To my Little Bird

Artwork: Charlotte Peach

To my Little Bird,

On the 18th April 2016 our lives changed forever yet again. For nine long months I said a little wish when I went to bed every evening, I wished that you would be born safe and sound. And at exactly 10.06am on that Monday morning I got my wish. You arrived into the world screaming and within seconds you completely captured my heart. It’s such a strange thing, outside those hospital walls there were millions of people carrying on as normal on their average regular Monday-driving on the motorway, sat at their desks, playing play dough with their children, yet I lay on that cold, hard hospital clinical table and put every ounce of my faith in those doctors and theatre staff.

It’s the most surreal feeling, lying there knowing that you are being cut open with a sharp scalpel and that any minute you will be meeting the person you have imagined every single day. It’s hard not to be in control of your own destiny, yet reassuring to know you are in the best possible hands. And how do you truly describe going through something so monumental? Meeting that person you feel you know implicitly, yet actually you don’t really know at all. I do know my heart was practically beating out of my chest, mainly because I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and machines telling me so. I held my breath and gripped your Daddy’s arm- and then we heard it. The most beautiful sound in the world. Your first cry. Your first breathes.

I’ve heard that magical sound twice before. But it doesn’t get old. It’s the most intense, incredible and utterly intoxicating feeling meeting your baby for the first time. Meeting you for the first time was no exception. This time around we knew that you were going to have to skin to skin, something I didn’t have with the girls. But I still had to wait, wait for you to be checked over, wait for them to make sure you were ok. Then they bought you to me. They placed you on my chest, struggling to find a way through all the wires. And you instantly took up the remaining space in my heart. It sounds a cliche but I felt like we already knew each other and I know you felt the same as being on my chest started to soothe your frantic cries. I had a son. A son I didn’t even think we wanted when originally we were ‘done’ at two children, but who I knew instantly then and there was truly the missing piece of our puzzle. We made the decision to make a little video this time around, I wasn’t sure about at first, let alone whether I would share it online. But I am so glad we did, because I will treasure it for the rest of my life. I don’t think I have ever been as happy to have that to look back on and I only wish we had done it for your sisters too.

And what a month it has been. From those first few days where we were all a bit shellshocked. You and I getting to know each other in the darkness of the night in the hospital. When you met your big sisters for the first time and I thought I would literally burst with pride. When we took you home and I would lie in bed feeding you and just cry from the sheer emotion of it all. How many times have I kissed your soft head in the course of this month? I couldn’t even possibly say.

You are the most beautiful and wonderful little boy I have ever met. Of course I would say that, after all you are mine. But I can be honest now and say that before you I didn’t really think I wanted boy. I was happy with my girls, boys were a little alien to me. Of course at your gender scan all I wanted was for you to be healthy, but secretly there was the tiniest part of me that hoped for another girl. When she said you were a boy, we were both in shock. But we were instantly thrilled, not realising just how excited we were to have a ‘different’ experience this time around. And now you are here, my goodness how wrong I was. Having a son is incredible. You are my boy and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel honoured and privileged I get to experience raising a little boy.

It’s been a wonderful month of getting to know you. You are generally a lovely and content little baby, but you most definitely are happiest in our arms. Mummy’s are the best, I know how to snuggle you just the way you like it. But anyone will do. Your biggest sister has the magic touch too, she seems to know how to settle you well. But your littlest big sister is besotted with you too and wants to hold you constantly. You will go down for limited periods of time and are getting better every day, but you do get unsettled after a while. But when you are in our arms you are content and chilled as they come. You are still at the stage where you sleep most of the day, but you have the odd awake and alert period. As I write this you are snuggled up on your Daddy while we watch Britain’s Got Talent. You seem to be more alert in the evenings, some days you are unsettled with wind and some days, like today, you are just so chilled out. You have been awake most of the evening but I have just glanced over at you and you have drifted off to sleep.

I take you up to bed around 10pm, sometimes earlier as I am so tired at the moment, sometimes a little later if I am feeling particularly energetic. Daddy changes your nappy and then I feed you, before putting you down in your crib. You are getting better in your crib, but again you are happiest in my arms. I didn’t once let your biggest sister in our bed and I only let your littlest big sister from around 4am onwards. But with you, you came in our bed a lot earlier. I put my arm out and you lie on that, snuggled in to me as close as can be. Throughout the night I kiss your soft head and just feel content knowing that you are next to me. For someone like me, who is strict on sleep routines, it feels a novelty. But you are my last baby and if I ‘make a rod for my own back’ then so be it. You are getting longer in your crib every night, last night you were in there until around 3am. I know I will miss our cuddles when you no longer need Mummy in the night. You are waking every 1-3 hours at the moment, so yes we are exhausted, but at the same time I know that one day I will look back and miss these days. I’m exhausted but deleriously happy.

