Dear Little Caterpillar
I thought of you for a long time, way before you were a cell, or an egg or even a twinkle in Daddy’s eye. Way before I knew Daddy.
I dreamed of you when I was young. I imagined you when I was older. I longed for you when I met your dad. You were the goal, the prize, the reason for everything. You were why I studied hard and worked hard and tried to make a success of myself. You were why I gave up treats and saved money in jars, why we pooled all our pennies. You were the reason we bought this house. You were everything we were striving for.
I always knew you would be awesome. I imagined you’d be funny and cute. I hoped you’d look like daddy, and braced myself that you’d look like me. I thought of all the fun we’d have. I imagined giving up work and spending every day just the two of us. I pictured how perfect we would be together, how natural, what a great mum I could be.
When we found out we were having you, that everything was falling into place, you became just a tiny bit more real. I knew which year you’d be born now. I knew when my life would become perfect. We imagined what you’d look like, we scanned books for handsome names. We bought and painted and planned and imagined and dreamed and planned some more.
I’m sorry for that pressure, my sweet boy, I’m so, so sorry.
Finally, suddenly, you were here. You were real. And somehow I wasn’t anymore. I had no idea who I was.
You were gorgeous from that first moment – perfect skin, perfect eyes, a whisper of soft, fine hair. You are more beautiful than any child of mine had any right to be. You were a good baby too; sleeping through the night from 12 weeks, no colic, little sickness, ready smiles for everyone.
You were everything dreams were made of, what my dreams had been made of. And I was in a nightmare.
I was in a hell that wouldn’t stop, a place I couldn’t leave – chained inside the dungeon of my damaged mind, tied up by ropes of scary thoughts. My perfect boy was right beside me and yet I couldn’t get to you, I couldn’t breathe you in, I couldn’t connect us.
It was not perfect like I dreamed. There was nothing natural about my mothering. Life had not fallen into place, there were no sunsets or happy ever afters. This was not the role I thought I had been training for my whole life. I was hopeless and useless and worthless. My dreams were dashed and my heart was broken; shattered and forgotten on the dungeon floor while my mind chuckled, howled and ran the show.
Yet through it all you were there, smiling that beautiful smile that everyone said it was too early for but your eyes told us you meant. You were there, growing more wonderful every day, learning incredible things – just waiting for me, watching me and waiting for me to be what you needed.
You never stopped loving me and needing me, and that saved me, Little Caterpillar. You pulled me back to you with your charm and giggles and unending, patient love.
Slowly, I found you. Wonderful people helped me and I Iearnt how to help myself. As I fell in love with you, slowly and deeply, I began to love the new me too. I fought my way back to you and held you and thought “you’re mine.” And, more importantly perhaps, “I’m yours.”
In three days time you’ll be two years old. Daddy agrees it’s been the longest and shortest two years of our lives. I thought my job was teaching you, raising you, showing you the way but really it’s much more of a two-way street. We are learning together every day. You’re teaching me things I never thought I’d have to learn, things I never even knew existed. Some things are still hard for me, and I’m learning how to accept those shortcomings. I’ll never be a stay at home mum, that will never be enough to stimulate me and those two days a week at work freshen me up for you. I’ll never be the sort of mum for whom imaginative play comes naturally. I’ll never be a mum who never shouts but I’m trying and getting better. I’ll never be able to not care when you’re having a tantrum in the shopping centre. I’ll never not feel a little awkward when you want to play with cars or bricks and I sit there, panic and draw a blank. But we colour and we paint and we sing (my God, do we sing?!). I share my love of stories and we read books together all day. I cook you yummy dinners and could cuddle you for hours. I don’t need to be the mum I imagined…I simply need to be me.
I don’t have to be a perfect mummy I just have to be your mummy and give you the very best of what I have. That’s a simple lesson but it’s taken me two years and counting to learn it. With your help.
