I’m still here…

Dear baby Beau

I have been meaning to write to you every day, for a month now. But, somehow, I never seem to get passed just making the notes.

I know how. It’s because my life, for this short-lived time (far too short, I’m already realising), is all about you.

You. All 8 months of smiles and laughter and tears and love. Consuming me; leaving me breathless; showing me new ways; reminding me of old ones.

So as soon as I have the chance to think a complete sentence, I will write to you again and tell you all about this current time – a time where you are no longer a little baby, but not yet a little boy. And I will tell you about all of the things you are teaching me, all of the things we share, and I will write out all of those words that you have filled me with.

Until then – I will be busy loving you, letting the words of others inspire me, connecting me to the rest of the world. Which is still out there.

JJ Heller summed it all up, when she sang when I’m with you.

“…I could never count all the ways that you change me, baby…

…everyday the sky is a deeper shade of blue, when I’m with you.”

I love you so much that I’m sure sometimes my kisses might hurt you.

But you let me. And you look at me in a way that reminds me – I’m still here.

Mumma. Xxx

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A whole lotta love

Dear baby

Lots of things have been happening in the world this week, lots of things that stir the emotions of a new mother.

On the one hand there have been wonderful things happening – like the birth of a new Royal baby, a daughter for Prince William and Kate. This sort of thing makes my heart swell, with all the joy and love found in this world. But on the other hand, some not so wonderful things have been happening too – like the long overdue court trial of a local woman who was viciously killed. This sort of thing makes my heart ache, with all the injustice and horror that can happen in this world too. On the one hand I want to celebrate life and on the other hand I want to hide from it. Or, more to the point – hide you from it.

I love you more and more and more with each passing day. It’s a painful kind of love – one that runs deeply through me, leaving my heart tight and my eyes sting. I watch you, innocent, pure, unconditional… and when I hear of bad things happening in the world, it frightens me – for your sake. I wonder at what I could do to protect you more; I wonder what kind of world I have brought you into; I wonder when it will be, or what it will be, that shows you that life isn’t always beautiful or kind or fair; I wonder what I would do if anything happened to you… the thoughts and feelings I have sometimes terrify me. It’s because you mean so much.

That someone could mean so much to me certainly makes me feel overwhelmed with happiness – < I want to highlight that right now – but it also makes me feel so incredibly vulnerable. You are like my own heart beating, outside of my body. My love wants to consume you. Yet my job is to raise you in order to leave me. I am supposed to teach you to believe there is good in the world. Yet I must warn you never to trust strangers. I sure hope parenting gets easier! But I have a feeling it won’t – the best things are never easy.

However, whilst my instincts and every ounce of my being tells me to do so, I won’t ever hide you from the world baby. I want you to see it in all of its colours, and in every light – good or bad. And I will be right here beside you, behind you, always there whenever you need guidance, support, encouragement, or simply reminding of how loved you are. But it will be your job to make sense of it all – and, hopefully, to believe there is good in the world. To be the good.

It was truly wonderful news to hear of Wills and Kate’s little princess being born – I struggle to think of anything greater than a new baby. Some are born into better circumstances than others, that’s for sure. And I don’t mean in the royalty vs. commoner kind of circumstance. I mean that some babies are born into love and safety. Some sadly are not (which in itself is a troubling fact of life, and unfortunately one I have no idea how to solve other than loving you…). But what I want to say is this: every single person to be born is special and important, no more or less so than any other. Whether you are born to the future King of England, a farmer, a Scientist, an artist, a shop-keeper… everyone has their role to play in this world and deserves as much love and grace as any other. It’s up to each of us to make the most of our circumstances. What matters most is not how or where we are born – but the kind of person we become. You should live to be kind, compassionate, respectful, and loving… in whatever it is that you do.

And you can do anything.

I also hope you develop an appreciation of nature, of individual differences, of music, mystery, excitement… and beauty. There really is so much, all around us, to be thankful for. To rejoice in.

Your life is what you make of it. And in the time you have, baby, may it be full of feelings. May you look after yourself, and those around you, and be all the good you want to see in this world. And that’s pretty much the best you can do.

There’s a whole lotta love out there, baby – and a whole lot of it is just for you.

Mumma.
Xxx

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A sweet six months

Dear Beau

This coming week you turn 7 months old. Which means it has taken me a while to sit down and write to you about turning 6 months! I guess life has already started to get in the way. Our sweet, wonderful life together.

