A Letter to Jesse & Taylor

My Beautiful Baby Boys,

Honestly, I’m not quite sure where I begin. I’ve known I want to write this for you as has been the tradition for all of Bailey’s birthdays, to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper so that one day you might read them back and get a glimpse into the world we existed in when you came to be. But this time, so many times, words have failed me. It’s hard enough for me to accept that my tiny little twinnies are already a whole year old and not really babies any more, but the fact that you are most likely my last is a little hard to bear, and it’s taken me much longer than I thought it would to work through the emotions. But I’m going to try my best to express them, my darlings, so please bear with me…

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite ready for you, boys. Becoming a mother to your big brother was the most wonderful thing, but it also changed me in ways that are hard to explain. Loving him came naturally, but transitioning into a brand new life didn’t. I was catapulted from a world in which I was fiercely independent, came and went as I pleased and filled my days with whatever I wanted, into one where I felt out of my depth. I wasn’t used to being stuck at home, with little or no company. I found it suffocating at times that I couldn’t leave our little village without assistance and I hated feeling like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was the strangest concoction of feeling so utterly happy, yet constantly anxious, scared and uncertain. Anxious that something would swoop in and take this new found happiness away from me. Scared I was doing it all wrong. Uncertain that I could be the mother that my gorgeous little baby deserved. I felt lost, sometimes, and after working so hard to build a confidence in myself and my contribution to the world, it felt very disconcerting. Slowly, your brother and I learned together, and it wasn’t too long before I felt my world coming together again, but even so, when talk of more children came up I felt hesitant. I’d always known I wanted more than one child, but was I ready? Was I capable? Was I good enough? But then I looked at your then 18 month old brother, felt the love I had for him flood my heart, and thought to myself, ‘How could I NOT want to experience this all again?’ And so, on New Years Eve 2020 – after a year unlike any other – we formed a plan that led us to you.

Of course, we never expected it would be not one, but two new babies that would join us less than a year later, and I’m not ashamed to say the news knocked me for six. I was already full of fear that I couldn’t be enough, that I would struggle to find the time, energy and love that two children deserved. So finding out I now had to find a way to split that 3 ways was a shock to say the least. All that confidence I thought I’d built in my abilities as a parent disintegrated as I contemplated just what life would look like with two newborns and a toddler. And there was so much more to consider regarding my pregnancy and birth, it made for a very new and unsettling experience. But it wasn’t all bad. I was painfully aware, now that there would be two of you joining us, that this was likely to be my last pregnancy, so I was determined to soak up every last minute. I did all the things I took for granted and forgot with Bailey. I photographed my growing, changing body. I relished setting up a nursery that you would one day sleep in. I took the time to lie in silence just watching and feeling you move around inside me. I wanted to commit to memory every last moment, and while I was exhausted, sore and full of anxiety by the end, I loved carrying you and didn’t quite feel ready for it to be over.

And then of course came the early days. Just as we imagined, life trying to care for you all at once was tough, and there were many tears and tantrums along the way (mostly mine!) But the overwhelming feeling was one of absolute awe. Your Dad and I at least a few times a day would just stop and stare at you and say, ‘We have two???!!!’ as though we simply couldn’t believe we’d been so lucky. Before you were born I couldn’t quite comprehend that the yet unknown little creatures residing in my belly weren’t actually carbon copies of Bailey, but from the moment you arrived it couldn’t be more obvious, not just because of the way you looked with your silver-white hair and bright blue eyes – your own little personalities shone through too!

“…I may never again feel a baby wriggle inside me or spend long, lazy mornings with my newborn asleep on my chest. But in truth, my journey into motherhood is just beginning. And I can’t think of any companions I’d rather have with me along the way…”

Jesse – you may be the biggest and the strongest of all my babies, seemingly always the first to master a new skill. The speed with which you graduated from shuffling to crawling to cruising the furniture made my head spin and we’re expecting first steps any time now! But you’re also the most sensitive soul of the bunch. You were the one who worried us with your initial weight gain, the one who had us dashing to A&E in the middle of the night when you struggled with the awful bug we all battled with in the first few weeks. It’s always been you that needs that little bit more reassurance from us as you try to grow and tackle life’s challenges on your own, always waking looking for us in the night and needing to feel our touch to go back to sleep. You make me feel truly needed and it’s honestly the most wonderful gift. Even from just a few weeks old you would rest your little head against my shoulder in a way that just made everything else in the world melt away, and still I relish that cuddle every time I pick you up. I love that I have raised curious, brave, independent children, but there will always be a part of me that yearns to feel that love, that sense that I provide a comfort that only I can, and you’ve delivered that in spades. You always know that no two experiences are the same when it comes to raising children, but I thought I’d already experienced all the joys the baby stage had to offer – you proved to me that wasn’t the case. The way your eyes light up when I walk in the room, the way you rush to me and reach out for me, it makes me feel like the most important person on the planet and I’ve never truly felt that before. Thank you, sweet boy.

And Taylor – I will try my hardest not to always refer to you as ‘the baby’ of the family as I’m sure it will annoy the hell out of you when you’re older, but in truth, it’s hard not to think of you that way. Even though you were born just seconds after Jesse you have somehow have been cemented in my mind as my littlest, possibly my last ever, child, and even if you grow to be twice the size of the rest of us I think you always will. It’s hard to look at you now and imagine you were ever as tiny as you were, completely swamped in the ‘tiny baby’ sized clothes we had to buy especially for you. As our little breech baby you remained curled in a little ball for the longest time which only emphasized your teeny frame. It’s almost as though you intentionally made yourself smaller so you could let your brother stretch and grow, and I can envision that is just who you will be in real life too. Always quiet, watching and observing, happy for someone else to shine. But please don’t think that means we don’t see your potential. You may take up less space and attention, but I sense your impact on the world will be wide. You are such a bright little button, and I can feel the kindness inside you already. You take all the time you want, little one. There is no rush and we’ll be here with you every step of the way.

By far the best part though has been getting to watch you learn and grow together. It’s such a special and unique experience, and I can’t wait to see more as you get older. We have had a challenging few weeks with me going back to work and I’m sure it will be an adjustment to us all but we’ll get through it together. I’m finding it hard for sure to accept that the baby days are behind us, perhaps forever – it seems so cruel that I waited so long for you all only for it to be over so fast. But I’m also so excited to watch our family bond and establish itself. I’ve realised as I’ve been working through all these emotions that I’ve been treating this ‘end’ as something bigger – and end to motherhood itself as opposed to just a transition into a new stage. And in some ways it feels apt – I may never again feel a baby wriggle inside me or spend long, lazy mornings with my newborn asleep on my chest. But in truth, my journey into motherhood is just beginning. And I can’t think of any companions I’d rather have with me along the way. You, your Dad, your brother – you have brought a sense of contentment to my life that I never thought possible, and for that I will always be truly grateful.

Happy belated birthday, twinnies. And here’s to the million of memories we have left to make together.

I love you,

Photos c/o Lumiere Photography

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