To my B,
This is, I hope, the first of many letters I shall write to you over the coming years. What they shall contain is currently a mystery, but I envisage them being full of memories, thoughts, feelings and maybe even some advice?! There is so much that has happened and will happen that you aren’t and won’t be aware of. What better way to share these things with you than to write them down for you to have when you are ready for them.
This being the first, I feel it should be something epic and meaningful! After all, 18 months have now passed since you entered our world and turned it upside down. That’s a lot of stuff to fit into one letter, so I won’t try to cover all of it in one go! Especially as some of the things that have happened over that time will require their own, special letters. For this first one, I’ll go right back to the beginning. I say the beginning, but this journey started for us long before your ‘beginning’. We decided that we wanted to extend our family but then had 4 very long years of waiting for you to turn up – as we are discovering, you like to take your time over the important things in life (18 months and only just walking, and still no talking!) – and those 4 years were tough. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as awful as it could have been – others have it a lot worse. In comparison to people we know and stories we have heard, ours wasn’t full of the heartache that some have to face on their journey to becoming parents. That doesn’t mean we didn’t struggle – when you want something so desperately and no matter what you do and try nothing seems to work, it’s really difficult. There were days when I felt so guilty for not being able to make your Daddy a Daddy that all I could do was sit and cry. And days when I so desperately wanted to hear the words “You’re going to be a Mum” that I wasn’t able to function or concentrate on anything else. It got to the point where we’d given up – we decided to treat ourselves to lots of expensive holidays and get a dog. Not quite the same, but we felt we’d pressed the pause button on our lives for too long – we had to face the fact we weren’t going to be parents and try and live a different life to the one we had hoped for. And then, after feeling sick for a few weeks and still waiting for Aunt Flo to appear (I’ll explain all about that when you are older!) I had a conversation one night with my two best friends that went something like this:
“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”
“Well, I haven’t done a test, as I doubt I am and I don’t think I can face another negative result” “But it’s your Wedding Anniversary tomorrow – you can’t go away for the weekend, eat and drink what you like without doing a test to make sure”.
“Just do. The. Test.”
So I did. On the morning of our 5th Wedding Anniversary. I won’t tell you what I said when the result was positive – you should most definitely not be using words like that – but needless to say, it was a reaction of shock, disbelief and utter amazement! I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. So I went and bought 3 more tests and did 2 of them. And the result was the same. Definitely pregnant. Then, what I should have done of course was phone your Daddy and tell him. But it’s not really the sort of thing you tell someone over the phone while they are at work: “You know the news you’ve been waiting 4 years to hear? Well, it’s happened. You are going to be a Dad”. I couldn’t do it like that – I wanted to see his face when I told him. But, I needed to tell someone – to have them reassure me it was true. So I phoned one of the friends I was with the night before and said “If I’ve done 3 pregnancy tests, and they are all positive, does that mean I am actually pregnant?” After her reassurances that yes, I was, I then thought about how I would tell your Daddy.
He arrived home at lunch time, I didn’t say anything. He changed and packed the car for our weekend away. I didn’t say anything. We drove the 45 minute journey to where we were staying. I didn’t say anything, despite him asking me if everything was ok as I was a bit quiet. We got to the hotel, checked in and found our room. I didn’t say anything. There was a bottle of champagne waiting for us and he asked if I wanted a glass. I said “I better give you this first” and handed him an envelope. Inside it was a card. The card said on the front: “Happy Christmas, Daddy”
(as you know, our Anniversary is in December). Inside the card there was a printed photo I had taken of the positive pregnancy tests. His face was, at first, confused. And then when he read the card which explained what would be happening in about 8 months time, the reality started dawning on him. The joy I felt in that moment is indescribable. I was, at last, able to give him the one thing I had wanted to for such a long, long time – the gift of being a Daddy.
Needless to say, I didn’t drink any champagne that weekend. And I don’t think your Daddy has ever quite forgiven me for the fact that he wasn’t the first person I told about you! I did the other test I had bought the next morning so there was even more evidence for us, as it still hadn’t really sunk in that it was true. In fact, through my whole pregnancy I found it very strange actually being able to say the words “I’m pregnant”. It felt so surreal! And then to actually allow myself to say the words “I’m having a baby” as the time of your arrival grew nearer – well, my heart swelled a little every time I did that. You, my darling girl, are the most precious gift we could ever have asked for. And we are very, very lucky to have you. You took your time, but you were well worth the wait.
Love Mummy xxx
This beautiful letter was written by Nicky Robinson for her daughter Bethany. You can read more of Nicky’s work on her blog.
Artwork featured on the homepage was created by Wonder & Rah for Mère Soeur’s ‘The Art of Motherhood’ colouring book, a collection of all-girl illustrations based around the ‘themes of motherhood and symbols of sisterhood’. All profits go to Home Start, a leading UK family support charity helping vulnerable families provide a better life for their children.