To celebrate the fact that you had reached your half birthday, to celebrate you, we went on our first family holiday. A little getaway to the beautiful Kuaotunu beach on the Coromandel peninsula. 5 days of relaxed time together, without clocks and phones, or anywhere else to be. We had lots of leisurely meals, play-time, fun in the sun, in the garden, and twice daily walks along the beach listening to the ocean waves. We read books and rolled balls. We felt the grass under our feet and sand slip softly through our fingertips. We watched birds. We met ducks. And we enjoyed delicious wood-fired pizzas at the local kitchen; you couldn’t get enough of my coconut water. You slept in our bed (well, kind of slept) and we all watched the sunrise together over the distant mountains. At the end of each lovely day we put your bath on the dining room table, so you could splash and bathe and watch the sun set like a golden promise.

We have been a family for 6 sweet months, baby – and on this holiday, we realised how special that is. What a joy it continues to be, watching you grow and learn and discover. There is no ‘before Beau’ now. There is only you.

And what a rambunctious little boy you are! And what a honey. You are opening up to us daily – and you continue to approach life with calm observation, a focused seriousness, and a cheeky sense of humour. You have such personality. You love nothing more than being kissed and tickled all over. You can sit on your own, and can almost crawl, but you just want to be on your feet already. I always notice you looking up to the sky and you love being outdoors, but you also love snuggling on my knee and devouring books (literally – you try to eat everything). You sit proud as punch in your high chair at the centre of our family meals, enjoying food as much as we do – we cannot wait to travel with you and let you enjoy cuisine from wherever we go. Your daddy enjoyed fresh oysters on our holiday… your beady eyes were already checking them out. You are so attentive and inquisitive.

My favourite thing about you, though – is your eyes. The window to your thoughts and feelings. Glassy blue and full of wonder and intrigue. I can see how you love me in them. I can see your anticipation, your excitement, and I can see when you experience something new that delights you. I see them surprised and uncertain and looking to me for reassurance. I see their innocence and trust, their forgiveness and unconditional love. I see them filled with a warm glow when you play with your daddy, and light up inside when I come into the room. They tell me about your day, and your dreams. They tell me about beauty. They tell me everything is ok and good.

Sometimes, I look at your eyes as you look at the world. I am so close to you, and I can see the reflection of the treetops, the outline of buildings, the shape of my own face as you turn towards me. And I wonder…

So often I say to you, “I see you, baby!” But what do you see?

My letters to you so far have been written for my sake. Sharing the journey through my pregnancy and your arrival, how it feels to be your mother, and how you have changed our lives, made us a family. These letters will be wonderful for me to reflect on in the coming years – to be reminded of how much we have grown together. Perhaps someday I get the call, the visit, in which you tell me ‘Mumma, I am going to be a daddy’ – perhaps that is when I will share all of these letters with you. But in many ways, they are still for my sake. For me to know I have captured everything I possibly can about your beginnings, and the love you were born from, so that you will know me. So that you won’t forget about your Mumma and her love for you once you no longer need her.

I heard your daddy saying to you the other day “I hope you appreciate how much your mummy does for you… not that I expect you to thank her, you shouldn’t have to, it’s me who will thank her… I just hope you know it.”

It was so beautiful baby, you smiled a gummy smile showing him your two bottom teeth.

And that’s just it – the irony of motherhood – the better the job I do, the more readily you will leave me someday. In no way am I trying to be maudlin about this – I will rejoice in every stage of my life – but I am simply being honest with myself, that you are only going to be my baby for a short time. Or, more to the point, I will only be at the centre of your Universe, that outline in your glassy eyes, for a brief moment – before you grow up and leave me and a hole in the centre of mine. A huge space in my heart – that will always belong to you. Forever impressioned with your colours.

This last 6 months have flown by in a whirlwind of magic and madness, baby. I am slowing myself down, more so every day, and could burst with love and anticipation for you.

I wonder what the next 6 months will have in store?

I am waiting for you to show me.

Mumma. Xx

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Twinkle, twinkle, little star…

Dear baby Beau

You continue to teach me so much!

Like most people, I tend to learn the most when being challenged… and the last few weeks have been challenging, for sure. This has been a combination of your teething, catching bronchiolitis, and the onset of separation anxiety. That said, you continue to be a lively, happy little boy, taking everything in your stride – it’s just the combination of those three things meant your demands on me have been higher than ever. You are needing to nurse almost hourly, and must be in my arms the rest of the time. It’s me who has found this time challenging – it’s been exhausting, back-breaking, and a test of my patience. I know I am supposed to rest when you do – but when you have finally drifted off to sleep (a struggle at the moment as you have been so unwell), my head throbs and my body aches so much that laying still has been overwhelming.