Feeding is going well. I had problems breastfeeding both your sisters in the beginning, although we got there in the end. With you it came reasonably easily. Yes I was sore to begin with, but it was never toe curlingly sore like it was with them. You are a bit of a snacky feeder, during the day you will feed every couple of hours unless we are out in which case you will go longer. But you are obviously thriving on my milk, as we had you weighed when you 4 weeks and 3 days old and you were 10lb 11oz. I love that I get to experience feeding a baby one last time and that it all seems to have gone quite smoothly so far. While breastfeeding can sometimes feel a little draining and I hate the big boobs and leaking that comes with it, I wouldn’t change the way I feed you for a single second- I love the way it makes me feel so close to you. You do get quite bad trapped wind. It is horrible to see you uncomfortable, and it isn’t nice to feel powerless to make you feel better. But your big sisters both suffered with it too and we know it will get better eventually. In the meantime we are dosing you up on infacol and trying to wind you as much as we can. If it wasn’t for the wind, I don’t genuinely think you would ever cry.

You still live in baby grows. I put you in a little pair of romper dungarees for the first time today and it instantly made you feel a bit more grown up, but I wanted you to get the wear out of them before they got too small. I think I will keep you in baby grows until you are at least 12 weeks- I am in no hurry for you to be in outfits. You are still in the up to one month size, the last few days I have packed away the couple of newborn sized ones we had, but even though you are a good weight you still have a fair bit of room left in the up to one month size.

I should draw this letter to a close now, I could talk about you non stop but the longer I write, the longer it will be till bedtime. And I am ready to close this laptop, steal you off Daddy and snuggle you tight. Blogging, working and everything else has taken a bit of a back seat here, but I’m relishing the opportunity to take it slow and really enjoy these early days.

I love you my beautiful baby bird. Thank you for completing our family. Thank you for being all we could ever wish for.

Mummy xxx

Photo: Katie Ellison

This was the first in a series of letters written by Katie Ellison for her little boy Wren. There are many more wonderful letters by Katie to all three of her children Madeleine (Mads), Charlotte (Lottie) and Wren (LB) over on the blog Mummy Daddy Me and you can see more of their lives on Instagram and through Katie’s stunning photography.

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Happy birthday my little love

Photo: Adam Robertson

To my darling almost three year old,

As I hold you tonight, the night before your third birthday, I watch as you sleep soundly. I can remember the first night we spent together so clearly. It was just you and I, alone in the dark, with only the dim light from a hospital lamp to highlight your tiny little features. Staring into each other’s eyes, both dreaming of everything that was to come. Looking at each other with a strange familiarity, feeling like we had known each other for a lifetime; and yet marvelling at how we had just met. Neither of us quite sure of what we were doing, but both so filled with love and awe that nothing else would ever matter again. My emotions were such a mix of pride and absolute wonder. I looked at you and I suddenly understood all of those motherhood cliches, it truly was love at first sight.
I remember leaving the hospital with you and your Daddy, both totally shocked that they were allowing us to take this tiny little thing home. Bursting with excitement and terror in equal measure, having absolutely no clue what was in store for us. Overwhelmed with love and responsibility, but so ready for the next chapter of our lives to begin. I sat in the back of the car with you the whole way home, constantly checking you were still breathing, so aware of my duty to protect you from the world. On that first night I remember listening as your Daddy changed your nappy, then hearing him scream and shout for help as you sprayed mustard poo all over the nursery’s freshly painted white walls. The best metaphor for parenting I could ever think of, and our first reminder that nothing ever goes exactly to plan.
The past three years have not been easy ones. We have been on a rollercoaster, you and me, but we have always had each other. You are my rock, just as much I am yours, and you have kept me going when nobody else ever could. Your little life isn’t at all how I imagined it would be and that breaks my heart, but we have everything we could ever need. I hope you know how loved you are, because you are so so loved and cherished, and you’re happy – that is truly all that matters to me. You are surrounded by family and friends who adore you beyond measure and I’m so grateful for every single one of them. Each one has played a part in the wonderful little person you are becoming and I am eternally grateful for all the care they show you. I want you to see that loving you is what unites us all. That you are the most important person in all of our lives, you brought us all together and we would all do anything for you. You hold us together just the way we are meant to be, and although our family isn’t a conventional one, it’s full of love for you.
Three whole years later I still spend my nights watching you snooze peacefully, and I’m still filled with just as much love and awe as I was then. I study you the way I did in that hospital light, trying to memorise every feature, every freckle, every dimple. I wish I could freeze time right here, as I desperately cling on to this moment, and to these memories. Moments that are passing by so quickly, memories that are becoming too fuzzy far too fast. Time has become such a strange thing as it rushes past us, leaving me savouring each moment for as long as I’m allowed.

