If you are new to the Red Tent, you may not know that my daughter was a
to put it mildly.
When I was pregnant, I used to refer to her as an accident, sometimes a mistake, until a friend suggested that ‘surprise’ is a much more loving word to use.
Anyway, friends, today is very special because this day exactly one year ago was Bathroom Thursday, the day I got surprised.
You guys, I’m not good with surprises, unless they come in the form of parties or presents, so it’s no surprise that I spent a good chunk of the following 9 months under a fair amount of emotional intensity. When I sat myself down and fully absorbed the new path I found myself on, my insides would fling themselves between excitement and gratitude to panic and incredible self doubt. And when my insides finally rested at night, it was mostly a quiet nervousness which would remain. It would lie with me, this nervousness, and I’d press my face into my pillow hoping with all my heart that I’d be enough.
The first time I laid eyes on my baby I didn’t feel overwhelming love like they talk about. All I remember thinking was this is so weird. Suddenly there was a new little person being placed in my arms who did not exist before and that had just come out of me. Honestly, it felt so utterly strange. Completely surreal. I was shell-shocked, and quite lost for words.
I bonded with her immediately, in that a ferocious protectiveness boiled up from inside me and spilled over to shield her like a ring of bulletproof fencing. But, for me, it took time to fall in love with her. It took time to know her and feel her and truly love her. Like, down to my bones. Because that first moment she was placed in my arms, there was no way I could possibly have known.
I couldn’t know that there would be moments which would make me want to drop to my knees in gratitude and melt in disbelief about how a girl like me could ever have gotten so lucky.
I couldn’t know that all my self-doubt was needless. That I’d worry and worry only to find that it was, in fact, she who handled me.
I couldn’t know that there would be times I’d be dancing in the lounge room with her, tears pouring from my eyes because my heart could not contain this love for a second longer.
I couldn’t know that there would be days she would fight to go to sleep, and I would be there right beside her. I’d be watching her watch me and slowly, slowly she’d give up her fight. She would begin to close her heavy eyes as though she trusted me enough to let go. That she felt safe enough. That she knew I’d still be here when she came back.
I couldn’t know that when she’d wake again, I would walk to her bed and when her eyes fell on my face, she would smile so big it was like the sun just exploded from her face and I’d want to clasp my hands to my chest and thank my lucky stars that she was mine.
I couldn’t know that when she would feed, her eyes would fix on me and her hand would search out for mine so she could wrap her tiny fingers around me so tightly as if to say thank you.
I couldn’t know that just by holding her in my arms, she’d stop crying. And I couldn’t have known that it were moments like these which made me realize that I was, in fact, enough.
I couldn’t possibly have known what life with her would feel like.
And I couldn’t possibly have known that, now, life without her seems impossible.
So, Ella Squeaky Bella, thank you.
Thank you for surprising me.
Thank you for filling my heart up to the brim.
Thankyou for opening me right open.
And most of all,
Thank you for turning me into a mother.
I will love you forever.
And Bathroom Thursday, happy one year anniversary.
Turns out, you were the best day of my life.