The Uncomfortably Familiar Surrounding of the Hospital Ward No Longer Sits Well With Me.


The moment you arrived in this world, those nine weeks prematurely, was the moment I knew our journey was going to be jaggered. 

Your Brother had done very little to prepare us for a poorly child, he’d not once been ill in the 9 months prior to your birth. We left ward 10 of UHND skipping with positivity, marvelling in the miracle of life. Only to return somewhat nine months later anticipating your eager arrival. The car journey to hospital with your brother was full of excitement and readiness – and even though he arrived three weeks early, we were both mentally and physically prepared. My pregnancy APP had told me that he was officially ‘full term’ and had done all the growing and developing he’d need to in my womb. The car journey second time round was not so clear cut. The feelings we experienced were completely worlds apart! With you, there was so much to fear, so much at stake of losing. We were told there was a chance you wouldn’t survive and although we were compelled not to believe this would be our reality, we couldn’t deny that this could be our truth. 


It took 5 weeks before we could skip down the corridor, focusing positively on your future. 5 weeks of getting to witness just how miraculous growing life could be. We physically saw your eyes unpeel, your lungs grow stronger. In a conflicting sort of way, it was a privilege to see.  Once those 5 weeks were over, we had visions of plain sailing from then on out, to wave goodbye to UHND once and for all. We had visions of routine check-ups going exactly as the should…no hiccups, no complications, no more reasons to worry.

I wished for this so much.

Your 1st Year of life saw us returning to hospital almost as much as we were away. Your lungs just didn’t seem ready to cope with any common childhood bug you encountered. I spent many nights watching the sats machine, praying you’d turn a corner. I sat in the darkness of the hospital room, feeling all too uncomfortably familiar within my surroundings. The smells, the noises, the chaos and commotion just felt so much like the beginning of your life. I started to feel as though maybe this was just going to be part of your jaggered journey.


Almost as quickly as I admitted that, you suddenly seemed to flourish. Your lungs appeared to be coping with the demands of toddlerhood, we rarely used your inhaler and started to believe you were over the worst of it.

That’s not to say your trips to the Hospital came to an end. During this time, we came to realise you had Cerebral Palsy. The MRI scans, blood tests, kidney scans, hip X-rays, hearing tests and optometrist appointments just seemed to replace the late night ventures to A&E. on top of your ECG scans and routine paediatric visits, we began to see regular physio appointments, hydrotherapy, and occupational health. We became more aware than ever that UHND was always going to play a role in your childhood. This, however, all seemed manageable. The trips were expected and planned, we knew when you were going, how long you would attend and always that you’d be back home in time for bed. Most appointments were promising and we left with a sense of direction and confidence in your consultants. You were moving in the right direction. Every visit, every scan or X-ray shed some much needed light on how we could get you to where you needed to be. The familiarity of the hospital ward was certainly diminishing.

Then you turned two and things just seemed to turn upside down. 


You even started your 2nd Birthday poorly! We awoke on the 30th November 2016 to find you covered head to toe in Chicken Pox. You were irritable and understandably agitated but like we’d grown to expect, you appeared no different to any other toddler. It wasn’t until two weeks after your Birthday – a week before Christmas – that the late night rushes to A&E returned to our lives.

Since then, we seem to have visited more than ever before. Your lungs which we once rejoiced over maturing, no longer seem to tolerate any additional pressure. You’re susceptible to chest infections as a side effect of your large ASD (something I had hoped we’d have sorted by now), when your chest is infected, your lungs just can’t handle the strain. I’ve watched you work so hard to breathe that it’s rendered you incapable of speaking. I’ve held your listless body in my arms – agonised by your intercostal recessions. I’ve listened to Doctors tell me you have Asthma then tell me again that you haven’t. There always seems to be a battle whether it’s viral-induced wheeze, Bronchiolitis or Pneumonia which has knocked you down. Lately, they’ve branded around Chronic Lung Disease as if it’s not something that should scare me witless! I’ve heard them say you need a consultant then walked out of the hospital doors so maddened by the lack of progress on this front. 


