Three months ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Henry. At three months, I finally feel more relaxed and confident in my abilities as a mother. Nothing can prepare you for the birth or those first few weeks of sleep deprivation and bleary eyed midnight feeds. My body still feels like it belongs to a 100 year old woman.
As a single mum it has been a tough journey; from the emotional pregnancy and an unexpected trauma-filled birth. So much seemed to be against us, which only makes me love my son even more.
There’s no partner to make me a cup of tea in the morning or to do their share of nappy changes but I don’t know any different. I don’t feel begrudged and I rarely feel lonely, mostly in the evenings when Henry is fast asleep.
So on one of those lonely nights, I finally wrote for the first time in three months. It’s letter of thanks to my boy...
I write this letter as you lay next to me fast asleep in your deep sleep that tells me you probably won’t wake again until 3am for your feed. As I write, I listen to a playlist I made for your birth which just lulled you to sleep as I danced slowly with you in my arms. You must recall the songs of Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy and Kate Bush from your time in my tummy when I would play them to you every night during our intimate pregnancy. You’re three months old now but this is the first time I’ve been able to listen to the recordings since your birth.
Your birth. It was the opposite of everything I wanted it to be. I wanted you to come into this world with the familiar songs playing as you entered in water and I would scoop you up into my arms. Instead there were bright lights, a huge medical team and a screaming mummy who was doing all she could to push you out as she felt something was going to go wrong. And then suddenly I felt your wet, squirming flesh in between my legs and I knew you were here and okay. I didn’t care what was being done to me, all I could do was look for my boy amid the chaos. Everything was fine now you were here. Briefly you were in my arms but then we were parted for what felt like eternity. I had no baby and I had no bump.
I thought we would not bond after being apart, but you knew I was your mummy that first moment your full, pursed lips took milk. And you didn’t stop!
I felt so peaceful as you fed from me, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was keeping you alive. It was as if I was physically pouring all the love I felt for you into you to keep you strong. In those first few weeks at home I used to fear the nights. I would take pints of water and biscuits up to bed with me and make sure I had all I needed so I didn’t have to leave you on your own for a second. You’d feed throughout the night. It wasn’t like I was going to bed but instead just continuing the feeds and changes in darkness with a little shut eye if I was lucky.
Then one day you started to smile up at me, firstly encouraged but then spontaneously. It was the purest joy I have ever felt. My little boy was happy.
In just three months, you have given me the purest, most innocent form of love. I take so much joy from the simplest of things, which has stopped me from longing for materialistic desires. I love walking to the shops with you and the pram; trundling through the woods together when the sun shines; and attending classes where I feel like ‘a proper mummy’ alongside all the other mums. I love bath time where you realise the strength in your chubby legs; soothing your little body with rubs with my cream laden hands; and the giggles I have started to hear when I make a silly noise or kiss you on your tummy.
I won’t pretend that everyday has been easy. There was one morning after three nights of terrible sleep where I cried and cried into your neck as I rocked you at 5am as you cried and cried. I thought, is this what it’s going to be like now? I then remember you’re not going to be this tiny forever. You’re not always going to let me wrap my arms around you to comfort you. You’re not always going to need me to bathe you and dress you.
I will always be here for you, my little boy, even when you’re embarrassed when I give you a kiss at the school gate.
Keep smiling, beautiful boy.
Your mummy xxx