Tomorrow will be my first Mother’s Day as a mama. I am beyond thrilled to be able to type that.
But as wonderfully special as the day will be for me, there are so many, many women for whom the day is the hardest of the year.
Before Sonny Jim, even though I’m lucky enough to still have my wonderful ma, I disliked this day. I waited nine years for my baby. Spent more than five of those years under various hospitals, undergoing tests and procedures, being stabbed with hundreds of needles, pumped full of different hormones and then constantly disappointed. Mothering Sunday became a day when scrolling through my Facebook feed felt a bit like death by a thousand papercuts. All those gorgeous babies snuggled up to their mamas. All those cute kids with their homemade creations. It hurt. More than I can explain.
And I won’t have been the only one – one in seven couples in the UK struggle to conceive. Trust me when I say, you know someone. Even if you don’t know you do.
But also struggling through the day are those immeasurably brave women whose babies aren’t with them. Who have suffered miscarriages and never got to hold their little ones. Mothers who never saw their baby’s eyes as they were born sleeping. Mums who visit their little ones at the cemetery.
Attitudes have drastically changed over the past decade or so. People seem to realise there’s no footprint too small to leave an imprint on the world. Canvey now has its memorial to lost children, Southend Hospital has its Butterfly Bereavement Suite. Mothers and fathers are finally being given space to mourn their lost little ones. But all the support in the world can’t make it better, can’t make that pregnancy happen, can’t bring those babies back to their mummy’s arms.
So while I make no apology for revelling in finally having my perfect baby boy, I’ll hold him extra close this Mothering Sunday, because, believe me, I know how lucky I am to be able to.
In memory of baby Alfie
Sonny Jim’s godmother Emma Cox’s second son, Alfie, was born sleeping in July.
Last week, her bubbles and cake afternoon at her home in Rochford raised more than £1,000 in aid of Aching Arms – a charity which provides Aching Arms bears to hospitals for midwives to give to newly bereaved mothers and fathers – and maternity bereavement at Southend Hospital.
To donate a bear in memory of a baby lost too soon, visit mydonate.bt.com/events/donatebear
This post first appeared in the Echo newspaper on Friday, March 24: www.echo-news.co.uk