I’ve fought! I’ve insisted and I finally feel as though I’m getting somewhere! Tomorrow, we’ll meet your Asthma nurse and eventually a plan of action can be put in place. 

You’re two and a half now and I’m so exasperatingly ready for that plain-sailing part of your journey to start. I want to be able to take you to a park on a sunny day without fear of hearing that wheeze. I want to take you to ballet without feeling guilty that the exercise is too much for your lungs to handle. I want to wake up on a rainy morning loving the possibility of spoldging in puddles – not feeling the dread that the humidity will change your temperament. 

The uncomfortably familiar surrounding of the hospital ward no longer sits well with me. Surely, it has to be time to move on! 

P.S I’m forever grateful for the care and attention Siena receives from UHND. The staff here are beyond miracle workers, keeping me sane one admittance at a time. Thank you for your hard work and support xx

Nobody Told Me


I remember announcing my pregnancies to people, I remember the smiles on their faces, the ‘you’ve no idea what you’re getting yourself into glares’. I remember the stories of joy…of horror…of happiness and sadness. I remember the lectures on what to do and what not to do…it seemed everyone I spoke to was keen to share words of wisdom, of experience.

But nobody told me the things I’m about to tell you!

Nobody told me that parenting was the hardest thing I’d ever do – physically, mentally and emotionally! That I’d have days so draining, I’d wish it all away…then hate myself immediately for feeling such a way. I wasn’t prepared for such a conflict of emotions,  for feeling so much love, guilt, stress, admiration, pride and anxiety…all within the same minute. I still don’t know how to handle this, how to manage my emotions when they become too powerful to distinguish apart. 

Nobody told me that I’d doubt myself in ways I never knew possible, that I’d be transformed from a confident, assured person to a dithering, uncertain mess within moments of entering Motherhood…that all the education, study, knowledge and intelligence would go straight out the window and I’d be left apprehensively second-guessing my every move! That I’d feel like a child again myself, needy for others to guide me, desperate for help and comfort but too shy to speak out to get it (like the quiet child at the back of the classroom, suffering in silence – too scared to admit they don’t know what they feel they already should). That I’d look at other mothers and feel envious of their natural sense of maternal instinct, that I’d spend countless moments wishing I knew only half of what they seemed to. 

Nobody told me that my heart would shatter a million times each day – through love, through worry, through pride and guilt. That seeing my child hurting could cause my own heart to rupture in so much pain that I’d feel it beating outside of my chest. That it would break over seemingly mundane moments like a kiss on the cheek or an unexpected cuddle. That the words ‘I love you’ even pronounced incorrectly could render me breathless. I wasn’t aware that my heart could ache for something so lovely, that the curve of an eyelash or the creamy colour of delicate skin could make my heart pound with so much emotion.


Nobody told me that I’d spend endless hours anxiously fretting over scenarios which may never (I pray never) happen. That I’d hear stories of loss, of tragedy, of cruelty and heartache and not only mourn for the families involved but for myself as though I was experiencing it too. That my sense of empathy would grow to be so dramatic, I’d be able to place myself in unwanted shoes and feel the extent of pain. That I’d cry over adverts, over fictional storylines, books and news – praying to never know for real…knowing that a life without my children would never feel worth living.

Nobody told me that I’d change so drastically – not through enforcement or circumstance but through want. That I’d want to be a better person, to change my priorities, to live for someone more than for myself. That I’d love in a way which inspired me to grow, to alter, to become more focused. That every aspect of life  would change, including my dreams and visions of the future. 

Nobody told me  of the gratitude and appreciation I would feel towards my own family. That I’d look at my Mother with a confound sense of understanding and astonishment – that I’d eventually feel the depth of her own love for me. That I’d ‘get’ all the worry and the warnings. That I’d want to show her more than ever how amazing I find her, for her strength and support, her love and encouragement.