On the one hand – it has been amazing knowing how attached you are to me; I see how much comfort I provide you with and, without a doubt, you know I’m yours and you absolutely adore me. I see it, and I feel it. It warms my heart whenever you reach for me and nestle your face into the crook of my neck. You also like to rest your hand gently on my cheek when you nurse. My baby. The bond between us is so strong… sometimes I have paranoid thoughts about someone coming into the house and pinching you, so I always keep you in my sight and check on you often when you sleep. These thoughts scared me at first – I would role-play in my head all of the various ways I could physically protect you, if I had to. I thought I was losing the plot. But then I realised what was truly scaring me was the depth of my love for you. So now I’m ok with it. I might be obsessively protective, but you’re my baby.

On the other hand, sometimes I yearn so badly for a break that I feel I am betraying you. I yearn to connect with the outside world again, which I pushed away somewhere in my mid-pregnancy and have kept away during these early months of protecting and nurturing you. Other times I want nothing more than just to connect with me. To remember the girl who fell in love with the theatre, and then travel, and then your daddy… I love my special days with you more than anything, baby (and I know that you know that), but sometimes the enormity of being someone’s mother is too much. Having you makes me feel complete, but it also makes me feel broken into a million pieces. Some days I just want the chance to gather all those little pieces up and make sense of them. But I imagine that will be like trying to read all the stars in the sky at once! Impossible. Crazy. And beautiful.

But whilst I am here with you each day, baby, I admit that sometimes my mind is elsewhere. It wanders off to what was… or what might be… and I often find myself trying to catch up with my racing mind. One day I was feeding you, lost in my thoughts, when I caught you staring up at me. I had no idea how long you’d been staring, that it made tears prick my eyes. ‘Hello, you,’ I said, ‘I’m here.’ And I smiled at you until you believed me, and then you happily carried on feeding… leaving me to watch you.

You teach me what matters, baby. And you continuously bring me back to it.

So anyway, there I was the other day – there we were – me holding you in your nursery, while you cried your heart out with sickness and exhaustion. You needed to sleep more than anything, but you had been fighting it for nearly an hour (intermittently dozing off, before waking to cry and scream and kick and claw at me some more). I was really starting to reach the end of my patience and was about to put you down in your cot to give us both some space… but instead I started to sing. To you… or to me… I guess to distract both of us. No one else was listening but you, and you were making such a racket anyway, so I let my guard down and really belted out some show tunes like some kind of grand finale. And slowly, but surely, you started to settle. Your cries slowly turning into lion cub mewls. And the more you settled the softer my singing became. Until, eventually, you had stopped crying altogether and just stared up at me. I relaxed and closed my eyes, still singing (‘As long as he needs me,’ from Oliver, at this point), and every now and then I would open my eyes and peek at you… watching your eyelids flicker and your mouth pucker… until, at last, sometime much later, I realised you were soundly asleep. I had relaxed with you, connected, and you had finally let go into my arms.

I held you for a couple of hours whilst you slept, staring at your dreaming eyes, and I carried on singing.

When you were first born, and through those early months – I had felt as though my whole life was contained in this one room, with the rest of the world going on outside without us. Whilst I didn’t want to be anywhere else, or to let anyone else in, some days the isolation was very lonely. But lately something has shifted; now I feel as though the entire world is inside with us. Our world. We live, and we breathe, in this small room at the centre of the universe, together. And I’m no longer feeling lost, or disconnected from myself. I’m still me, just as I have always been. But I am a new me. With new priorities and a new awareness. The rest of the world can carry on without me for a while longer. This time with you, this time out from the ‘human race’ – is where I have found myself truly living.

You are teaching me to let go, baby. To slow down, to breath deeper, and to simplify. You are teaching me to do less, and be more. It’s a daily practice that’s for sure, and I am evolving.

You know, your daddy and I watched a movie recently. It was called Boyhood and, filmed over 12 years, it told the story of a young boy growing up into a young man. It got me thinking of you, naturally – as everything does! – but it really got me thinking about your life, less from my perspective and more from yours. Your life will be a series of stages, baby, and this stage you have with me at the moment is just one of them. And the truth is, you won’t really know anything about these days with me (one of the main reasons why I am writing you letters); you won’t know the first time you saw a bird fly, or the first time you tasted food, or the first time you recognised a song – these will be parts of you that belong to me – but I truly hope you grow feeling them, even if you don’t quite remember.

Our time together is going to be far shorter than I care to think of at this point in time – but all any of us have in life is: right now. And (as the boy in the movie says), “it’s ALWAYS right now.” So I will do everything to keep myself in/bringing myself back to the present moment with you. Because it’s all we have. Every single moment counts and must be enjoyed. In the movie, the boy’s mother spoke to him on the day he was moving out of home to go to college. She said it was the worst day of her life. That she thought it would all have been more than this. I’m not going to feel that, baby, I know it. When the time comes that you are ready to leave me, I believe I will feel nothing but happiness for you, knowing that this has been everything. And it will continue to be everything. Just as it is.