Watching you now I reminisce about the baby you once were, and then I dream of the young boy you are so quickly becoming. You are changing at such a fast rate, every day you become bigger, stronger and smarter. You have somehow become this little person; complete with his own likes, character and quirks. Your personality is developing in a way I never could’ve imagined, and getting to watch you grow is a joy.
The night you were born, I was born too – I became the person that I was always supposed to be. You gave my life meaning and purpose in a way I didn’t know was possible. You are the reason I survive, and each morning waking up to you pushes me to keep on going. Each day brings a new challenge as you develop and learn more, but each night you transform back into my precious baby boy. You will be my baby boy forever, my real first true love. You’ll fill me with the same feelings of pride and amazement I felt that first night always, and every single moment with you will be worth it all.

Happy birthday my little love xxx

Photo: Adam Robertson

 

Photo: Adam Robertson

This beautiful letter was written by Lauren Gordon from www.Dilanandme.com for her son Dilan on the eve of his third birthday.

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I don’t sleep much, but that’s OK.

Artwork: Charlotte Peach

“When I first saw your face, I fell in love instantly. You looked exactly like grandpa, which means you look exactly like me. To be honest, before you came along, I was a little bit lazy. But everything changed the moment you came into the world. You motivate me to be a better person all the time. You’re the reason I want to work really hard. I don’t sleep much, but that’s OK. I just want to give you the best life I possibly could.”

An excerpt of a letter written by Amber Rose for her son Sebastian as part of Time Magazine’s Letter’s From Mom series.

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Your Dreams Are On Their Way

Dear Zain and Layra,

A dream starts as a seed, the smallest little spark.
You both started out that way.
Daddy and I started with a dream of you and in fact what we were given swelled our hearts, blew our minds and was so much more than we ever, ever imagined.
As you sit on the kitchen table and draw because its one of my greatest passions and you both want to be like me, a dream which I started has already begun to spark seeds in you.
“Do I want to be like mummy? Or do I want to be like daddy?”
When you grow up you’ll know it isn’t about being like us that fulfills a dream.
A dream can be anything you wish it to be, but you need to have courage to listen to your heart and the strength of your soul to see them through.
I started writing this letter thinking I should explain to you why I worked so hard on a dream when you were young, why I always spoke about you being my dream and I still pursued further.
You are already so much more than I ever imagined, you are my journey, you are my biggest passion.
Teaching you that life is precious and you have to seize the day.
Showing you that hard work is real and is worth it.
Inspiring you to inspire others.
Reminding you to be kind about your choices, to others and yourself.
The best dreams are those that keep growing, like you.
One day you’ll be sharing your dreams with me and although I always tell you to stop growing so fast, that’s the one thing I cannot wait to see.
Your dreams are on their way….
Mama xx

Photo: Sing Lee

This beautiful letter was written by the very talented artist Laxmi Hussain for her children Zain and Layra. You can see more of Laxmi’s work here including the artwork (top) that accompanies the letter which is available to buy through the shop. You can also purchase more of Laxmi’s work through her online shop.
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I’m about to become a mummy to someone else soon

Hello sweetheart.

Oh Bill. This is a hard thing to write.

I have wanted to write this for months and months. And I knew I had to wait. Because I knew there would be more and more that I wanted to say, as we got closer and closer to your little sister being born.

I don’t really know where to start. I want to tell you how wonderful you are. That I love you. That you’ll always be my best friend. And that I’ll always be here.

But they just feel like words and phrases that anyone can say. And I want to try my best to explain how I’m feeling. Properly.

I’m about to become a mummy to someone else soon. And I’m really excited to meet your sister. And I know you are too. But I’m also really nervous. I know we’ve tried to talk about how babies are born, and to be fair, you’ve got a decent understanding of it for the little boy that you are. But I just hope I can do it. And I hope we’re all as happy as I’m expecting us to be.

I still remember the day you were born and it was absolutely magical. I remember when I first saw you and I broke down in tears. You were better than anything my imagination could have dreamed up.

