As I write you this letter, you are 3 weeks old, and nestled up close to me. And I want to tell you something. I want to put pen to paper, and write down the beginning of your story. And your story begins with us. We are your parents. Your father is a kind man. He is loving and courageous and golden and true. He protects my heart and in so many ways, it is because of him that I am the woman I am today. And I am your mother. I don’t much know how I would describe myself, but I get the feeling I won’t have to. We have a lifetime of getting to know each other. Your father and I found a big love in our togetherness, and this is what you were made from, and are born into.
And you have a sister too and her name is Mia. But she died after living for 25 weeks in my womb. We got to meet her on the day that she was quietly born on a rainy afternoon in March, and that was the day that I first became a mother. You look just like your sister Mia – I often think that when I watch you sleep beside me. The same, but different – the way all sisters are. I don’t know if you believe in guardian angels, but if you do, I believe that we got to hold ours in our arms and that is no ordinary thing.
And in many ways your story begins with your sister, because she is woven into the fabric of our family. And in some ways your life is connected to death, but this is not a bad thing. I believe it is a beautiful thing. It was the gift your sister gave to us – the opportunity to know how precious life really is. How precious your life is to us.
And so, we are your family, but you probably know that already. I like to believe that you chose us, that we chose each other. We are silly and imperfect and we’re just trying to figure things out, and we get a lot of things wrong sometimes – but, there is a lot of joy and peace within us.
After Mia died, we were desperate to have you. When we saw those two glorious blue lines, I felt a sense of relief and fullness again. But I was scared, and somehow my heart felt muted, afraid to crack open again. Your father’s heart had also been wounded in the last year after losing Mia, so he was quiet and cautious, but still smiling and warm and hopeful. And so you came to life, each cell awakening, sparkling, connecting.
We had appointments at the hospital every 2 weeks and we watched you grow so closely. These ultrasound appointments were difficult for us, because they brought up so many memories of the last time – when the room turned dark and a trapped door in my heart was pulled out from beneath me. My chest would feel tight and teardrops collected behind my eyes in preparation for heartbreak.
For the first 15 weeks of growing you, I couldn’t trust that there was life within me. Every appointment we went to, I expected to hear that I was miscarrying, that the baby was gone. And yet at every appointment, we saw the resilient flutter of your heartbeat instead. We started to fall in love with your dancing pixels on the screen. We watched you grow from a little grain of rice to the wriggling, bouncy, hiccuping little baby that you are now.
With you, the dim examination room became lighter and lighter. The doctors and nurses smiled. They started using words like “good” and “optimistic.”
At 15 weeks I felt your first movement. Just a small tap, but my heart and my body remembered it so well from the last time. As the weeks went by, you became stronger and stronger. Your taps turned into swirls and rolls and I could feel your little arms and legs swimming around within me. You quickly learned your fathers voice, and would move as soon as he would talk to you or sing to you. I loved watching your father’s face every time you responded to him. It’s a kind of joy that I haven’t seen in him before.
When I first felt you move, it felt like magic. A life within me, that is a part of me, yet belongs completely to itself. I would wake in the morning with your gentle taps. And how I loved you. You, coming to life, and bringing me with you.
On the day that you were born, when you cried, I cried. There is nothing in the world like looking into the face of your child on her first day on earth. When I saw you for the first time, there was a moment of emptiness, like a vacuum, and then suddenly a rush a raw, pure and intense emotion rise up from somewhere deep inside me. You unlocked a part of me that I had never known before. I wept and wept. It was a truly, indescribably beautiful moment of my life.
Reya, I know that I am your mother and I gave birth to you, but in so many ways I feel like it is you who brought me into this world, it is you who brought me to my whole self.
I am so looking forward to sharing this journey of life together. Of exploring and discovering and experiencing the world through fresh, newborn eyes with you. I’m new to this – not just motherhood, but to so many parts of life, and I don’t know if I have much I can teach you, but I know that we have so much to learn together, and so much beauty to behold.
I need you to know that you belong. Not only to us, your parents. But you belong to yourself. You belong to this world. You belong to love. I hope that you will always feel at home within yourself.
My wish for you, Reya, is that you don’t waste a moment of this life. Because one thing I know for sure is that we only have this one short, magnificent, wild life. It can be as magic as you make it. And I can’t wait for you to see it.
With all my love,
Music in the video:
A love like this – Kodaline
Promise – Ben Howard