Nobody ever told me that my children would grow too quickly. That I’d wish them to remain so little for just one more day but urge for them to grow with the same breath. Nobody told me that I’d look back at photos and panic at how rapidly time passes us by…that I’d feel saddened by the moments I missed absorbed in my tiredness, anxiety or guilt. That I’d wish I played more, cuddled more, laughed more. Nobody told me that I’d count down the final moment of each day, desperate for my children to sleep but also clinging to the memory of each bedtime story, savouring every kiss goodnight. 

Oh man, he’s on the ‘big’ swing!

Nobody told me just how much I’d LOVE being a Mother, that even in the hardest moments, I’d love so passionately and devotedly. That the tears, the struggles, the feelings of downright incompetency would be so intensely worth it. 

So intensely worth it!

Motherhood is beautifully manic, painfully brilliant… and I guess nobody told me because I’d never have understood until I felt it firsthand. 

You’ll Never Want For Love


Before entering the realm of Motherhood, I truly never understood just how strongly I could feel about someone else. I’d always considered myself to be empathetic and emotionally astute but even then, I could also be so emotionally detached. As far as Motherhood went, I’ve kept no secrets that it wasn’t something I was looking forward to.

It always felt so hard to relate to those who swore I’d feel differently once you and your Sister arrived. Babies made me uncomfortable, nervous and a little scared. Even around your cousins and friends, I couldn’t relax in the company of infants. I didn’t know how to hold them – how to comfort them or reassure them. I assumed, in plain, that this wouldn’t change once I had my own treasures to care for. 
It’s true though – what they say – you are always different with your own. Yes, it took me a few weeks to settle into the role of Mother but once I had, I knew it was my calling. 

Both you and your Sister arrived into our lives like tornados! You came in screaming, threatening to disturb the peace, life-changing and altering all in an instant. You changed me eternally, made me so scared to envisage a life then without you…taught me true pain, true heart ache, true love. You showed me the flaws of my soul, showed me a way to want to be better! 

Your Sister arrived even more turbulently, traumatic and harrowing, she taught us all that tragedy is real – that our lives aren’t protected, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even though her story ends positively, her entrance made us all aware of just how precious life can be. She confirmed what you’d already taught me – that no one else matters, no one else is just as important as you two. 


That’s why – you’ll never want for love!

Life has been challenging recently, more challenging than I’m ready to admit aloud. Your Sister’s poor immune system seems to have darkened our spirits, left us all feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s made me question my parenting, evaluate how I can ensure you’re both safe from harm’s way.

It has matured you massively. It saddens me so much that at the age of three, you’re already so aware of the signs to look out for. You’re anxious and cautious, protective and caring. So caring! At the age of three, your imaginative play consists of administering your Sister her inhaler and medicine. You tell me to check on her, that she’s coughing and poorly. You worry so much;  I worry that your heart is burdened by things you shouldn’t even be aware of. 

The past few hospital visits have hit you harder than we all could have imagined. I sense it still plays on your mind, still lingers in your thoughts. 

Suddenly, you’re nervous about me leaving. 

38 months we managed without you being needy. 38 months we survived without attachment issues…and yet here they are! 

You were only nine months when Siena entered so poorly. The five weeks we spent in hospital should be a distant memory by now but they aren’t. Moments of recent have taught us just how much they affected you. Last time Siena was in hospital, you cried for me for nearly three weeks after we returned. Even when I was there – even with my arms around you!


I remember distinctly a moment not long after we came home. I’d ran downstairs quickly to answer the door, leaving you and your Sister on the 1st floor. When I returned, moments later, your cries were so violent you’d nearly vomited. When I asked why you were crying, you told me “I’m crying for Mammy”. 

One sentence, one small simple sentence broke my heart in an instant. Baby, you never have to cry for me. 

Sibling rivalry was also something we manage to go unscathed by…although, undoubtedly, we’ve seen small glimpses of it…this wasn’t something that has ever truly affected us. Yet, it’s something that seems to be play a huge part in every day. You’ve become jealous of your Sister, resentful of the extra time and care she needs. I can understand it, it mustn’t seem fair that she gets to be carried for most of the day. I see it in your eyes (you’ve told me honestly, aloud), you want me just as much as she needs me. 

