I’m not entirely sure how to start, what to call you.
Since Squidge’s arrival we’re completely different people.
That’s right, you call him Squidge.
And other things you don’t need to worry about right now.
A year apart we are different now, you and I but not for the reasons you think. The reasons that you can’t stop thinking about, that paralyse you with fear and misery and despair.
Yes, you’re tired.
No, you didn’t know it was possible to be so tired.
No, night shifts are not sufficient practice for sleep deprivation.
You are still you and you are still here.
Talking of night shifts, guess what?
You made it back to work.
After thinking that having a baby would be the end of your career, that you’d never cope with being a nurse and a Mummy actually you can.
You’re not a stay at home Mum. There’s nothing wrong with being a stay at home Mum if it’s your choice but you were worried that it would be inevitable; that after being off sick for so long and then taking maternity leave that you just wouldn’t have the courage to return.
But you do and you’re doing pretty well with the whole work/home/baby/Mummy/sanity balancing thing if I do say so myself.
Is that even a word? Spell check doesn’t think so.
Things aren’t easy but then we’ve never looked for an easy life.
Easy is boring.
You do have less time to spend with the Northern one and I know that you worry about that. I know you think he’ll take one look at Squidge and that’ll be it; that he’ll love him so much that there won’t be room for you.
That he’ll suddenly realise how difficult and demanding and ugly you’ve been these last nine months.
That he’ll hate you for even thinking that you might not be able to love Squidge.
I know you hate yourself for that.
But I think you need this, horrible and frightening and difficult as it is. I think you need the pain and the fear and the doubt so that you can come out of the other side and be stronger for it, stronger because you have survived against all the odds and everything stacked against you.
I think you needed to try and leave Squidge at the hospital so that you realise that you can be his Mummy, that you want to be his Mummy.
I know you’ll be ashamed of what you tried to do.
That I still am.
The guilt of the mere thought of abandoning him, even just for that one hour. You didn’t even really abandon him, you left him with his Daddy while you hid and tried to sort out the tangled, woolly mess that passed for your brain in those first few days.
You love him now and you loved him then, you just didn’t realise it yet and that is all that’s important. He will never know what you went through those first days, your thoughts and feelings. He will grow up secure in your love, never doubting that you will always be his Mummy.
You love him.
Where you are now you think that can’t possibly true. How can any sort of love, anything good at all come from all of this?
You wonder how I’ve managed to turn into one of those blithe, well-meaning but rage-inducing people who spout platitudes like “It’ll all be worth it in the end” because they can’t accept that there could possibly be another outcome.
That the truth is so harsh, so ugly that they can’t even think it.
You think you’re a monster.
That there’s something so inherently wrong with you.
You think you’re alone
You think you deserve to be alone.
None of these things are true.
You wonder how long it will take before people start to give up, when they realise that they can pour all of their love into you and see nothing come of it. You wonder when your husband will leave, when your family will disown you, when your friends will pretend that you don’t exist.
You wonder if there can be a funeral if there’s no one there to mourn.
None of these things are true.
You can’t see it now but you will.
You will see past the fear and the pain and the doubt and into the future of this new life that you will bring safely into the world.
I can see him right now, your beautiful little boy. If you could only see him, this being you’ve created, that you’ve raised to be secure and happy.
He’s so happy.
No one wakes up every morning with such a smile on their face if they’re not happy.
You’ve made that happen.
The person who has taken everything life threw at you and carried on, even though you just wanted it all to stop, for it all to be over.
For the lights to go out that last time so you could just rest. But you didn’t rest, you who is deserving of love, who is not a monster, who is not alone and never will be, you kept on going.
You think that the day Squidge arrives will be the end but it won’t.
It will be the beginning.
And I will be there, waiting.
With all my Love