Ellie House chronicles the rollercoaster of emotion that comes with the demands of new motherhood and work.
It seems only right to refer to you by name, after writing about our adventures these past seven months. It was a name I fought hard for when you arrived and your dad begrudgingly admits I was right.
You may wonder why I’m using your blanket to wipe away the tears. You’re perfectly happy but your mum here is having a moment.
We’ve just finished baby group. You’ll be coming back, of course, only with your childminder. Not mummy.
We joined this group when you were 11 weeks old. I was exhausted and nervous. But I knew I had to get out of the house for both our sakes.
You were still curled tight against my chest, unsure of the new faces and sounds. Those faces have become our support network.
I know the words to all the songs and these days you’re more eager to crawl away from me and play.
We know what we’re doing, you and I. We have become a perfect team and with you by my side, I am fierce.
When you arrived, silent and lifeless, my heart broke. I didn’t really know what heartbreak felt like until you weren’t placed on my chest.
Your dad could only watch as you were whisked away and the minutes ticked by. We were told you had been resuscitated. When I finally saw you in intensive care, your eyes met mine from the incubator.
The only thing indicating that you were my baby was the tiny wristband which read “baby House”.
I should have known that you would surprise me with your fight, for by the following night you were allowed to be with me on the ward. I had no idea how to be your mother.
I said as much to the midwife and she simply patted my hand. She had heard it all before.
We have grown together with each passing week. Your hands unfurled and your fluffy baby hair has been replaced by soft brown waves. Your gaze is forever watchful and your laugh is the purest sound I know. You are stubborn, determined and you babble even in your sleep. Becoming your mother has changed me irreversibly. It has healed me in ways I didn’t know I needed and picked at old scabs in equal measure.
Before you came along, I loved my job as a journalist. As my belly grew, I continued to interview people and put their stories on the page. The passion hasn’t dimmed and I hope to pass on that same drive to you.
If you find something you love and work hard at it, I have at least done my job as a parent half right.
Spending time apart seems alien. I believe it might just make me a better mum, though, however crazy that sounds.
I spend most of my day running after you and you love meeting new people. Leaving you does not come easy, for we have discovered everything together.
You are a hilarious lunch companion and our swimming lessons make me beam with pride. For the brief hours we have spent apart, missing you has made me physically ache.
But you are ready. You don’t glance back when I leave the house, for you are too busy exploring. Everything is a curiosity to you and your confidence amazes me. You know, perhaps, that I will always come back for you.
I promise that nothing will truly change. It will still be my kisses at bedtime and my face when you wake up.
It will still be my love propelling us both forward, shaping us. As one good friend put it, I have found something worth fighting for which exists outside of myself.
That something is you, my gorgeous little boy. Every decision I make is based on you, on creating the best life possible.
There will be bad days when you are sad and want a cuddle. There will be the inevitable sick days when I am juggling emails and Calpol.
I have a feeling I will struggle more than you, though. As you fidget your way off my lap, you are already showing me the way. With every sleepless night, every smile, every head stroke at 4am, you must know you will always come first.
There are still so many wonderful moments and your first Christmas is just around the corner.
I often tell you that you’re the love of my life, baby House. That will never change.