It’s hard for you – having a sister with Cerebral Palsy affects you in ways I don’t think I’m even sure of. At most, we don’t give you credit for just how amazing you are! We expect so much understanding from you, expect you to help us when all you want is to be three…and free as all children your age are. 


I wish I could magically change things for you. I wish I didn’t need to care for your Sister additionally. You know she needs extra support, for the main, you’re brilliant and understanding but I can see how it pains you – I can see why you feel the need to act out.

I can’t promise you the world. I can’t promise that I can protect you from heartache, from failure or hardships (although I swear to do my best to prevent them). I can’t promise your future will be easy, that you’ll get everything you ever need or want…but I can promise that you’ll never want for love. 

What Motherhood taught me was that selflessly, my life is no longer my own. For now…it belongs to you and your Sister! Whilst you’re both so young and so needy, I’m yours as you need me! To cuddle, to protect, to make you feel better…to be tough when I need to be! For every fall, for every scrape or scratch – my lips are for kissing you both better…my arms are for wrapping you up and making you feel the extent of my love.

And of course, I promise that I’m never leaving so please don’t ever cry for me – I’m doing my best to make you feel that you’ll never want for my love, attention or affection.

It’s already all for you and your Sister!

Dolly, Don’t Worry

siena-1

Growing up, I’m inclined to admit that I significantly lacked confidence. I spent most of my teen years completely unsure of who I was or who I wanted to be. I never appreciated my own worth or knew how to value traits others admired.

Since I’m being honest here, I can only really say that adulthood taught me to cherish myself in a way which others wouldn’t. Truthfully, it was Motherhood which taught me to like the person I was, to feel happy with what I had to offer. It upsets me now to think that I spent so much of my youth doubting myself, wishing I was different.

I’m telling you this now because I worry that I see the same in you. If there’s one mistake of mine I hope you learn from, please value yourself now whilst it matters the most!

From the day you were born, you’ve earned the title ‘strong’. Undeniably, no-one could ever doubt the strength you’ve shown, the strength you’ve needed to survive. I worry now that this has placed a level of pressure on you which makes you feel compelled to contend with. It’s almost as though you feel aware of the need to showcase your strength at all times, even at times when vulnerability would be completely expected or necessary. I wonder whether this level of pressure is forcing you to evaluate your own worth. You’re too young to be socially aware of how others expect you to act…It breaks my heart to think you already feel burdened by this at such a young age.

You’re nothing like your Brother – he’s cocky with his abilities, ready to showcase all to whomever will watch him. He craves the attention, loves to be a part of the limelight. You’re almost polar opposites! Quiet and meek, you’ve a modest demeanour quick  to hide your talents. Your Brother’s tendency to seek attention has made it easy for you to take a step back.

siena-6

I never realised before that children your age were capable of feeling self conscious but this is something I wholly recognise in yourself.

Your self conscious approach is most noticeable in those rare moments when all eyes are solely on you. I see you turn inwardly, recoil in embarrassment and fear. It makes me wonder whether your progress is hindered more by an emotional barrier rather than a physical one. It makes me feel incredibly sad that you lack the confidence to be proud of what you’ve achieved.

Those moments that you freeze are always the moments I feel most proud of you…proud of you for trying…proud of you for wanting. Having cerebral palsy means that there will be undoubtable moments where your brain won’t communicate effectively with your limbs. When I see you try, it shows me that your brain is working far better than we were told to prepare for.

In your short life, you’ve had more challenges than some. You’ve worked hard to meet milestones that others take for granted. Each milestone you’ve met has made me admire and respect you in ways I wish you truly knew. You don’t know ‘easy’ yet you make no fuss over what others would deem ‘hard’. There was a time when doctors were quick to call you lazy (admittedly, there were times I even used this as an excuse for your lack of physical agility). I hate that I’ve done this! Have I caused you to doubt yourself? Made you feel insecure about what you haven’t yet achieved? Have I ever made you feel anything less than miraculous?

