Four1Dear Caterpillar

Time takes on new meaning when you have a child. It becomes both fast and slow in almost equal measure. 

When I look at your beautiful newborn baby pictures and then glance up at the fully-fledged boy you are now it feels as if time has flown by. I find it difficult to comprehend that you are no longer a baby or a toddler, and you’re only a preschooler for one more term. You are simply a child now, and that makes me both hugely proud and desperately sad. A feeling I know is shared by many parents. This feeling makes the last four years seem like a rushed blur.

However, when I try to remember a time before you were here, before you were a part of our family, the last four years feel like a lifetime. I can barely remember life before you. 

Four2I never thought I’d be one of those mums who went home after the first day of dropping you off at school and sobbed. I always thought I was more than ready for you to go and that I would only feel pride and happiness. Pride in you and also in myself and Daddy for getting you to this point. And although I will feel those things I know now I will also feel sadness. That your baby days and toddler days and, even, preschooler days are behind you. Behind us all. 

Perhaps if you had a sibling by now I wouldn’t feel so sad about it, or perhaps not. Who knows really. 

But that’s still a few months away yet. I still have a Spring and Summer with my gorgeous boy before that milestone. And as your 4th birthday approaches I am consumed with love for the child you have become. 

After all my doubts, and all my bouts of illness, I find myself shocked by how truly awesome you are; by the wonderful, funny, well-adjusted, bright, sociable child you are. When I think of those early days and all the challenges that lay ahead of us – getting you to sleep, weaning, walking, talking, potty training, choosing a school – I couldn’t figure out how we’d manage it. How I’d help you navigate those years.

Four3And yet here you are – eating, walking, talking and generally growing up into a bright, funny boy. You amaze me every single day. Just as I amaze myself sometimes that I managed to cope (with the never-ending help and support of your incredible daddy of course). 

I was poorly after you were born and that illness left me doubting my love for you, and my abilities as a mum.  I feared desperately that I would never fall under the spell of loving a child that others spoke of with such wonder. That I would never be consumed by love. But I did fall, and fall hard.  The love I feel for you now is utterly all-consuming. You bring me so much happiness and comfort and pride, especially during these last few difficult months. And the love you return to us is so beautiful, so pure and perfect. 

I knew kids were funny but I never knew how much my own child would make me laugh. Your antics and the things you say make Daddy and I laugh every single day, even on the worst days. Your fascination with nature and the world around you grows by the minute and often catches me off guard. Your imagination is huge and there’s nothing I love more than to watch you playing alone with your toys and making up stories and games and dialogue. Almost nothing I love more; your cuddles being the exception. 

Four4My mental health has taken a battering again recently. I think it’s time I accept that whatever happened in my brain during the weeks following your birth has left a permanent mark and it is something I will need to manage for the rest of my life. It’s easily the hardest issue I’ve ever faced but it could never make me regret you in a million years. There is only one single thing on this planet that is worth suffering Anxiety & Depression for and that’s you, sweet boy. You are worth everything. 

You aren’t a baby anymore but you will always be my baby. Happy birthday, my love.

3 comments on “Four

  1. Aaaaww, happy 4th Caterpillar! Time does slow down and rush by in eual measure. I keep wondering, where did the 5 years go to, and now I know to soak in these moments, because they are fleeting by.

    For you Laura, you are an incredibly strong woman. To allow vulnerability and share your struggles as a MH advocate? There is immense strength in that. Some days are hard, some are tough, but you keep at it, one step at a time. You are such an encouragement!

  2. You blame him for the state of your mental health? Wow I hope he never reads this. You can’t blame PND on a baby. You can’t put that weight on his shoulders. This is YOUR health YOU should accept responsibility for it. So when it happens all over again with your next child, will it still be his fault or the new baby’s?

    1. Excuse me, did you even read the post? Or any other on my blog for that matter? At NO POINT AT ALL have I BLAMED my sweet, innocent boy for my mental health issues. You clearly don’t know how to read or have any comprehension skills at all. Or empathy skills for that matter.

      Do you have any understanding of mental health issues? Clearly not if you use phrases such as “you should take responsibility for it.” Mental illness is not the fault of the individual. If you had cancer or a heart attack would I tell you to “take responsibility for it”? Attitudes like yours are the reason stigma is still so rife in the mental health community, it makes me sick.

      And, for the record, I did “take responsibility.” I suffered from a devastating illness that affected how I felt about my baby and I hope you never have to experience the devastation of that as I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But as soon as I realised I was ill I got help and fought the biggest battle of my life to get well again, for HIM as well as myself. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      I have never blamed my son and this post, and other similar pieces I’ve written, is actually a heartfelt apology to my son for any time I wasn’t a fantastic mum because of my illness. I hope he DOES read my blog when he’s older and realises how deeply loved he is and how hard his mum fought to be the best mum she could be. And I hope, through reading it, he will learn sympathy and empathy and kindness (clearly skills you are missing).

      I began this blog to help other sufferers of PND and Anxiety to feel less alone and to offer them support, and I have helped lots of people. I usually delete messages like yours as I don’t want to encourage stigma or cultivate a negative community but I felt I had to reply to this one in case someone vulnerable visiting this page reads your words and is triggered by them.

      I suggest you think long and hard next time before you make flippant, unfounded and hurtful remarks on blogs that could be read by very ill or vulnerable people.

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