To make sure I enjoy my time with you to the fullest, I have started taking regular time out each week. Time just for me; I’m taking the best care of myself, so I can take the best care of you. I go to a yoga class; I go to the spa; I write. And I make sure to go for a walk every single day (although this is usually with you too – we go to the beach and look at the birds flying over the ocean). There is no one happier about this than your daddy – who has always insisted I take this time. And the more time I have been taking for myself, the more time I seem to have with you – because when my own soul is nurtured, it creates even more space for yours. I can be with you fully, give you more energy, more of me.

And so, we continue to grow together – I teach you things, and you show me meaning – and the days are rolling happily into each other. These wonderful days of our lives.

I still sing to you baby, and I can’t help but smile at the words of one of your favourite nursery rhymes:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star…
HOW I WONDER, what you are.

Dream big, my little one.

(I have a feeling you already are…)

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Mumma.
Xxx

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We are family

Dear baby Beau

I know it’s somewhat of a cliché, but I literally love you more and more every single day.

This morning you were sat in your high-chair in the kitchen, watching daddy make me banana-egg pancakes, whilst I had a sleep in. Our Sunday morning ritual. When I walked into the room, I stopped for a moment and stared at you. You were playing with your plastic cups and watching daddy. “Hello, baby!” I said. And you dropped the cup you were holding and turned to where my voice came from, and you smiled at me in such a way that I felt my knees go weak. You seem to have a special smile that’s reserved just for me. Your cheeks lift, your eyes become crescent moon shapes, and your little tongue pokes out slightly. I couldn’t help thinking that what’s potentially greater than feeling my love for you, is seeing your love for me. And then I scooped you up into my arms, and you lay your head on my shoulder for a few seconds. This is the way you hug me. And these beautiful fragments of time is what makes my whole life up.

Last night, baby, your daddy and I had our second date. How quickly the last month has gone! You are quite poorly at the moment, with a chesty cold, so I was not the happiest about leaving you – but Granny came and you settled onto her lap reading books, so I was able to forget everything and be taken out by your handsome daddy. We went to a gorgeous restaurant for 3 yummy courses and champagne cocktails. I put on some make-up, and perfume, and wore a nice dress and high heels – and your daddy smiled at me in his own special way.

We talked about life and love, and planned our overseas trip with you for later in the year, and I realised something for the first time: I no longer talk about you as my baby, I talk about you as Beau. Your little personality is already filling our household and you become more interactive with us with each passing week. Of course you don’t talk yet, but you communicate with us and we have really begun to understand your ways and what it is that you enjoy. It was a lovely realisation. And an exciting one as we spoke of future plans with you, and the places we’ll go together. For the first time I saw us as much more than new parents, and a new baby – I saw us as family.

Baby, this is a gift I bought your daddy on my first day of maternity leave. It’s a wall hanging of our family values. The values we choose to live by, together. And the values we will keep in mind as we raise you.

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Sometimes, baby, when we have had very little sleep, and it’s 30 degrees, and your daddy has had to work all day building houses and managing projects, and you’re poorly and upset, and I’m hot and sticky and aching in every muscle from holding and nursing you all night and day long… these are the days when our values have the most meaning. Not the days when we have had a sleep-in after date-night, and find ourselves with the time to sit down for breakfast together – but the days when the going gets tough, the days that feel long and arduous…

By having our values visible on the wall, it helps to keep it all in perspective. It acts as a reminder that we are blessed to share this life together. We live together, we grow together, and we celebrate and support one another always. We take care of and value one another, always focusing on the good… even when we get on each others nerves!

Being family might mean a mumma and a daddy and their children, which might be one, or two, or six or more children; or it might mean just a man and a woman, a husband and wife; or two men together; or two women; or just one mumma and her child(ren); or just one daddy and his child(ren); or some families have two mummas and two daddys; and then there are grandparents; brothers; sisters; aunties and uncles and cousins; and, sometimes, family is made up of fabulous friendships.

Being family, baby, means that you belong somewhere.

For you – we are yours. And you are ours.

Always,

Your Mumma. Xxx

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A love like ours

Dear baby Beau

Recently, your daddy and I acknowledged 3 years of love. And, we also went on our first date! That’s right. Our first.

We kinda did things the other way around to most people. To summarise (as I’m sure you won’t ever want the romantical details) we met and acknowledged a keen interest in one another, and then we went our separate ways… me to my native UK, and my home in London, whilst your daddy stayed put here in Auckland. We got to know each other via daily emails and phone calls and for 7 months we only saw each other’s face via skype video. We fell in love from opposite sides of the world, but neither of us said so. I lived my life whilst he was dreaming, and he thought about me all day whilst I slept. But we lived in a bubble, together.

