These years have been completely life changing

Artwork: Letters To Loved & Photos: Lucie Herridge

The following letter was written by Lucie Herridge for her son Harry on the eve of his ‘hearing birthday’. You can read more from Lucie by following her blog ‘Lucie and the bump’ or on Instagram.

Dear my best boy,

I guess this letter will start with sadness and end in celebration much like your hearing journey.  I want so much for you and I’m afraid that in the chaos we call life I might forget to tell you all of these things. So here it is.

You were born without the ability to hear.  It completely broke my heart and shattered everything I believed should be the perfect first-time-mum world.  It took me a while to accept that the songs I had sung (badly) to you or the shushing I made as I soothed you in the night, you had never heard.  I blamed myself, your dad, pregnancy, things I shouldn’t have eaten, things I should have eaten, even the loud music from the festival I took you too whilst carrying you in my belly.  In reality there was nothing we could have done differently, you were just not meant to have proper ears.

You’ve now had your “magic ears” for 3 years and WOW what an epic experience it has been.  These years have been completely life changing, I don’t ever think I will get over how incredible they have been.  I owe everything to the science behind the surgery you had and your implants and I cannot imagine our lives without you being able to hear.

Artwork: Letters To Loved Photos: Lucie Herridge

I will always be your biggest cheerleader and fan. When you spoke your first proper word just 10 weeks after having your magic ears switched on I could have exploded with pride.

You love to listen.  In fact you are a total eavesdropper and join in on the conversations you’re not involved in on a regular basis, you don’t miss a trick.

Your speech is mind blowing.  The day a speech therapist told me she wouldn’t need to see you anymore after just one session I felt so honoured to have such an incredibly clever little boy, it was the greatest feeling in the world.

Artwork: Letters To Loved Photos: Lucie Herridge

Sometimes I want to freeze this moment, where everything is perfect and you are thriving but I know that as you continue to grow, you might come across obstacles and it is going to dawn on you that you are different.  I hope that you take it well and you see your uniqueness as a quirk, a rarity and something to be celebrated.  There is nobody else like you and I just hope you can love yourself as much as everybody around you does.

It can be difficult for people to understand the fact that I wouldn’t change you for the world.  I mean I would change silly things like, I wish you would sleep through an entire night uninterrupted, but I wouldn’t change you and your magic ears.  It is just what makes you Harry.

I’ll always love you,

Mummy x

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Keep being you, keep being kind.

The following letter was written by Jessica of  The Legacy of Leo for her son Eli. She writes to him as a teenager about the importance of being comfortable and willing to share his emotions.

 

 

 

 

Dear Eli,
As you begin to enter the world of adulthood I want to take a moment to make sure you know you can always talk to us about how you are feeling. How do you feel today? Are you able to tell someone if something upsets or bothers you? I hope there is someone you feel able to confide in about how you feel. You always have us though, always.
Some people might tell you things like, “boys don’t cry”, or “man up, pull yourself together” if boys and men get upset. I disagree, though. Boys do cry. And they don’t need to man up either. If you are upset, it’s okay to be upset. It you are happy, excited, or just content, that’s okay too. If you are anxious, worried, fearful, that’s okay.
I just want you to be able to talk about these emotions. Right now, they probably feel quite fast moving and vibrant. Often, emotions can change very quickly. Other times, some emotions hang around for a long time and you can’t shift them, even if you want too. Some may feel more uncomfortable than others. That’s okay, it happens to all of us – even adults. It’s just important to spend time learning your emotions, and finding out what helps you feel as calm as possible.
If you ever don’t feel able to talk to us, please find someone who you do feel comfortable talking to. It’s important to have these people in your life. They are special people, to be cherished. They should just listen to you, without judgement or critique. They might offer advice or another point of view, but you shouldn’t feel upset by their support. If you do, I’d suggest finding someone else – friend or family.
If you don’t feel able to talk to anyone sometimes, then maybe have a go at writing your thoughts down. Sometimes it can really help to make sense of them, and often you feel a lot calmer as a result. You could always write a letter if you want to share those feelings with someone, or just keep it to yourself.
Most importantly, just know you can share the thoughts and feelings that you have. I promise you’ll never be the first person to feel that way. If you are scared or find it difficult to understand your emotions, or they feel too overwhelming – remember you can always ask us for help. That’s okay too.
And return the favour to those who listen to you. Being able to give someone, anyone, time and space to share their thoughts with you is a gift, and everyone needs someone like that in their life.
Keep being you, keep being kind.
Love,
Your mummies

 

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You may feel like you do not need me

Artwork: Letters To Loved

 

The following letter was written by Alex for her daughter Phoebe. You can follow them both on Instagram.

 

Dear Phoebe Cecily Violet

When you read this you will no longer be a small child lying in my arms. You will no longer be small enough for me to carry. You will no longer fall asleep with my arms cuddling you whole.

You will no longer kiss me a hundred times a day and look at me like I am your universe.

You will no longer believe everything I tell you. You may feel like you do not need me.

When you read this you may have moments where you question yourself. You may meet people that make you question yourself.

When you read this you may have days when everything feels a little hard and though the sun is shining outside you may feel grey and sad.

You may have days where you find it hard to breathe.

You may not understand why you are having these feelings and don’t know what to do with them. You may not know who, if anyone you can talk to about it.

When you read this you may be screaming inside for me to hold you like you are little again and cry in my arms.

You may be lying on your bed holding your childhood meerkat toy that smells like sandpits and snufflerub and you just want to click your heels and be little again.