I need you to know just how very little your disability matters to me. You’re my Daughter, my gorgeous, precious, courageous, special miracle and I will adore you eternally. I’ll adore you for the strong, intelligent, beautiful being that you already are!

siena-7

Whether you can run, walk, cycle, ballet dance or fly…I’ll love you with that deep gracious love only a Mother could show. I’ll love you enough to make sure you’re always aware of your worth. I need you to know just how grateful and appreciative I am to have been blessed with you.

siena-5

Recently, you’ve began making progress so quickly and eagerly. This, in turn, is where your self doubt has been exposed. The first time you attempted to crawl, we watched you drag your legs in a desperate attempt to locate a chocolate. Unable to contain our excitement, we cheered aggressively. I don’t know whether it was our raucous applauds or the realisation that you were doing something momentous which made you stop. Your face wore every inch of your embarrassment and fear. You felt it, that pressure to perform and it scared you immensely. I wish you understood that our cheers amounted from pride and love. They were meant to encourage, to show you that we believe in you and admire you so much.

If this had been an isolated moment, I may have been inclined to dismiss it but you’ve shown the same sense of embarrassment and self-awareness on more than one occasion. In spite of owning a multitude of walking aids, you’ve never shown an interest to walk independently. That was, until, you received a wooden doll’s pram for Christmas. Instinctively, you craved the ability to walk your Dolly. Your caring and Motherly instinct definitely conquered…you wanted to nurture him, Mother him in similar ways you’d seen others do. You wanted to push him to the Doctor’s!

Both your Nana and I couldn’t retain our awe as we watched you take each step without the need to hold our hands. There you were, walking independently. I couldn’t help it – I cried deeply and emotionally. I was moved completely by your strength and determination. My cries were affirmation of my love and pride, they came from a place of happiness and hope.  Of course, my over-dramatic reaction caused you to fret. Self-consciousness devoured you and you were left, once again, feeling overwhelmed by your achievements. I’m sorry if my silly reaction made you doubt yourself, I’m sorry that I ruined it for you – made your play feel tainted by pressure.

Days later, as I tried to encourage you to try again, you told me that you felt scared.

Darling girl, please never feel scared, promise me you won’t let fear hold you back.

Myself, your Father, your Grandparents and Brother…We’re always behind you – both literally and metaphorically! we’re there, supporting you, waiting to catch you, dust you down and watch you try again. You’ve the strongest network of support around you. In whatever you do, we’ll be by your side. This won’t end with your childhood – it will extend throughout your adult life.

siena-4

When you’re older and you crave independence, we’ll give you the space to show us what you’re made of. We’ll watch from afar and encourage you to grow freely but I want you to know that we’ll always be there!

What I’m trying to say Dolly, is, you may not yet know your own worth but we do! We do and we couldn’t be more inspired by you.

Together – we’ve got this! So please Dolly, don’t worry!

 

 

I’m Sorry For Being ‘That’ Friend

me-and-babies

In my lifetime, I’ve taken on many different job roles – some were fun, some were boring, some were challenging whilst others where just hard. Not one, however, comes close to how hard being a Mother is (I say Mother, but I really mean parent – I know Dads feel the full stretch of the hardship as well).

It’s  one of those things – no one ever expects it to be easy…it’s not something I think people look at and picture to be breezy either. Before we embark on the wonderful, turbulent journey of parenthood, we envisage some struggles. I mean, we’ve all been in  situations where we’ve been driven crazy by someone else’s child before, haven’t we?

Whether it be the high pitched scream of a newborn whilst you surf the medicine aisle in Sainsbury’s (in search of paracetamol to cure to drastic migraine which has been bugging you all day); the annoying body-shirk as your aeroplane chair is kicked from behind for the twentieth time; the overly-friendly glares of a curious toddler as you try to eat peacefully or the witnessing of brattish behaviour…we’ve all thought ‘I hope my child doesn’t act like that’.

Reality check – they will! If you intend on becoming a Parent, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in ALL of these scenarios, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself causing the unnecessary suffering of some poor child-free victim just trying to survive their own day.

It’s hard!

