I know I am going to regret this in the morning, writing this to you now at 1am, but I needed to put my thoghts down on paper. I’m finding it hard to find the right words to say though… What do you say to the person who changed your life forever and made you a mother?
You were that person for me Hannah.
You made me realise what life is really all about. There are no words I could write, no photographs I could take and no way to ever completely describe how momentus this feeling is, inside me, every day, knowing that I grew you, birthed you and I am now raising you. That I was entrusted with you, this gift of a child, who would teach me more than I could ever hope to teach her. You truly amaze me.
When we walk down the street it is obvious to other people that you are my eldest child, I understand that they would assume that you are my first-born. But you are not. You came after our angel baby, ‘May’ who, even though they were part of our lives for such a short time, had many lessons to teach us. Combined with the time it took to concieve you and the length of your pregnancy, I was well on my way to learning about what sort of mother I wanted to be. ‘May’ had taught me a few important truths about life but you my dear, you have taught me many, many more.
Your daddy and I knew we wanted to have children while we were still young. We both had our own reasons for this – your grandad had been older and had died while your daddy was just a boy and for me, I loved having young parents of my own who were still there for me as I grew older – so this was certainly a goal of ours. You came into our lives a little later than we had imagined, we had been waiting almost 2 years when I finally held you in my arms.
I used to walk past the bathroom mirror in my many late night trips to the toilet during the 8th and 9th month and just stop and stare at you indside my belly. Do you remember those moments Hannah? It was just you and me, gently swaying to the rythym of my heartbeat, your sweet kicks and rolls letting me know you felt my attention. I would watch you in the mirror as you pressed yourself against my skin so hard that I could feel and see the outline of your little elbows, or were they knees? or fists? It doesn’t matter anyway, whatever they were, they were beautiful and I knew you would be too my daughter.
I had a dream before you were concieved where the date 28-08-2008 flashed up inside my head. I wrote this down on my calender. I also felt like the number 3 was important and I wrote that down too. I fell pregnant and the doctor announced my original due date to be the 28-08-2008 and I felt myself fall into a place I have never moved from since that moment. A place where I am tied to you within the synchronicity of life. Where fate and coincidence and serendipity all intertwine. Where intuition is my strongest sense and I am told things I can only hear when I go there, deep into that sacred mothering place.
The 28-08-2008 was my last full day of pregnancy. I went into labour the next night and you were eventually born on the 31-08-2008 in room 3 of the Birth Centre. I felt such peace when the midwife lead me into that room. I felt myself go into that safe, internal space where the distance from me to you was so small I could almost see what you would look like. And that wasn’t so hard to imagine even though I couldn’t believe that would be the case at the time. You see, when we first began our path to conception, I had this beautiful dream where a little girl was running towards me, arms outstretched, long blonde hair that waved at the ends swinging behind her in the breeze. Her smile was full of little white perfect teeth and she wore purple. She was the only child I had ever dreamed about and at the time, I had no idea she would become mine.
The labour and birth journey was definately a trial of teamwork between you and me, between my concious mind and my physical body, between surrender and knowledge. It was the most humbling and primitive experience of my life up until that moment and when I knelt over that beanbag on a mat on the floor I knew your birth was going to be amazing. After 25 hours of labour, at 12:55am, I pushed all 3.96kg of you out with the strength of my body, with your daddy and Grandma by my side. I felt the great release when you slipped out of me and as I moved back a little and the midwife pushed you under my body towards me and I finally held you in my arms, all I could feel was pride.
You were here. It felt like we were the only people on the face of the earth just you and I Hannah. Your eyes were wide open just staring into my own. You didn’t even cry, just looked around completely calm and alert and all-knowing. I wish that moment could have lasted longer than it did. I have written out your enitire birth story and what happend in the week following your birth in another letter, in extreme detail and when you read that you will know why it saddens me that that initial, exsuiqisite embrace could not have lasted longer. I cannot know for sure, but I am almost certain that if that had been the case then our breastfeeding relationship could have begun more positively.
At this point in my life, I can honestly say that my only regret so far is not breastfeeding you. Tears are welling up, and my heart is so damn heavy as I write this. I have processed it, I have analysed it and I have intellectualised what happened so that I can get to this place where I am actually able to discuss it, but I don’t think that hurt will ever go away. That I was able to give that gift of birth to you, that we were able to do that together and then to not be able to breastfeed… it hurt my heart. It still does.
But I still have you. Even though our breastfeeding experience was intially negative, it has brought so many positives into my life. I have now been breastfeeding your little brother, on demand, full-time, day and night, since he was born. And I have you to thank for that. If it wasn’t for the way that our breastfeeding relationship worked out I doubt I would have done the research and felt the passion about breastfeeding as I do now. So even though we didn’t go on that journey together for long my daughter, I am thankful for the 7 days that I held you at my breast and I will always credit any future breastfeeding accomplishments to you. You are my inspiration.
In the last 3 and a half years I have been proud to witness all your achievments and I have loved learning alongside you. You amaze me with your thoughtfulness and your imagination, your nurturing nature and your joyful spirit. I have learned so much about mothering from you. I have learned to trust my instincts and go with what feels right. I now know that connected parenting practices really speak to me and that I feel they are the right fit for our family. I love reading books and articles about gentle parenting and about learning at home ideas for you and Blake and I always look forward to seeing what you teach me at the end of every week. Lately, you have been showing me how many beautiful things I have been missing in nature, such as the way the clouds move with the wind in the sky and the colours of the sunset just before dark when they are blue and pink. You love ‘reading’ signs and posters at the moment and telling us what they mean. I really enjoy hearing your imagination at work and they way you see this big wide world of ours. It excites me to think about the future and of what adventures we have yet to experience together.
I am so proud to be your mama and that I get to share this Mother’s Day with you. Thank you for being mine, my daughter, and for making me the mama I am today. You are my delight.
Photo Credit the last two photographs – Georgia from Gregarious Peach