Then, after all that time of your daddy telling me each day how much he adored me and missed me, I asked him what we were going to do about it. And he said, simply: “…when you’re ready, I’ll buy you a ticket to come home.” And I was ready. So, after a couple of months of agony (why I didn’t immediately get on a plane, I will never know…), I stepped into Auckland airport, fell into your daddy’s arms, and he took me home. Our home. I never left. Nor did I ever intend to.

So, on day one of our relationship, we moved in. And then we had an awesome summer, together at last – after a failed attempt many years ago (timing in life is everything, baby), and then the 9 months we had been apart since we had serendipitously met again. Then, exactly 5 months after I came to him – whilst I was in the midst of two new jobs, co-producing my first poetry event, and head deep into an Artist’s programme – he surprised me with a proposal. A fabulously romantic proposal, which he had secretly been planning for months and involved my kidnapping one seemingly uneventful Tuesday afternoon… to which I of course answered, YES! I was to become his wife, and we were over-the-moon.

We remained there, somewhere in the stratosphere, for 6 joyful months of wedding planning. It was the greatest time of my life… that is, until we actually were married. Then that was the greatest time of my life… that is, until 6 weeks later… when we unknowingly made you.

We had always talked about having babies together – it was a given. A matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ – the time was always right. But even at that, you came along at such a tremendous speed. You blew us away, baby! My pregnancy was the greatest time of my life… that is, until we met you. And the rest is history.

And that’s just it, baby… our long distance romance, our whirlwind coupling, and you… meant that we’ve never actually been on a proper date. So here we go! Your mumma and daddy, baby, are DATING! And we never want to stop.

I want you to grow up seeing how much your mumma and daddy ADORE one another, and to understand how it is that you came to be here. I want you to feel happy when you see the way we look at each other; to enjoy seeing us holding hands when we go out, or to join us when we snuggle in on the couch. I want to hear you giggle when your daddy sweeps up your mumma to kiss her when she’s trying to cook tea, and then to tell your mumma how beautiful she looks when she shows you the dress she is wearing after your daddy tells her to ‘get changed quick’ because he is taking her out. I want you to see us be there for each other, with kindness and tenderness, for every bump in the road that life leads us through. And, most of all, I want you to grow up in this world knowing that true love is worth everything.

You see, baby – your daddy and I didn’t ‘fall’ in love. We walked firmly into it. With open eyes and open hearts, and we made a conscious decision. We want each other. We choose each other. And we commit to each other, for the rest of our lives.

I hope someday you find this baby. It might not be the first time you experience it. It might not be when you want it the most. It will likely be when you least expect it. But whenever it is – you will know. And you will remember this letter to you and you will realise when you have it…

A love like ours.

A love like ours

Until then, you can feel with us.

Your Mumma.

Xxx

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One year of you

Dear baby Beau

Today is an indescribable day. Today, exactly one year ago, is the day I first discovered you. How life has changed. How I have changed.

This time last year I had just peed on a stick, and was left surprised at how soon you came after I married your daddy. My plans for the year – of a big trip back to the UK, an extended honeymoon in Italy, completing some more studies, and developing my business – went completely out the window, in a second. Not to mention my plans to simply relish those early days of sweet wedded bliss. “Let the champagne keep on coming,” I thought! But instead, your daddy and I were immediately thrust into a world of ultrasounds, dopplers, and ante-natal books. But baby, we couldn’t have been happier.

I so loved being pregnant, making it my sole focus – and I remember those early days, eagerly awaiting my bump to show. You. Oh how I loved having you grow inside of me… my body changing, my senses developing, and the first time I felt you move. It was all so magical. An amazing time in my life I will never forget – and I am so pleased I started writing these letters to you, so I can relive those memories whenever I choose.

I think back to the year before we discovered you – my heart, body, and soul all nourished – getting married to a man who made me feel so special, going to the gym everyday, and writing lots of poetry; it was the happiest, most settled year of my life. I couldn’t imagine life getting better – but then you appeared. And being pregnant with you last year was even more wonderful. I kept feeling, over and over again, that I had won some kind of lottery. Having found my heart in your daddy, and my soul in you – I felt like the most blessed person in the world, having not one but two loves.

And now that I have met you, baby, I know that life will forever be better. Because, whatever comes, my life now has you in it. From that first moment you whooshed up my stick – you’ve amazed me, captivated me, had me.

here you are

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And you are really something. You are 4.5 months new and so full of love and curiosity. I can see you slowly emerging from your chrysalis, more so every day, and I know it’s only just beginning. We have slowly started to move from the day-to-day and look at the big picture again, too – planning our first family holiday, taking you to swimming lessons and talking about how your daddy will someday teach you to water-ski and windsurf, and laughing at the way you scrunch your nose when you smile and raise your eyebrows like I do. I so love seeing the resemblances, but, most of all, I love seeing your recognitions.