At two your personality is shining through at every moment. You are so damn funny, and cheeky and brilliant. Nanny and Grandad say you remind them of me and that makes me smile so widely. You make me laugh every day, and you also make me shout and sometimes cry and I’m learning to get used to that too. The bond I couldn’t find for those first few months has been unearthed and grows more and more unbreakable.
I’m still adjusting, I feel like I always will be. Motherhood is a fluid process, a learning curve – not a destination like I planned. I still wonder who I am. I still have to remind myself I’m a mum. I have to pinch myself that this darling little boy is mine.
Absolutely nothing about this experience has been how I imagined, or even hoped…except how truly awesome, amazing and lovable you are.
Happy birthday, Little Caterpillar. Here’s to another year of growing, for both of us.
52 comments on “A Love Letter”
This reduced me to tears, what a beautiful beautiful letter! Your words are so honest and true! There really is no such thing as a perfect mother and we would all do better if we realised this a little quicker! Thank you so much for sharing this and I do hope you little blessing gets to read this one day. Blessings — Romany
Thanks, Romany 🙂 x
Aww that is so sweet! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for linking up with #Alittlebitofeverything! Have a great night!
That is beautiful, your son will love that whenever he gets to read it. It is honest and poetic. No mother or baby is perfect x
Beautiful and very honest post. I blocked out the first 10 weeks of my first son’s life it was just as you described it, like living in a nightmare when you’ve just been given everything you wanted. More people need to talk about this and it will make suffering from PND seem more acceptable.
Thanks so much for your words. The more I share the more I hear from others who experienced similar issues but mums just don’t like to speak up because there is so much stigma. Thanks for commenting x
What a lovely and honest post! I also had an idea of how perfect motherhood would be and it was far from it. I felt so lost and scared once my little Emma came out. It took me a while, like you say, to actually fall in love with her. And my god, when it happens it’s the best thing in the world. Your boy is very lucky to have you. Happy 2nd birthday! x #MaternityMondays
Thank you for commenting and sharing your own experience xxx
No worries. Back again from #bestandworst 🙂 xx
Such a beautiful letter and I’m sorry you struggled so in the beginning, PND is really rough. Glad to hear you have come through it and you are totally right, you don’t have to be a perfect mummy (there’s no such thing) but you are his perfect mummy. Thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays
Thank you for your lovely words x
What a beautiful post so much honesty really touched me your son will have that forever great post x
Thank you so much, means a lot 🙂
Ahh what a beautiful letter and so well written. Sometimes it’s so nice to write things down, puts everything into perspective! Thanks for sharing with the #bestandworst hope you’ll pop by again!
Such a beautifully written letter. Happy Birthday to your little one! #twinklytuesday
Thank you x
So beautifully honest and moving. I love your reminder that motherhood is a fluid process and not a destination. Our dreams of motherhood and the reality can be so very different but as you say, we don’t have to be the perfect mummy (there is no such thing!), we just have to be mummy to our own children and love them. Your love for your little caterpillar shines through so strongly. I hope he has a wonderful birthday x #TwinklyTuesday
That’s absolutely right. My aim these days is to be a “good enough” mother 😀
Thank you for reading and commenting x
Lovely, honest, authentic words from a Mama to her son. It is so refreshing to hear honesty like this. It’s not all easy (in fact much of it isn’t) but it is all good. Good for making us into the person God has created us to be, which can be a rocky road sometimes. Happy birthday to your little one and a good job to you, Mama. Keep up the honest and true work of mothering. You are dong a great job!
Thank you so much for your kind words x
This is absolutely beautiful, I was very nearly in tears. You have been through such a journey and whilst that journey is always ongoing, it is wonderful to read just how much has changed since Little Caterpillar was born. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
So beautifully written. I can relate to a lot. I’ll never be the mum who doesn’t shout and I sometimes make excuses not to play Lego or things. But I love my three boys more than anything and do my best. It is all we can do.
One thing I always remember is that everyone is unique and we all have different strengths. E.g. might not be great at imaginative play but I think I might be better at advice etc when he is older. Horses for courses, you know?
