With Henry’s first birthday approaching, I’ve been reflecting over the past year, how it has changed me, how it has given me new experiences. I have been a mother for nearly two years now, and a mother to a living child for almost one. When I look back on the journey we had to get here, this moment, it seems so stark, so distant. I think back to when I saw two lines on the pregnancy test and felt fear instead of excitement, when I cried hot, heavy tears into Matt’s arms, because I was overwhelmed with grief and terror, and felt so lost in my world where innocence had been stolen and replaced with doubt and hesitancy.
I look at Henry and I’m so glad that we dared to hope, that we had the courage to go ahead and try for another baby when we had just lost two. That overwhelming yearn to have life growing inside of me immediately after the boys died, led to Henry. All the fear, the anxiety, it was worth it. I have loved him since before I knew him, from the moment we found out I was pregnant, when he was smaller than a grain of rice, to the months where he grew inside me, in the home where his brothers had resided in just a few months previously. And when he was placed on my chest, newly born, crying that beautiful cry, the world felt right and my heart was flooded with euphoria. That moment – having my living, healthy son, safe in my arms at last – it’s what I had wished for and hoped for with my entire being for what felt like an eternity.
Henry has opened my heart to a new and selfless kind of love. It is so powerful and pure in its infinite existence. For me, there is nothing more life affirming and meaningful than raising my child. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with the gravity of the love I feel for him that it brings me to tears, and I know that all the times I’ve cried over the loss of William and Noah, it was the tears that I will never get to shed through loving them in life as I do with Henry.
There are moments when I look at him – the sweet curve of his button nose, his full lips, his wide blue eyes framed by impossibly long lashes and his tiny dimpled chin – and I think to myself, ‘this is what my son looks like.’ It is profound and intoxicating and mesmerising all at once. After so many years of wondering. I have created him with the person I love and there is nothing more incredible.
I try and think about how I would describe motherhood, and this is what it always comes back to…
It is an honour to be raising my son.
To watch a baby – my baby – develop and grow, each day changing and learning, discovering his personality – it is the most significant and special thing I have ever done. Each day holds wonderment as he experiences new kinds of magic, new joy and triumph. Our days are filled with simple but beautiful moments when I feel so incredibly blessed. The heavy warm weight of his body as he sits on my lap, the softness of his hair as it brushes against my lips, how his little hand reaches for me to steady himself, knowing I will be there to help him.
Even on the difficult days when I am exhausted and Henry won’t let me put him down for a second, when there are plenty of tears, and not enough naps, and I’m counting down the minutes until Matt gets home so I can hand over Henry, there is nothing in the world I would rather be doing than spending every moment with my son. It is easy to get lost in the mundanity of sippy cups and spilled food and the endless plastic toys; the exhaustion, the constant mess. But I know I will look back on these early days of just Henry and I, and I will miss them. And I will be so glad that I was the one to play silly games with him, to change the nappies, to soothe the tears, to show him new things and witness every new first.
A childhood is so fleeting. I want to savour every moment, cherish every kiss. Revel in the feeling of tiny chubby arms wrapping around me, a heavy head resting on my chest. I love how Henry delights in me. That beautiful moment when I enter the room and his face lights up with that sweet little grin of his. I am his entire world, his constant. I hold the irreplaceable role of being his mother. Even when we’re simply being, I know my very presence is comforting for him, nurturing, making him happy. He is right where he belongs. Too soon it will be time for school, and I will no longer be his everything, and those delicious cuddles that make the world seem to stop for a moment won’t come as readily as they once did.
It’s strange, I know he won’t remember these days. The days where it has just been him and I, together every waking moment. He won’t remember sitting together reading books, the tickles and giggles, the silliness during our lunchtimes when we dance and laugh together and I swoosh my hair at him to make him chuckle. He’ll never remember the mummy and son dates to the park and how we gaze into each other’s eyes when we’re curled up cuddling together. He won’t remember all these minutes, these hours, these days filled with enough love to reach the stars. And although I know he won’t remember them, it’s okay because I know they will always be part of him, within the bond that each and every moment has helped create.
It was William and Noah who made me a mother, but it is Henry who has allowed me the experience of being a mother. He is such a blessing. He gave us hope when our hearts had been broken, gave us light in the midst of darkness, and love where only emptiness had been.
His light and energy make my soul soar to the highest of highs. He is purity personified.
He is my happiness, my world.