Your face lights up every time you see me. You know I’m your Mumma! It brings me so much joy, and you smile at me, pointing out your little tongue with happiness. I kiss you all over your cheeks and neck and on your button nose and I nibble your little ears – and you just let me. For the first time, this week, you put your arm up and reached for me. It was the most indescribable feeling. Just like today, one year ago, when I became a mother.

Baby, you have humbled me, grounded me, softened me – you have made me. I hope to continue learning from you, as we grow together. And I will write to you as often as I can, until life gets in the way.

Here’s to you, Beau Xavier. Completely perfect, just as you are.

Mumma.

Xxx

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The 4th trimester

Dear baby Beau

It is the end of our 4th trimester, and the start of a new year. Which means it is 2015 and you are now 3 months old – no longer a newborn. We survived! And you have taken over my whole world.

I feel a sense of bittersweetness for this phase ending. On the one hand, you are doing excellently; you are developing, and thriving, and you’re no longer so small and so (seemingly) fragile; your daddy and I are gaining our parenting confidence, and learning so much about ourselves along the way; and we have growing plans for the future with you. But, on the other hand, our time as ‘one’ is definitely over; you are now an infant in your own right. And BOY! What a head-strong little boy you are! Sometimes I watch you, when you are playing with daddy, or smiling and cooing at strangers, or in the arms of a doctor, or a swimming instructor, or a familiar family member… and I see you separate from me. My heart bursts with pride. And then I immediately want to take you back and keep you all to myself.

There are also times I need to get away. At least once a day I give you to your daddy, so I can leave the house for a walk, or a cup of tea in the garden, or time writing in my office, or a long soak in the bath… and at least once a week I need to go further than that – for a drive, with loud music, towards anything but you. I have to put my feet in the ocean, and feel the wind on my face, and the sun melting my aching bones. I need to wander mindlessly around shops, or sit watching people in cafes, or visit the beautician and have a body treatment that starkly reminds me you are no longer within. Other times I simply want to be somewhere where no one can see me. And even though I know these small breaks are good for me, and also for you and your daddy, I always feel so terribly guilty. As if I have abandoned you, even for a small time. And that I am a terrible mother for wanting time out. I’m just not yet at a point where I am comfortable being apart from you, baby, even when I need it. This is a biological thing, and it’s so powerful and incredible. You can push me to the brink of myself, I can feel every emotion at once, and then it’s like the balloon bursts and I can feel myself – literally feel myself – floating back to you. In surrender.

I guess I just didn’t expect this time to be so unbelievably exhausting. Loving you is the absolute easiest thing ever, baby. But being a parent is so incredibly hard! I hadn’t expected to feel so isolated, and yet at the same time so desperate to hide. I didn’t expect this strength I would feel, as well as such vulnerability. I didn’t expect the absurd irony of getting insomnia because of being so terribly sleep-deprived. Nor did I expect the pressure I would put on myself, the anxiety to be perfect, or the guilt I would feel for almost everything. I didn’t expect it all to mean so much. And I didn’t expect to love you in a way that frightens me.

What I did expect, simply, was that you would sleep! You don’t. Ok, that’s an exaggeration – of course you sleep. But you fight it. Every-single-time. Sometimes, for hours. On the positive side – you are incredibly alert, and vigorous, and far too interested in the world to sleep. But you do need to sleep, of course – so on the negative side it’s been overwhelmingly exhausting for all of us. And we’ve tried everything to help you.

We’ve given it time, patience, consistency, thrown MONEY at you, nodded politely to everyone’s advice (when almost always we’d already tried it), and remained as calm as one could possibly be after you’ve kicked and screamed at us for two hours. At 2am. Sometimes, I think you must surely have broken and/or are close to death with all of the crying – but just as I think you might spontaneously combust, you stop mid-scream and gaze at me with beautiful smiling eyes, before returning to your task at hand. You bamboozle me. I never knew I could sob and laugh hysterically at the same time. I never knew someone could be so happy and yet cry so much.

