365 days ago, you were born.
365 ago, I became the mum of four daughters.
365 days ago, you made our family complete.
365 days ago, my world became a happier place.
365 days ago, you lay on my chest, in a mighty meconium mess, and made me the happiest mama alive.
But your journey began long before these 365 days…
I couldn’t wait to meet you. I am many things, but patient I am not. And I wanted you long before I conceived you. But, for reasons beyond my control, I had to wait a long time to create you. We tried many times for the stars to align and the cells to divide, but it wasn’t your time. Each time I miscarried I felt the crushing blow of disappointment. Each time I mourned for you, and I mourned for your sisters. Each time was devastating. Each time made me long for you more. Each time made me love you more.
So, my darling Miss I, you have been loved a very long time. When my pregnancy was confirmed, my elation was tempered. The truth is, I was terrified. Terrified of losing you. Terrified of feeling that gut wrenching pain again. Terrified that I wouldn’t ever get to see your first smile, witness your fist steps and feel your warm skin on my body. Pregnancy, after loss, is a conflicted and fraught experience.
I stroked my belly every one of the 275 days you were inside me. And once I shared the news with you sisters, my fear subsided. In its place was only love and joy. Their excitement when they heard you were growing inside me was a joy unmatched by any other experience in my life. One day, when you are fighting with them over who gets to use the hairdryer, I will show you the video footage of this exquisite moment!
You arrived a few days earlier than expected, but you teased me with contractions for weeks prior. Thankfully you allowed us to move house and attend your sisters’ ballet concert before you arrived. The morning you signalled to me you were on your way, I delayed going into the hospital. I wanted just a few more hours with you on my own. A few more precious hours when I didn’t have to share you with anyone. I was equal parts nervous and elated. I sent your dad off to work and drove myself the hospital. It was our special time.
Much like the journey to conceive you, your birth involved struggle, effort and pain. And some stress. When you were born those seconds of ensuing silence seemed to stretch on and on. And then came your cry. The sweet sound of a cry, signalling you were OK. The pain was over. The wait was over. And my joy was indescribable. The hours after your birth were beautiful. A surge of relief, love and healing washed over me.
Miss I, you didn’t stop moving in utero and you haven’t stopped moving since. Busy, alert, active and energetic – these are the words most frequently used to describe you. There’s so much activity around you, and you want to be a part of it. Backstage is not for you. You want to be smack, bang centre stage.
Now I am not going to sugar coat this; you have not been an easy baby. But it hasn’t been your fault. Reflux and tongue-ties hindered breastfeeding, and you were bron with a chronic allergy to sleep. I’ve already shared those experiences, so let’s not go there again. Instead I want to tell you a bit about YOU.
At age one you are choc – full of personality. So much personality. You’ve shown you are fiercely determined, immensely curious and highly alert. You’re a little too busy for cuddles and relaxing. Why rest when you can explore? Why cuddle when you can climb? Why sleep when you can PLAY?!
My darling Miss I, thank you for choosing me as your mama. Thank you for joining our family. Thank you for filling our lives with colour. You are the centre of your sisters’ worlds. They could not love you any more, it’s simply not possible. Your eldest sister told me she loves you so much it sometimes hurts. I know what she means.
I look at you and I see your sisters. I look into your eyes and see my angel babies. You are the sum of those experiences. When you were born the ache in my heart receded. Everything feels a little lighter now, but I’ll always remember where your journey started. I look at you and I won’t ever forget.
You are 365 days old.
Happy first birthday, my beautiful girl. I love you more than I can express in words.