This is not Reya’s first Christmas, but it is the first Christmas that she has some awareness of. She refers to all the Christmas decorations in store fronts as “chrissy-mas mess” and is so delighted by it all. She knows about snow, and snowmen, and christmas trees. She hasn’t quite got to grips with Santa Claus, and this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. How do I feel about this? What the purpose in perpetuating this fantasy for my child? Is this lie worth it? What do my children gain from this?
Shortly after I gave birth to my stillborn daughter Mia, my husband and I were given the difficult task of picking a place to scatter her ashes. And though this task was both tragic and morbid, we somehow found ourselves embracing it for what it was. We knew that this would be one of the only things we get to do for our daughter as her parents. All our other parental responsibilities that we so longingly dreamed about, were stolen from us.
In this video I talk a little bit about some of the principles and values that really guide my husband and I in how we raise Reya.
Thank you so much for watching!
Ever since Reya turned one in January, I had been meaning to share my thoughts and experiences of one year of motherhood. Since Mother’s day was just a few days ago, I thought I would sit down and recollect the peaks and valleys of this new life of mine.
And it is an absolutely new life for me. The day my baby was born, a mother was born too. It has not always been an easy journey. Motherhood has stretched me and grown me, and I will share with you my honest and uncensored feelings about some of the more challenging aspects of being a new parent too. Nevertheless, as deliriously exhausting as it is, this new phase of my life has been indescribably rewarding.
I have accompanied this blog post with some of my favourite mama-daughter photographs that Reya and I have taken together.
You’re a sky full of stars,
I’m gonna give you my heart,
you’re a sky, you’re a sky full of stars,
because you light up the path,
I don’t care, go on tear me apart,
I don’t care if you do,
Because in a sky full of stars,
I think I saw you.
(A sky full of stars – Coldplay)
My little girl,
Today we wake up in the morning as we always do, with kisses and cuddles and milk and giggles. But this morning is different, because today is your first birthday. You are ONE.
It is a quiet Monday morning, snow has fallen over night and has settled softly around our home, a pale white light leaks through the windows and spills onto us. Your warm body laying on my chest. I am home to you. And you are home to me now too. I remind you that your father is at work now but that he kissed your forehead and whispered “Happy birthday my 1 year old girl” into your ear while you slept, right before he left in the morning. We listen to your birthday song – forever young by Bob Dylan. You are still sleepy so you lay quietly on me while I pour all my love onto you as you get ready to greet the day. To greet your day. This is your day. Every day is.
I find myself stumbling rather ungracefully into the new year. I stepped back into my routines of daily life here in Toronto with a sudden thud. I feel out of sorts, and I just can’t seem to get a grip on anything. They say there are years that question and years that answer. 2018 was an answer. 2019 is a year of question, I can already feel it. Things feel unsettled and haphazard. I completed a mandalam of 40 days of shambavi maha mudra in the early new year. I had expected that it would bring me to a more centered and grounded space, and yet to be quite honest with you, everything feels blurry and confused. I have to believe that the practice gives me what I need most for my spiritual growth. The last time I had completed this mandalam, I discovered I was pregnant and then went on to lose my baby, which ended up being a significant and poignant, but no less beautiful occurrence in my life. Perhaps what I need most for my growth right now is a more potent dose of life, rather than something slow and grounded and centered.
My daughter turned 6 months two days ago. 6 months of her. My life feels almost unrecognizable now. Everything is new – for the both of us. I felt this was a good time to reflect on the days following her birth – a precious time of my life that was equally chaotic as it was sacred – imprinted into the fabric of my soul forever more.
When I was pregnant with Reya, I attended the high risk maternity clinic every 1-2 weeks. During one of these appointments, as I walked down the hallway, I saw that the door to one of the examination rooms was open. Inside, there was a couple; the woman was sobbing into her hands, her husband’s eyes were dark and wet, and he was holding her.
I felt that woman’s pain that day, and I will always feel her pain. Because I was her, not too long ago. And I am coming to realize that no matter how much time passes, I will never be too far from that pain. The pain of losing your child.