I admit there have been some ugly days – days on end, in fact, where I have had little more than two hours of broken sleep; days where I have resorted to driving around in circles, just so you would at least sleep in your car-seat; days where I’ve lay in bed and cried with you; and, I regret to say it, days where I have yelled at you to “just SHUT UP” – swallowing my guilt like a bitter taste as soon as I said those words (not that you would have heard me anyway… a space-shuttle launch could be happening in the back-garden and no one would hear it over your screaming). There have simply been times I’ve reached the end of all of my resources, and sat crying on the kitchen floor with your daddy coming home unsure of who to tend to first (me, incidentally, as your daddy in all his rationality knew that you were actually ok). I’ve then sat in the other room, listening to your daddy settle you to sleep in minutes, feeling like the worst mother in the world. A failure. Then before I know it you cry once more and I rush to you, and you stop as soon as you see me, smiling in such a way, with a look that sinks deeply into me, and I melt. ‘My Mumma,’ that smiles says. And I know then how good it all is; what a good job I am truly doing. And how much we love each other. So incredibly.

We play a lot, baby, and we have so much fun together. You love your play mat, and can roll over now and grab at toys. You like it when I lay down next to you, and we gaze at each other, having conversations with our eyes. You also love sitting in your bouncy chair, whilst I read to you, or play puppet shows, or just talk to you whilst you watch me make lunch. You love looking in the mirror, and watching my face as I pull silly expressions and talk in silly voices. You love it when I sing to you. You love being on your feet, either held by me, or in your jolly jumper. You seem eager to get going! I hold your hands when you are laying on your back, and you pull yourself to sitting and then push up on your feet until you’re standing. You make all the right movements for walking, and climb up my body. You are so strong, and coordinated, and clever! I love the way you look at me and break into a happy grin. I love watching you smile and interact with other people when I take you out, and you love these social situations, just quietly taking everyone in. You have so much love to give. You let me kiss you at least a thousand times every day. And whenever I do have you sleeping in my arms… I just stare at your beautiful face, and smell your delicious caramel breath, and wonder at how something so amazing could be mine.

The weekends come, and I rejoice in having your daddy around us. He plays with you whilst I get some extra sleep, then he makes me breakfast whilst I feed you. You love this special time with your daddy, and often you nap with him on the sofa. Once the day has begun he will often play with you some more, so I can do something for myself, and in the afternoons we either take you on an outing, or just for a walk around our neighbourhood. Before tea-time we put you in your jolly jumper and laugh for what feels like hours as you dance along to all the music we love. We all dance together, and sing, and you smile, and look at us as though we are crazy. And you never take your eyes off us. You have such rhythm, you are stunning. I love to watch your little feet on the ground, pushing and jumping, and pointing your toes with such precision. I’m sure you would stay dancing all day long. Then after our evening meal, we snuggle on the sofa with you, before your daily bath, and massage, and then I feed you before bed, smelling your warm coconut oiled skin. Our little macaroon. I always end the weekends refreshed, having had your daddy’s help for two days. But, at the same time, this lovely warmth seeps in, knowing that I get you to myself again tomorrow. Even though the days alone with you are exhausting – I adore them, baby. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the whole world. It is an honour to be your Mumma. A humbling job. And a cherished one.

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And so, here we are, with unknown excitement ahead of us!

I’m prepared to be unprepared, expecting the unexpected, breathing, and enjoying every single delicious moment being yours.

Always.

Your Mumma. X

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One month new

Dear baby Beau

Today is the 25th of October. One month since you were born. And we’ve had such a lovely day together.

Firstly, your daddy took me to our local spa to get a much-needed massage whilst he waited in the reception with you. It was super cute, as all the female staff cooed over you whilst he looked on like the cat with the cream! We’ve been regulars there since before we got engaged, so the staff have enjoyed our journey from a couple, to newly-weds, and now doting parents. They couldn’t wait to meet you! Then, afterwards, your daddy had to go out to do some business so we had time in the sunshine on your sheepskin in daddy’s office. I gave you a little massage of your own with baby lotion and your skin was so warm and delicious! Then I took you for a walk to the park, before settling onto the sofa whilst you had a nice snuggly nap on my tummy all afternoon.

We have had so many wonderful times together in these first few weeks. After birthing you at North Shore Hospital, we spent some time up north at the Warkworth birthing centre. It was great to have time to hibernate and just be with you, before we came home and life began again for us all. Surrounded by trees and nature, and continuously supported by the nursing staff, Warkworth was a great place to be. One night in particular, though, I will never forget:

You were not settling for a much needed sleep – and your daddy and I were becoming increasingly anxious, and I was beyond sleep-deprived and sore from surgery so it was all getting a bit too much – until a kind nurse, whom I will never forget, offered to take you and cuddle you whilst your daddy and I got an hour of sleep. She said she would return you once you settled. This was 11pm. At 3am I woke and you were not in our room. Unable to jump straight out of bed, because of my c-section, I carefully rolled myself out as best I could whilst my heart was pounding in my ears and frantically went to look for you. I didn’t even think to wake your daddy in my haste. Soon enough I found the nurse, calmly sitting in reception working at the computer! “Where’s…” “…he’s asleep,” she smiled. And there you were, fast asleep like a little angel, in a gorgeous pale blue perambulator – like something out of Peter Pan. “Go back to bed, mumma” she said. And you let us sleep another hour until 4am. Your daddy WAS unaware of the entire episode. You’ve never slept through the night like that since, baby – but no matter, you will. The main thing was – in that moment of panic I realised all the love I had for you. The feeling of being apart from you was utterly unbearable. I thought my heart had truly broken.

