What I Want to Remember

There’s a lot that I want to forget, but here’s what I want to remember… 

Paul offering the midwife our bath caddy (which she had admired) if she could get him out in her shift… As the first of many midwives to come to our home, she didn’t manage to coax him out so I am luckily still in possession of said caddy! 

Falling asleep between contractions and not being quite sure how many people were in the room at any one time. That nitrous oxide is powerful stuff, man… 

Paul holding my hands through every contraction for hours on end. I couldn’t have done it without him. 

Watching the clock and being convinced he would arrive any second. Noticing that hours had passed…

Using an ambulance and a wheelchair for the first time. Thinking of that bit in About a Boy when we’re blues-and-twos-ing to the hospital. 

Being worried that I wouldn’t love him because of the hell he put me through, until the very moment he was put into my arms.

How weird and purple and cone-shaped his head was when he came out. Being a bit concerned that it might stay that way (thankfully, it didn’t!). 

How weird and soft and still pregnant-looking my stomach was. I’m not sure I’ll be as impressed with that a few weeks on… 

Finally telling people his name after months of secretly whispering it to myself. Still calling him bubba because old habits die hard. 

Paul holding Benjamin next to me and letting me hold his little hand to help me cope with all the other medical stuff that has to happen post-birth (it’s not over once they come out!). 

Knowing that he’ll be as tall as his father if his current length is anything to go by. Realising that the tiny Jeremy Corbyn onesie that Paul’s colleagues bought for us will probably never fit him. 

Feeling a bit like a superwoman for surviving such a long labour without extra pain relief. Wanting to boast about it to everyone. Eventually realising that this really doesn’t make me special, and wanting to go round congratulating every single mother I know. 

Swearing blind that I wouldn’t do it ever again but knowing secretly that I might. 

Tearing up when I rang to tell my Mum… I’d been thinking of how excited she’d be throughout the process (although I was glad I hadn’t texted anyone early on as they’d have been on the edge of their seats for days – too much pressure!).

Choosing the perfect filter to disguise his slightly odd colour when sending round his first photo. 

Realising that I was lying comfortably on my back for the first time in around 6 months… 

Seeing myself in the mirror right afterwards and realising I should probably get some under eye concealer because these bags aren’t going away any time soon. 

Being so grateful to all of the midwives that looked after us so well. Singing their praises ever since. 

Getting my phone back (Paul had left it at home in the rush to get to the hospital) and already having lots of lovely messages to read. 

Staring out into Leeds in the middle of the night with my little Leeds baby in my arms and feeling so grateful (and tired). 

Reading Jilly Cooper to try and stay awake through that first night.

Wishing Paul was there so we could (quietly) giggle at the Darth Vader-style snoring coming from across the ward… 

Paul coming to rescue me and hold Benjamin at 6am after I started hallucinating that Tuna was walking across the end of the bed. She definitely wasn’t! 

Paul popping out for some food and coming back to tell me that he’d seen some of our NCT friends in the corridor. Waiting for the news that their baby had arrived (he was born the next day and weighed exactly the same as Ben!).

Hearing Paul telling Benjamin that ‘I like you, I think we’ll keep you.’ Thinking that was the sweetest thing ever. It might have been the hormones… 

Coming home to some lovely treats left by our friends and immediately bursting into tears. Having the sushi they left me for dinner and sharing a whisky with Paul and his Dad. 

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A Prayer for My Son


May he believe in luck, because it is only when you believe in luck that you can find it. Let him be as lucky as we have been, and so much more. 

Let him find the things in life that fill him with joy and happiness. Help him find a hobby that he can do with his hands, because there is nothing better than making something real. Point him in the direction of imaginary worlds that he can lose himself in, causes that he can truly get behind and that one, slightly weird passion that no one else really understands. 

Give him the strength to stand up for what is right, especially when the people he is standing up to are his friends. Help him find his voice, but know when it is better to listen than to speak. Give him the courage to walk away from fights that don’t matter and towards the fights that do.

Teach him that what maketh the man is not the strength of his body, but the strength of his character. 

Keep him safe when climbing trees too high, driving in cars that are going too fast and walking too close to the edge. Keep him safe. 

May he be the best of us, without the worst of us. 

Help him find his own community, whatever that may look like. Let him know that they will always be welcome here, if they are important to him. Guide him towards love, in whichever form he chooses it. 

May he be the kind of person who never skips out on his round, who always stops to pet a dog, and who would rather share than keep to himself. And if it’s not too much trouble, to always find time to call his mother (or at least feel bad about it when he doesn’t). 

But most importantly of all, give me the strength to point him in the right direction, and then watch as he goes the other way. May I always know when to hold his hand tight, and when to let go and allow him to walk his own path. 

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