Some women transition into Motherhood seamlessly – as though they’ve spent their entire childhood prepping for the moment they make ‘Mother’. Me? It wasn’t so smooth. Before having children, I wasn’t what you would call maternal. I shied away from children, made excuses not to visit friends who had already transitioned into Mother. I told myself that our friendships were dwindling because they didn’t have time for me, because they’d changed now that they had kids. I passed up their invitations to soft play areas, strolls along the seaside in exchange for more mature offers – whilst still telling myself that they were the ones now not making the effort. I forgot to buy Birthday presents, spent my money on less interesting purchases.

tris-and-siena

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry for the ignorance, for the lack of understanding of just how much you needed me.

One of the hardest parts of becoming a parent was feeling as though I’d lost a part of me. I mean, undoubtedly, I gained so much simultaneously but there were still parts of me I noticed retracting. It became hard to be as fun, as care-free, as spontaneous and as relaxed as the former child-free me had once been. My days became cluttered with nappy changes, feeds, rocking and sterilising. As the Mother in me grew, the glamour in me diminished. I can, with full certainty, tell you that I felt lows I never expected.

In the early days, I craved moments where I could feel like my old self again…And, although I cherished the rekindled bonds between those friends who had already transitioned, I missed the irresponsible conversations I once shared with my non-mummy friends. I knew, of course, that being my friend was becoming harder for them. I remembered being the one bored by stories of miniature milestones, trying to look interested in tales of milky poo and sore nipples. I recalled feeling uncomfortable handling the new born babes of my friends, almost desperate to hand them back over without seeming uncaring or insensitive. I understood what my friends were now feeling, how I had become less interesting.

us

 

It made me sad.

Sad in the realisation that once beforehand, my Parent friends had needed my distraction. They needed that silly, random talk as much as before. They wanted a fresh, less anxious perspective, a moment for themselves. They wanted a rest – a rest from baby talk, from feeds and from rocking. They wanted to remember who they once were, who they still were beneath the baby sick and shepherd’s pie crustations.

me-and-kay

So this is for my Mummy friends – I truly apologise for being so rubbish at a time you needed me the most. I was selfish and unable to see what gift I’d been given. Had I known how maternal you now felt, I would have tried harder to understand how amazingly turbulent the journey you faced felt. I wouldn’t make excuses or shy away from what could have been some brilliant memories together. If I could do it all over again, I would appreciate more that being your friend now meant being an Auntie, I’d give your arms a break with gratitude of still being able to be a part of your life (now that your priorities had rightfully changed), for being a part of your child’s life and for trusting me with your most precious possession.

To my child-free friends – although I can’t be sorry that my priorities changed, I’m sorry for not involving you more. I could have made more effort to respond to texts or avoid turning conversations back round to being baby related. I could have told you more that I needed you to remind me of who I once was, that I needed the distractions from Motherhood and parenting. I should have listened to your stories of drunken debacles with the same interest I once showed – those moments felt important to you (rightfully so) and what is important to you – will always be important to me.

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Life isn’t always easy and all we can do is try our best at making things less painful, more enjoyable. Now that the rollercoaster is settling, I’m trying to regain the parts of me I once felt were being replaced. I couldn’t have done any of this without the strength and compassion of all of my friends!

so, to all of you – thank you for bearing with me!

Love you xxx

 

 

 

I’m Trying

I feel like this is something I just keep saying but sometimes, it’s the only thing I know how to say!

Life is hard! I endlessly feel as though we just make it through one hurdle unscathed before we arrive immediately at another one. I’m battling and battling, conquering and succeeding then battling and battling all over again. It’s constant, never-ending.

I naively thought that the answer was leaving work to be with you both. I thought my undisturbed attention, guidance and support was all you needed – all you wanted.
I was wrong.

As it happens, I’ve no idea what you want…from me, from life, from the day, from exsistance! I mean, I get it – you’re both 2! You haven’t figured that shit out yet and I fully understand that there’s no way you could have. I’m 31 and have to confess, I haven’t figured it out either yet but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s hard!