You have done so well, baby, keeping up with your restless mother who is still learning how to be quiet and restful. In your first month we’ve taken you to the mall a few times and bought you new clothes; we’ve had a newborn photoshoot where the photographer managed to capture all of your beauty on camera; I turned 30 and you slept through the entire party!; and you even attended your first Wedding – the union of two of our most cherished friends. I had initially been appointed to be their Celebrant, but fortunately we all thought it wise some time ago to change plans – as I am sure my sleep-deprivation and anxious looks over to you throughout the entire ceremony would not have done them justice! Still, it was wonderful to have attended – a beautiful, sunny, outdoor ceremony at Wenderholm Regional Park. Which saw me, just two weeks after your birth, wearing a pretty dress amongst friends and remembering my own marriage to your daddy, only 11 months ago. How far we have come!

And how far we have come in the last month also. I’m not going to lie baby, at first it was really hard. It was strange to celebrate your life and to simultaneously grieve for the loss of you in my womb. And I had no idea how difficult it would be to care for you, especially after a c-section. I was in shock, pain, grief, uncertainty – and all of those things meant that I needed a lot of support. Your daddy, and your extended family have been amazing at helping me. In fact, your birth has brought me so much closer to them all. How lovely it has been for them to be there for me, after I have always been so fiercely independent. And how nice it has been for me to feel so taken care of, and loved.

Baby, never in my life have I felt more pain, fear, exhaustion, and complete and utter devotion. I knew how to care for a baby and was “prepared” for you – but only at your birth was I born a mummy. And only now do I appreciate the meaning of that role. Each day we get to know each other more. And you have no idea how precious and how lovely you are. Your vulnerability, and my responsibility, has brought out a fiercely protective side in me. And your beautiful sweet face has broken my heart into a million pieces on more than one occasion. Okay, daily. But your daddy has been catching all of those little pieces, and giving them all back to me. I expect you will be so much like him, baby – you have already proved yourself to be so strong and you are such a sweetheart. You look just like your daddy too. So incredibly handsome.

See:

8 days new
Beau Xavier – 8 days new

Baby, I will always remember the day we finally brought you home. The living room still had the birth pool in it and the furniture was in disarray after our abandoned home birth… and your daddy had quickly ushered you and I to rest in the bedroom, whilst he and your Poppa tidied everything up, and your Aunty Heather came with food, and then the midwife came and held my hand whilst I cried as we talked through some things, and then your Grandma came and gave you your first bath, and then we all had dinner and cuddled you, and then, after everyone went home it was just you, me, and your daddy. He held you whilst I had a hot shower and washed all of the hospital away, before I joined him on the sofa to feed you and watch some T.V. And for the first time, I felt it. And that was it, I thought. Whatever life throws at us now, we are together. And we are home.

I am so blessed! I still can’t believe you are mine, baby.

Forever yours,

Mumma.

Xxx

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To your daddy

Dear baby

Today you are 6 weeks old! And today is my first Wedding Anniversary with your beautiful daddy. So, today, my letter is for him.

We love you.

Your Mumma X

*

Our 1st Anniversary

Thank you for being my very best friend
Meant from the start you’ll be there ’til the end
Do you know that with you I can be my true self
A more accurate me than with anyone else

When looking at you I see my own face
And for once in my life this feels like my place
I know I’ll forever have a mate on my side
One that is tender, romantic and kind

And I know that with you I can trust my own life
I gave you my heart when you made me your wife
Wherever you are I will also be there
No longer just me, I’m now half of a pair

And recently you’ve seen me coming undone
Giving body and soul in the birth of our son
And baby it’s you who has held me together
My strength and my shelter, whatever the weather

For you’ve loved me beyond all the fear that you felt
Accepting your role like a hand that was dealt
To take mine as your own you carried my heart
In my life now forever you’re an integral part

It’s been 12 happy months of sweet wedded bliss
Promises made that were sealed with a kiss
Have fused us together, given meaning to life
Today I’m Beau’s mummy as well as your wife

Impossible to say, all the love that I have
Sometimes I’m grumpy and sometimes I’m sad
But darling please know that in my marriage to you
I’m everyday happy and there’s nothing more true.

Yours. Your Hayley Xxx

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