So when you read this I want you to know that you are not alone and that there are people around you who love you and are ready for you if your ever want someone to talk to.

That when you speak to someone that they may even have experienced similar things to you and may be able to help.

Mostly I want you to know that if you ever want to cry in my arms and for me to hold you tight, that you can.

That my arms are always here ready to fix that boo boo, no matter how big it is or how big you are,

Mama

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I feel lighter, more alive just watching from the side.

Artwork: Letters To Loved

Photo Credit: @ohhey_itsbeth

 

I spotted this short and sweet note on an Instagram post written by Toronto based Beth Barnes for her daughter ‘Bee’. You can follow Beth and her family on Instagram and catch her podcast “BEAUTY and Other Conversations (with Beth + Erin)” on iTunes.

 

 

To my Bee.

I feel lighter, more alive just watching from the side.

Watching her eyes shining, face flushed with joy as she discovers this new lithe body; her capabilities a welcome surprise even to herself. Legs are longer, free from the burdening armour of winters past, she can move faster than the wind… Birds sing, squirrels leap, and she bounds across the playground like a baby gazelle learning to run.
Closing her eyes as she slips down the slide, sucking in the fresh air, not landing but launching back around to the top, again.
Jumping, running, tumbling, sliding, shrieking with glee. Excited laughter filling the air between the bordering pines. We’re in a bubble. The only ones in the world. I can’t take my eyes off her. “Earth to my Bee – it’s time to go home for dinner.” Glazed eyes, biting her lower lip, searching for “one last thing to do.” A second wind as she storms along the pines, one last lap before stepping from the park into the rest of her beautiful life.

My darling, my daughter. The world is yours. And it is wonderful.

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On the day we found out three will become four

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

The following letter was written by Norfolk based mum Lauren for her little boy Dilan. You can read more on Lauren’s parenting and lifestyle blog Dilan and Me.

 

Dilan,

I’ve dreamt of being pregnant for so long now. Dreamt of giving you the baby brother or sister you ask for so very often. Dreamt of expanding our family, growing the love in our house and being able to watch you all grow up together.

I’ve worried that I’ve left it too long, that you’re childhood won’t be as magical as I wanted, as the potential age gap gets larger and larger. I’ve worried that bringing a new baby into our less than simple situation could be really hard.

But I’ve watched as you have met the new babies that have come into our lives, and I’ve seen how gentle, loving and caring you can be. I’ve watched as you’ve helped them, looked after them and loved them with all of your heart. So I know that having a baby of our own would give you so much joy.

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

This morning.

Today we woke up together, you stroked my face and said good morning the way you always do. We went downstairs in our pyjamas and put on some cartoons. I left you playing as I went back upstairs and in the next 5 minutes your whole life changed and you had no idea.

The minute I saw the positive test I was overwhelmed with emotions. So much happiness, so much relief and elation. Excitement, real butterfly inducing stomach flipping excitement. The realisation that this is it, this is the beginning of the next chapter. A little panic and fear, which I think is normal given the circumstances.

But then something I didn’t expect hit me, and a wave of sadness washed over me as I realised that this was the end of something too. The end of ‘us’. I suddenly felt like a timer had started, and that our time of only having each other was limited. A 9 month countdown had already begun, and the time we have left is already ticking away.

 

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

I started to feel a more urgent kind of panic, as I wondered how on earth we’d cope with such a huge interruption. How we would learn to meet everyone’s needs, and keep everyone happy. How I would manage to give you every piece of me that you deserve, and still nurture something so small who’s needs are even bigger. How I would manage being all things to all people, getting everything done without splitting myself in half. How to survive night feeds and sleep deprivation, whilst still giving you all the time and patience that you’re used to, without leaving you feeling pushed aside.

The feeling that settled as I thought it through was a familiar one, one that I’ve felt so often already on my journey through motherhood so far. Every milestone, every development, every day is tinged with this same bittersweet feeling. Happiness at the start of something new and exciting, but so much sadness at closing the door on the path we were previously on.

I went back downstairs and you leapt into my arms, nuzzling your face in to mine. Still no idea how much life just changed, no concept of the news I just had, but an intuition that a cuddle and a squeeze was what Mummy needs.

Will you ever forgive me for causing myself to stretch between two of you? Will you be sad that I’m no longer completely yours? Will I feel guilty for the times of compromise coming up, as I try to balance the needs of our growing family and my own?

 

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

The truth is I don’t know, there’s no way that I possible could. I have to think back to the times I’ve watched on with joy, tears stinging my eyes, as you’ve kissed and cuddled other babies, loving on them so hard. Hold on to all the times that you’ve begged me for a brother or a sister, and remember all the dreams I’ve had of you and him or her, all the special times ahead.

You will be the most wonderful big brother, I have absolutely no doubts about that. There will be hard times, there always are, but I already know that we can survive it all. It will be tricky as we learn to share each other, as someone fresh and new enters our lives and finds their own little place. It won’t be easy my darling, but I just know it’s going to be incredible, and I’m so glad its a journey we can go on together. Because no matter what, it’ll always be you and me.

Unfortunately before I could post this our happy news ended sadly and I had a silent miscarriage in January, at what I believed to be 12 weeks pregnant. Part of me feels a huge amount of guilt for the sudden panic and doubt I had that morning, but I know that our little baby was desperately loved and wanted from that very moment. For a while I didn’t feel like I could post this, I would sit reading it with tears running down my face, but it is something that I want to share. I hope that’s okay with you all.

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