To my baby daddy

Dear J,

Here are some thoughts for you,

In this our happiest week.

We have been given the greatest joy of all,

We have a new baby to keep.

We are now the parents of a gorgeous babe,

Who has come our life to bless.

To heal the wounds from tougher times,

And bring us happiness.

Although you’ve always held my heart,

As you have ever known.

It seems that with my new motherhood,

This love has ever grown.

On the loss of a baby

One of my best friends babies died a year ago. He was beautiful and it was an incredibly traumatic time. It’s not a poem, but I wanted to share the letter I wrote to him here. I wrote it just after he died, for his mum to keep in his memory box. She was an incredible mum for that short period, and I think of them both every day when I am lucky enough to be playing with my own little boy.

Dear T, 

As I am awkward (as us silly adults are) I do not know where or how to begin this little letter to you. I can’t sleep even though I’d like to (weird isn’t it- we are strange, these adults) so I’ve been thinking about you and looking at photos of you, your mummy, and your daddy from over the last couple of months. In all the photos of you, I can’t help but notice that you have star – like eyes, eyes that could definitely light up a room all on their own. How clever are you! They are enormous, dark, and shiny with life. These eyes were just as brilliant in person when I had the privilege to hang out with you and your mummy the other day. Even though you only gave me a sneaky glimpse of them as our boring girly catch up lulled you to sleep. 

It is very hard to comprehend, lovely little T, but as of last Thursday we can now only see these eyes in photos. Us adults are too silly to understand this and how it has happened, we of course aren’t as clever as you. Were those eyes going to cause the girls too much trouble as teenagers? I don’t know why and probably never will, but I do know that your eyes shine bright like stars, lighting up the sky that I’m looking at right now over Brighton, where your mummy first felt you kick. Your feisty, intelligent little soul is now entwined with your family’s, their hearts heavy and own eyes full of sorrow.

I wanted to have a little chat with you really, to tell you how your mummy is doing as your eyes have shone down on her over the past few days. She’s missing you so desperately (how could anyone not?), she’s rightly so angry, she’s furious as the world and whoever for deciding that these eyes that she created were too bright for here.  

What would you say to your mummy if you could talk to her now? Can you help me out, as I think you may have just the right words to say? (Adults really aren’t very good at this, you see). Remember she’s a fiery cookie just like you (oh yes, I remember just how strong your little grasp was around my finger when we met, don’t think I didn’t notice) so tread carefully dear T!

I know we only met for one super special afternoon, but I sussed you out young man- I reckon you’d gaze up at your mummy with those heartbreaker eyes and you would tell her that come on woman, you haven’t left her, not really. Mummy can’t see you with her eyes anymore, but she can feel you everywhere, just until you get to be snuggled in her arms again. You’d tell her that the passing of time for you is nothing like time for us silly adults. It will feel like minutes for you, the time until your mummy is with you again, which is of course where she aches to be. It feels so much longer for us, T. 

Your mummy and I, as you could probably work out from our ranting the other day, go back a pretty long way. As I do with your lovely dad and grandparents. They are awesome, your family. Well obviously, you say- they made you and those all – knowing eyes.

Even though I don’t know half as much as you do about the world and how this all works, I do know that your mummy right now feels absolutely lost, half dead, with the other half of her lying still with you right now. I know that you’d like to tell your mummy that that side of her too at some point in the future will be lifted with you, so not dead, sore, bitter and lonely. That by that point, this part of her will still be next to you (always), yet able to look on and smile at your precious time together and your major part in your mummy and daddy’s future. It takes a very long time to get to this point when you love someone so, so much though T, so do be patient with your mummy. 

Often she will drift around like she has a lead weight attached to her, weighed down by the reality of what life has so completely unfairly thrown at her, but T, don’t worry, that’s when her family and friends will be there for her. That’s our job. By the way, until then you have a job too. My mum (that’s your new friend Aunty J, who got on like a house on fire with your mummy) will be getting up to plenty of mischief with you- but watch her, she cheats at Scrabble. 

All my love always,

xxxxxxxx

Funeral words

This is the poem that I wrote for my mum’s funeral a couple of years ago. I don’t love it- it’s too simple and it doesn’t encapsulate the intensely loving but complicated relationship that we had. However, as I had to read it aloud at the funeral it needed to be appropriate for a public reading.

Thank you, Mum.

Thank you, Jen.

Three small words.
So much to pen.

The ultimate wife, Mum, and Nanna too,
This is how we will remember you.
To thank you for all the love,
and all the support,
a thousand words
would be just too short.

The words, “We love you”
Are just too few
to do justice to the love
Your ‘entourage’ will always have for you.

You taught us all strength and were stoic ’til the end,
Never putting yourself first instead.

A more selfless woman would be impossible to find,
And in your heart, you were nothing but kind.

We could never, ever, have had enough time with you,
You were too lovely, funny, brave and true

For everyone you met, you gave your absolute best,
Now the time has come Mum for you to rest.

Our family is just so fortunate to have had you- and you will live
on in everything that we do.

Thank you Mum,
Thank you Jen.

Alone

Not physically- your dad is there, worrying, supporting, caring, loving.
Rubbing my back.
But I’m so alone, more alone than ever before. Alone in this body.
And frightened. Frightened with an intensity not felt before.

You’re early! It can’t be time. You’ll so go overdue! He’ll be at least two weeks late!

If I’d have known it was you about to arrive in the world
I’d have been excited, overwhelmed, desperate to hold you
But I didn’t know you yet, so I was just scared.

Terrified in fact. Waves of terror rushing over me with every surge of contraction forcing you down.
Writhing on the living room carpet,
Crying in the bath
Alone, alone, alone in the pain and fear
Overwhelming every fibre of my being

Car, hospital, people everywhere
Your dad there through everything, speaking for me when I no longer could
But so alone
Bleeding, bleeding, searing pain
No doctor so no drugs. Anger.
Feeling every agonising shift you made edging further down inside me

Then you emerge
My beautiful, beautiful boy
On a beautiful Brighton summers day
Bloody, swollen and battered- you looked just like I felt
Black eyes looking wide eyed at me through the blood

No pain now- just calm
Elation- no more fear
Just a dad holding a bloodied baby in a lilac shawl
Staring in shock at those big black eyes
And me watching them both, in wonder
No longer alone.

Climbing the walls

These four walls
All day, every day.
Same room, different angle
Same room, different activity
Feeding, playing, reading
Changing, wiping, tidying
Mess everywhere
Activity, clean, tidy
Activity, clean, tidy
Try to get out- baby’s asleep
Try to get out- baby needs feeding
Try to get out- baby needs changing
Try to get out- baby’s having a meltdown
People offer to visit- too messy, too stressed.
NEED TO GET OUT.

Newborn

Bone sucking
Bone crunching
Bone breaking
Knackered.

Head splitting
Head breaking
Head cracking
Knackered.

Mind blowing
Mind crushing
Mind wrecking
Knackered.

Eyes blearing
Eyes fading
Eyes burning
Knackered.

Skin thinning
Skin erupting
Skin thirsting
Knackered.

Secret

Sitting in long meetings or languishing in bed,
I am often reminded that I am not alone.
A doll-like hand, elbow or knee
pushing and twisting where no one can see.
Here he goes! Kicking up his heels. This little secret that only I can feel.
I’m eager for you to appear,
So I can finally see your face.
but for now I will just enjoy,
As you learn new inside moves apace.