Some days, it’s ridiculously hard! Some days, I just don’t know how I can ever be enough. Some days, I don’t know how we make it through to bed time! There are days when the two of you just can’t seem to be in each other’s presence. You fight, you bicker, you even physically attack one another! I’m sick of separating you both, making you say sorry to one another. I’m sick of seeing snatched toys and rolling tears…of listening to you both chant “that’s mine, that’s mine”. 


Tristan, I’ve seen you push your sister off the potty mid poo just because it’s yours! I intervened with disbelief at the venom in your eyes, the contempt you felt at the thought of your sister using something you had undoubtedly claimed. 

Siena, I’ve seen you claw away at your Brother’s face, adamant that he won’t touch your ‘Dolly’. I’ve been rendered speechless by the aggression you’ve shown, the satisfaction you’ve felt after making him cry!  

There are days when you both cry simultaneously for no reason whatsoever. Days where you wake up screaming, days where nothing will suffice or please you. These are the hardest days, the days where I’m left crying alone in the kitchen come 6pm when your Dad makes it home from work. These are the days when I feel utterly useless, painfully rubbish and worthless. 


There are days when all we seem to do is shout at one another. Before I was a Mother, I swore I’d never shout at you. I swore, I’d always stay calm and collected. This isn’t so easy when I’ve waited 15 minutes for you to climb in your car seat; when I’ve retrieved your thrown dummy from the ground a million times regardless of the fact I know you’re going to throw it again; when I’ve pleaded and pleaded with you not to do something but you go and do it anyway – when I feel like there’s nothing left for me to try.

There are days when my sanity is tested and I just feel as though I need to call for help (your Nana), for a break. 

The thing is – I’m trying! 

I’m trying harder than I think you two could ever imagine. I’m trying to be the best possible Mum for you that I could ever be. I’m trying to make you both strong, courageous, independent, confident humans. I’m trying to insil passion into you both and nurture your sense of creativity and individuality. I’m trying to make sure you always make the right choices in life. I’m still trying to make the right choices myself!


I’m trying to be a role model that you’d both be proud of. Siena, I trying to show you how to be a strong woman. Tristan, I’m trying to show you how to be a loving, caring, compassionate man. 

I’m trying to keep it together so that you both can rely on me at all times. I’m trying to show you that you can overcome any hurdles of your own. 

What’s more is, I’m trying to be myself as well. To be a good friend, to maintain some sort of social status. I’m trying to be a business woman so I can provide for your every wants and needs. I’m trying to be a wife, a daughter, a helpful granddaughter. I’m trying to be a carer, a personal assistant.

A Person!


There are days when I just feel as though my trying will never be enough for you, that I’ve failed us all. 

Then, there are days like today. Days where we work harmoniously with one another, we have fun and make memories we all can cherish. Days when you both wrap your arms around me and tell me seven times at bed time that you love me. Days when we laugh and play, sing and dance. Days when we accomplish life with enthusiasm and pzazz. 

Those days make it all worth it, make me know just how important my role is. 

So I’ll take the bad days, the tantrums and the tears. I’ll take the days we all cry (and I mean all). I’ll take the tests, the failures and my faults because…

That’s what Mothers do and I’m trying to be the best for you! 

Your Dreams are What Matter! 


I have to admit, as shallow as it sounds, I was desperate to have a little girl. It was just something I’d always imagined for my own life, something I’d definitely hoped for. 

7 year old me would brag on the school yard that some day I was going to have two children. A boy first, of course…and a girl second, so that her older Brother could look out for her. Coming from a family where I had experienced the love and support of having an older Brother, I knew I wanted exactly that for my future. My childhood had been perfect, so much so that I wanted to mirror it for my own children.


The day I discovered I was pregnant, I instinctively knew I was expecting a Boy. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind! As the sonographer revealed the gender, I cheered so proudly to have been right. I had my perfect son – my perfect start to our family. 

Having a son was so important to me, I wanted a boy because I knew how loving they could be, how proud I could feel about raising a man but most importantly, I knew how special older Brothers could be. I already felt so lucky to have one amazing child but my plan was always that my Son would be an older Brother.

