through life. It took until age 17 for me to stay away from home for even a night and not cry and miss mum. It finally happened when I met a boy.
My parents invented a special high chair that hooked onto the end of a table and meant my legs could rest stretched out to each side. I was a happy baby who liked eating coal and cooing at pigeons.
I finally learnt to navigate gravity and understand my legs. I ran along the hall leaning against the wall as my mum called out letters of the alphabet that were stuck along it. I still love walls. Leaning against them, sometimes using them for support if my foot hurts, they are my friends but I’m learning not to rely on them too much. When I spent time in Australia I found out it was best not to lean on walls because redback spiders live between the bricks. Eeeek.