I really do think you were meant to be. Despite not expecting to become a mother so soon, you knew I needed to meet you. I feel like you chose me to be your mother. And the second I knew you were inside me, I fell in love. The best surprise I could ever of hoped for.

When you were first placed into my arms I knew I’d do anything for you. I’d stand in the way of anything that would try and hurt you. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of it all. I worried I wouldn’t be enough. I wanted to be the best mother possible. I felt like the way I saw the world changed that day. 12th June 2012. All I could see was you.

For a long time it felt like me and you against the world. Just the two of us. Even from that first day, when our visitors left, it was just me and you in hospital and I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop looking at you.

Our lives have gone through a lot of change together, but you have always been my one constant. I never gave up because of you. I was so determined to make you proud of me. And I know you are. Just like I am of you. You’ve always been my little cheerleader. And I yours. I feel like, despite the way things have been for us, we couldn’t be closer.

Yesterday, I was lay on the sofa resting, trying to read a book, but I was too tired to concentrate. You and Mark had been outside playing football in the garden. And you came in, took off your shoes, and asked me to budge up.

I lay there, dozing, under a blanket with you. You watched telly, and I just listened to the bright sounds coming from whatever programme it was that you were watching. And I smiled. I could hear your breathing. And I could feel you stroking my hair. And I was taken back to your newborn days. I could still hear your breathing, and the sounds from the television, but I was stroking your hair as you lay on my chest.

It’s been a long time since those newborn years. And those cuddles aren’t always as frequent as I’d like. But my goodness. You couldn’t know how much I love you Bill. You just couldn’t. And I know it won’t change.

And I need you to know that it will never, ever change.

As much as I know that I am giving you the best gift of your life in the coming weeks. I feel so very guilty. I can’t explain it to you now. I want to sit down and tell you that things might change. And that it doesn’t change how I feel for you. But how can I do that to you, when you are just months away from being four years-old.

I sat down the other night – it was Friday – and Mark and I had a book each to read to you, before bed. Just like we always do. And I chose Billy and the Baby. A perfectly-written little book, given your name, and the fact that you are having a sister. I’ll keep it for you, if you should ever have children one day. One of the pages had me crying as I read it to you. Where the dad tries to explain to his son that nothing will ever change how loved he is. And I wanted you to listen so badly. And to know I felt the same. And all you did is look up at me, smile and stroke my face. I hope you were listening.

Bill, I want to thank you for making me a mother. For teaching me how powerful the heart is. For getting to feel you kick from within, and experience you getting bigger and stronger with each day. Until I got to hold you and give you all the love I’d saved up over those long weeks of waiting. Thank you for teaching me to be kinder, more patient, more appreciative. Thank you for making me feel like a superhero every day. No one has ever made me feel quite so special as you.

Thank you for accepting the changes in your life with ease. For falling in love with your step-dad. Who loves you so much. And for showing us how kind you are, with your genuine excitement for your new baby sister. You have one of biggest hearts I’ve ever known. You’re not judgemental, unkind, or cruel with your affections. You just accept people. And may you always be shown that love in return.

You will never be less special. Less loved. Or less important. You’re our son and we are so proud of you.

Please accept my apology for the coming weeks. When Mama might be snappy, tired, or less able to show you how much she loves you, though she’ll be desperate to. I know I’m not perfect. And it breaks my heart to think of you feeling any less than loved.

I promise I will do everything I can to make you feel safe, loved and happy.

And I promise, as a big sister, who knows all to well the magic that a sibling can bring, that you will love her more than you thought possible. She will drive you mad. She will steal your toys. She will get you into trouble. She’ll baffle you sometimes. But you will love her so much. And one day, when I’m not here, and I’m long gone, and I exist in old letters like this, or family videos, you will have her, and she will have you.

I love you so much little boy. You have filled my days with joy. And I am so grateful that you chose me to be your mother.

You’ll always be my baby. No matter how big you get. No matter what you do.

I look forward to seeing you become a big brother. And to watching my heart grow, as our family grows. But I am sad to say goodbye to this time we’ve had together. The best years of my life.

I don’t know how old you’ll be when you read this. Maybe you’ll stumble across it as a teenager and flush red at the open love your mother had for you. Or maybe this will all disappear into the past, and I will send you this little letter when you are about to welcome your own children.

I don’t know.

But I do know that, wherever I might be, and wherever you are, you are still the light of my life.

I’m always here kiddo.

I love you so much.

Mama.

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