Thanks so much for reading and commenting x
Beautiful! Your writing is stunning! So honest and true. Thank you for sharing #sundaystars
Beautiful! Honest and true & stunningly written x
So honest and beautiful #sundaystars xx
This was just wonderfully beautiful. Congratulations on all of the steps you’ve both taken and growing you’ve both done over the last two years. And happy birthday to your little caterpillar #coolmumclub
Thanks for reading and commenting x
Really lovely post, thank you for writing it. #coolmumclub
Since starting blogging, I’ve been enlightened to PND and am incredibly moved by this post. I struggled with becoming a Mummy, and it was so much harder than I thought, but I don’t think (?) I had PND. It is such a shock how much life changes, you change, relationships change…it’s not all like in the movies all the time. I’m pleased you’re finding your own way…#coolmumclub; you’re in it girl x
Thanks so much for reading and your kind words x
What an absolutely beautiful, honest and brave post – you’ve really given me an insight into what you went through and opened my eyes. The love you have for your son is so brilliantly set out in words here – you’ve made me well up 🙂 Mim x #ParentingPicks
This is just beautiful – your son will adore it and respect you so much for it. Well done you for opening up so beautifully xx #SharingtheBlogLove
What a beautiful, honest and heartfelt letter. I think you hit the nail on the head when you described motherhood as a fluid process – for me it’s a constant learning journey, and changes from day to day. I’m definitely learning as I go along – I’ll also never be the mum who finds play easy, or who doesn’t shout (is she out there anywhere?!), but I know that I’m the best mum my son could have. Thanks so much for sharing this post with us at #SharingtheBlogLove
Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…#SharingtheBlogLove #5
Oh this has reduced me to tears, so beautifully written. Your words are so perfect in how I think a lot of mothers feel. I know that I am not the mum I thought I would be and motherhood isn’t the picture I had in my head. I have been a mum for nearly 4 years and I don’t think I will ever stop learning. I try my best to be a good mum to my girls, some days I succeed and others I don’t, but I have learnt that is ok. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x
Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Sharing The Blog Love…#5
Oh my goodness – what a post! I can feel every emotion as you walk us through your journey. I didn’t have PND to the extent that you seem to have done, but there were certainly elements there and it was awful – why couldn’t I connect? We just have to be the best mummies that we can be. And the best we can be changes from day-to-day because we have good days and bad days. Such a brave thing to write that I’m sure will help so many other people. #SharingTheBlogLove
Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) recently posted…‘Am I fat?’ asked the 5 year old
Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely kind words, means a lot to me xxx
I know these feelings so well. I struggled to bond with my beautiful first baby and the memories of his first two years are so painful. But I will never forget the day he turned over in bed and murmured “I love you mummy” for the first time. I cried so much because my fight to make the bond had been worth it. It gave me the courage to keep going and keep building on the love that had been there all along. Beautiful words x
I know those tears of relief really well, thanks for sharing and for reading xxx
Such beautiful words, I nearly cried reading this! X #SharingtheBlogLove
Thank you xxx
This is such a lovely letter to your son, I got teary reading it, just beautiful #SharingtheBlogLove
Such a beautiful and honest post. I could relate to the whole thing. I always imagined my son would be the cherry on top of the cake, and he is, but it took me a while to get there. It was harder than I imagined but once I had stopped with the ‘perfect mummy’ picture the pieces started to fall into place 🙂 #sharingthebloglove
Petite Pudding recently posted…Time Management Strategies for Being a More Efficient Mom
Wonderful post, not only brought it tears to my eyes, but also the memories of my own experience with PND. I think this is something that can be fully understand only by someone who had been through the same thing. PND is an evil that takes over you and you suddenly have no power over your thoughts or deeds. So many mothers out there feel like this and yet so many of them feel they need to hide it. You are a very brave girl for sharing this, thank you! xx
Thanks so much for your kind words – it means a lot when other people relate to what I’m saying x