My dear little sis. Your belly is swollen and your walk slower. Your bra size has wildly overcome mine, and you old clothes don’t fit anymore. You have life growing in you; you’ve heard her heartbeat and can see her kicks in your tummy daily. You know she will be here soon. But do you know how much your life is going to change? Do you know what is waiting for you at the end of the labour process?
Unthinkable, unimaginable, all consuming love. A type you’ve not known before. A type that will crash into you like a wave on a windy day, with full force and a pressure you weren’t expecting. You will cry with joy, with pain, and with tiredness, over this little bundle who will be placed in your arms in only a few more weeks. And she will be yours. And she will make you a Mum. She will turn you and Michael into parents.
I could continue to try and explain this feeling of having your heart on the outside of your body… or being linked to another person’s needs in a way you didn’t know existed, but I can’t. You will experience it soon enough. And your experience of it will be different to mine. And different to your friends… and will be this little secret that only you two share. That is why Motherhood is so bloody special.
What I can say is how excited I am that we will finally be on the same road again. For so many years of our lives we have been doing the same things at the same time. Only 17 months apart we reached many milestones simultaneously, or shortly after one another. We were only a year apart at school, were at University at the same time and even ended up working at the same school. So we understood each other’s existence.
And although you have been a wonderfully supportive sister, and an amazing Aunty to Raff, it’s not the same. I just can’t wait for you to experience it. And for us to share a look or a word that only other mums understand. Other mum’s who are also sisters. Sisters who are also friends. Friends who enjoy so many of the best things about life… chocolate, coffee, literature and teaching.
This will be the best thing we share.
And do you know what? I can’t wait to become an Aunty! You are going to make me one for the very first time. How special. The way Raff talks about you is unique, he knows you are different from some of my friends… I can’t wait to be that for your baby girl.
You cried when you held him for the first time. I wonder how it will feel for me. Holding your child. A new member of our family. Raff’s first cousin.
MEMORIES: Raff 1st week, keeping me company while Daniel was away, and at Raff’s 1st birthday
I have to be honest here too little sis… it will be the hardest time of your life. If only for the reason that you will never feel like you have had enough sleep, among other things, you will feel like a novice. A newbie. An employee on her first day of work trying to navigate a situation you’ve never found yourself in before. If you’re anything like me, and I know you are, you like feeling in control, and enjoy a feeling of competence in what you do. Your baby girl, who will fill you with crazy amounts of joy, will also challenge you and make you feel incapable… if even for only a passing moment. A collection of seconds will add up and you will feel unsure of your role, of who you are and what you are meant to be doing. But, don’t worry… you are not alone. Even the most chilled Earth Mother’s in this world feel this way every now and then (I think!), just remember… this too shall pass… this feeling of inadequacy, of failure, or tiredness, or frustration. It will pass. And something will happen that makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world. That makes you feel like this is exactly who you are meant to be. A smile, eye contact that shows recognition, hands reaching for your face … first words. They will remind you that you are a Mum. Her Mum, and that you are growing just as she is, and that you are not meant to know how to do everything on day 1. It’s a journey of growth for you, for her, for Michael.
Enjoy it, because it goes so quick. Not on those nights early on when she is cluster feeding, or cutting her first tooth… but in the bigger sense. I’m about 95% sure we won’t have another child… so when I see old baby photos of Raff, videos of him gooing and gaahing… my uterus contracts. It was such a special time. Enjoy it. And, I might just live it vicariously through you again.
So, for you, my little sister, I wish you luck for what is to come next. I promise to ask how you are and not just your baby. I promise to bring coffee every time I visit. I promise to put food in your freezer and hold my niece so you can shower. I promise I wont judge, and I promise to support your journey into the world of Motherhood as best I can. We will be adding another amazing human to these photos soon.