When we discovered we were expecting again, my heart ached for you. I know how this sounds and yes – I would have loved a second Son just as much. A healthy child – no matter the gender -would have made me so incredibly happy. But, my life’s plan was always to have you!

Our 20 week scan was on a Tuesday. Your Father had left work early and the three of us headed to the Hospital.  I recall sitting in the waiting room almost pained with eagerness to see you on screen. Obviously, our priority was to know that you were healthy and growing as you should have been. Yet, I just still couldn’t wait to know your sex.


Although too young to comprehend what he was seeing, Tristan looked at you on the screen with so much awe. He marvelled at the flickering image wriggling around contently and he cheered at the noise of your heartbeat. The sonographer told him he was getting a little Sister; I cried and cried with happiness. 

My perfect family was complete! 

Finding out I was getting my girl was such an incredible moment. From being 7, I had high expectations for your future. I had in mind exactly how I wanted you to be.

Without question, you’d have blonde hair and blue eyes. You’d be quirky and individual, confident and assured…undeniably beautiful. I envisaged you’d be good at sport, always energetic and full of desire to achieve. 


In my mind, you’d be a ballerina. A perfectly poised, enigmatic ballerina. At 7 years old, I saw you dancing on stage – people looking at you in absolute admiration. Radiantingly elegant, you’d hypnotise your audience with irrefutable skill. 

I’m going to be honest here, my vision of what I expected from you is almost cruel and unkind. I had expectations of you that even I was incapable of. Expectations of you that most women never accomplish.

Your early arrival in this world taught me some well needed perspective. In the moments where you nearly died, I grieved solely for my little girl, my Daughter. As I watched the Doctors relentlessly trying to stabilise you, I had time to ingest what I was at risk of losing. Hair colour, eye colour, academic or physical ability did not once enter. Instead, I saw only the love I could be denied. 

In the days that followed your birth, I swore never to burden you with unreasonable ideology. Just to have you breathing, just to have you living would always be enough! 

At 17 months old, you were eventually diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Part of your diagnosis meant accepting the fact that there may be things you’ll never manage to do, physical ailments you’ll harbour all your life. I’m struggling the most with this. 

You see, to me, there’s nothing you can’t achieve!


I once ignorantly worried that my 7 year old vision for your future had been crushed. That I’d never get the chance of fulfilling my dreams for you. I want you to know that I’m aware of how pathetic I have been. My 7 year old dreams for your future were always going to be completely inconsequential.

Something I learnt very quickly about you is your strength of mind. From 9 weeks before you were due to be born, you had your own style of doing things, your own wants and desires. These are what matter the most! 

At almost two, you’re the cutest most quirkiest Doll I’ve ever known. You’re passionate about living, approach everything with a ‘I can’ attitude. It’s this attitude which leaves people spellbound. You’re not even two and already so many have marvelled at your strength, are astonished by your decisive and domineering demeanour. 


Your passion for 80’s disco hits is entertaining and bewildering but you don’t care! You dance your beautiful heart out in whichever way you please. You care only about the pleasure you acquire and not at all about how you are perceived. This is something I hope desperately we can retain. 

Recently, I took you to a ballet class. I must admit, although trying to look calm on the outside, inside I was bubbling with anxiety. I worried that other Mothers would think I was cruel, as though I was forcing you to be something you may never be…may never want to be! I worried that others may think I was delusional, expecting you suddenly to grasp physical demands you’re quite obviously incapable of doing. Mostly, I worried that you’d hate me for pressurising you with those unrealistic dreams I once promised I wouldn’t. 

Of course, you proved me wrong. 

You attempted every dance, giggled with magnificent joy as your legs bounded around the room. You waved your arms side to side and danced with so much pleasure that my heart felt blessed to watch you. 

Every day, you make me realise that there’s literally nothing you can’t do! I’ve no doubt in my mind that you’ll conquer every challenge you decide to take on – whether that be ballet dancing or not. 


But for the moment, you just love to dance. So, go ahead my Unlikely Ballerina and enchant the world.

Lots of love, your biggest fan xx