My Darling Squidge
Before you were born I was determined that you wouldn’t sleep in bed with Daddy and me. This was partly because I was terrified of squashing you but also because I didn’t want us to be one of those families where everyone sleeps in the same bed for years, despite the parents being desperate for a bit of time and space to themselves. So Daddy and I decorated your lovely bedroom and placed your beautiful crib at the side of our bed so that when you were tiny you would be close to us but that you would also learnt to sleep on your own.
Then on that night after we bought you home and you wouldn’t go to sleep in your crib at the side of our bed I picked you up and cuddled you in our bed for the very first time. I barely slept that night because I was so frightened that you’d get too hot or that if I drifted off my arms relaxed and I would drop you. I kept trying to put you back in your crib but each time you cried and so in the end I resigned myself to the fact that, despite my plans, you were sleeping with me.
That first night seemed very long and in the morning both Daddy and I were exhausted but we had survived. You were fed and warm and safe and even though I knew that you would be safest sleeping in your crib, I was so happy that you had settled in my arms and gone to sleep with your face snuggled into my chest and your little head tucked under my chin.
After that first time I bought you into bed with me every morning after Daddy had gone to work. I would feed you and the put on some relaxing music and we would cuddle up together, just you and me, sometimes for hours. I didn’t sleep during those cuddles, instead I just lay there with my eyes closed, breathing in the smell of your soft baby hair and listening to the tiny, dreaming noises that you made.
As you got bigger, when you woke up in morning you wanted to start playing and exploring straight away. There were mornings when I would cry because I was so tired and I would have done almost anything to have just one more of those sleepy cuddles but at the same time I was so proud of the bright, independent little boy that you were becoming. But even though you’re growing so fast, there are still times when you need to snuggle up in bed with me with me as though you’re a tiny baby once more.
Last night you woke up and cried and when I went upstairs to your bedroom I found you standing up in your cot, still half asleep. You reached up for me and when I picked you up you buried your head into my shoulder and held onto me tightly. I thought maybe you’d had a bad dream or were just frightened from waking up in the dark so I asked you “Shall we go and cuddle in Mummy’s big bed?” I carried you across the landing, making sure that I left the light on and then we got into my bed . I tucked your blankets around you, made sure you had your teddy to snuggle and then I curled my body around you to keep you safe and protect you from anything that scared you.
I nestled my face in your soft hair, breathing you in and watching as your eyes grew heavy and you drifted back off to sleep. I thought back to those early days when I was first beginning to know you and learning what it meant to be your Mummy and how wonderful and difficult and heart breaking and life affirming the last 16 months have been. There have been days where I have watched you in wonder, nights where I have truly believed that my life was over and all the other times in between.
During my pregnancy I honestly didn’t know if my heart was big enough to love you or how on earth you were going to fit into my life. Becoming your Mummy hasn’t been easy and I still spend most days wondering whether I’m good enough or try hard enough or love you as much as you deserve. Each and every day is filled with joy and doubts and the nagging suspicion that, try as I might, my best efforts simply aren’t going to cut it.
I’m the first to admit that I’m doing this Mummy thing on a wing and a prayer, not knowing what the next day will bring, never mind the future. There are plenty of things that I don’t know about being your Mummy and I know that the day will come when you ask me something that I don’t know the answer to or you have a problem that I don’t know how to fix.
But there is one thing I know for certain and that is no matter how big and brave you become my darling, there will always be room in my arms, in my heart and in Mummy’s big bed, for you.
All My Love
Louise is a full time mum and a part time neonatal nurse who has battled depression for many years but particularly during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss.
In 2015 she was shortlisted in the ‘Fresh Voice’ category for the BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards and the ‘Bereavement Worker’ category for the Butterfly Awards. She was also one of the keynote speakers at BritMums Live reading’Twinkle Twinkle’ which was her account of caring for a premature baby on the day that he died.