This is a little shout out for my beautiful daughter Bella: She needs 22 more Instagram followers by the 31 Dec to stand the chance to become a Brand Ambassador for Nike. In many ways, I write this with trepidation – but I’m supporting her request because as one gets older, you realise how fleeting youth is and how every opportunity needs to be grabbed and maybe the time has come for her to realise just how special she is.
If you agree, please go to bellaxbears
and follow…You’ll make one girls New Year! Thank you! xxxxxxx
Laters, Kate x
This post was edited from two previous posts to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday and tenth birthday. I decided I couldn’t improve on the sentiment contained, except to say, you never think it possible, but the words grow more concentrated with each passing year x
Today is my daughter Bella’s eleventh birthday. She was my IVF baby, born after six years of heartache, seven miscarriages and 2 years of no pregnancies (which I am sure was psychological. But it really didn’t help). With her birth on this day all those years ago, I finally became a Mummy.
I still carry the scar tissue..infertility is a time I wouldn’t wish on anyone – you beat yourself up for the futility of hoping, nose permanently pressed against the glass, it becomes personal; A retina searing pain that makes you disappear under the burden of inner reflection..the only person to blame being you. Something so simple, so natural…so unachievable.
We literally threw everything we had at it..and we were oh so lucky. The tides finally turned and she arrived..the most beautiful baby I had ever seen..a fairy child.
And she remains the most beautiful inside and out child to this day, the rarest and most delicate of gifts. And now we celebrate her eleventh birthday..it’s hard to believe – it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital. I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you – you have your experience and that need to guide and help, but it’s just not true. Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother. There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all your imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?
I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail. I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – resilience has to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow. To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence – far more important in real life than examination certificates. I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation. I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong. I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.
Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..
Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them the world and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….
I celebrate and raise a glass to you our wonderful, amazing, incredible, magical daughter!
Laters, Kate x
Each Christmas there’s a delicious delight in unearthing the carefully collated christmas decs from across the years – the nursery school wonders, the vintage glitter, the Mexican gold…
There’s also a perverse joy in choosing the one decoration to buy to represent the current year and add to the ecletic mix.
(All pics Royal Doulton)
This year I’m going posh – Royal Doulton no less – and it’s this one just because she looks like my Bella.
Let it snow!
Laters, Kate x
We’re back! And straight into the thick of it..amongst the detritus of unpacking, I have the movers arriving tomorrow to clear out our cellar, kitchen and sitting room ready for the builders to move in, hashtag chaos. The perfect time to reminisce over quieter times..these are from our first week in beautiful Greece on the stunning island of Spetses.
Looking back from the end of the pier..you can just make out the terracotta roof of my parent’s house.
The house with the arches at Charlie’s elbow belongs to my sister’s inlaws and is where the kids go swimming in their pool.
My mother, enjoying some sun..a clearer picture of the arched house, the next door house belongs to a lovely lady who will be ninety this year…she was evacuated in the War with my Grandmother.
Charlie in heaven.
And he’s lost his first tooth!
Looking down on the beach.
swimming till the sun goes down..
And when it does, the new moon appears..along with Venus and Jupiter.
Laters, Kate x
Today is Charlie’s fifth birthday and running underneath his uncontained excitement and joy are my own feelings of relief and wonder. His birth represents the end of a close on ten year hard fought for battle to complete our little family.
It took us a long, long road to have our Bella (over 6 years, 7 miscarriages and after all that, she was an IVF baby) But when she arrived we were finally given the mantle ‘parents’. To have a second child would be the final icing – if there was any possibility I wanted her to have a companion, someone to spread and share the love, to be there with her when we became old, someone to love her like we did.
When she reached 18 months nothing had happened pregnancy-wise (we had hoped her birth might kick things into gear again..I was sure I stopped falling pregnant because of the psychological kick-back of the losses) so we made plans and turned to IVF again. I still remember feeling like a fraudulent leper walking into the Infertility Clinic holding hands with my toddler. I desperately wanted to hang a sign around her neck saying ‘IVF baby – honestly, I’ve earnt her’.
The Gods were smiling – despite a small number of eggs yet again, all were good quality and the treatment worked first time. Much to our astonishment and delight I was pregnant with twins. We were ecstatic. Except it wasn’t meant to be. Despite being on the magic cocktail of drugs that gave us Bella (Heparin, aspirin and steroids) when we went for our next scan, there were no heartbeats. I’ll never forget the the nurse saying ‘This is so rare. It really shouldn’t happen to both, they’re in separate sacs.’ I had to go into hospital for a D&C. I remember they wanted me to take my wedding ring off. I refused saying they were taking enough and just to cover it with surgical tape.
I was so utterly devastated. It was one of the lowest points I can ever remember. You’d think we’d be used to it, but coming after Bella, it was such a body blow… IVF takes such time and emotional commitment – the whole process is so fraught with dangers and knock backs that it seems as if you’ve been pregnant for months rather than weeks. We really thought we’d cracked the miscarriage problem and had prayed we’d never, ever have to face the trauma of it ever again.
Holding a glass of ouzo the day of the mirror
The following month we headed to Greece to get away from everything and have a holiday. And then something truly incredible happened: I fell pregnant naturally – and literally knew straight away. But how could I? I gave myself a strong talking to in the bathroom mirror – stop grasping at straws, don’t ruin the holiday for the others, stop dreaming, your cycle’s up the creek, move on – Whenever I’d been pregnant (Sooooo many times before) I’d feel sick after one sip of alcohol..but look, I could still drink ouzo… The first weekend after we got back to the UK we travelled to see the in-laws. I was handed a glass of white wine…and I knew it was true.
(Photo by the wonderful Alexandra Joseph)
It was such a bitter sweet time…I hadn’t fallen naturally pregnant in over five years…the joy of hope..the trauma of fearing the worst again. I went back on the drugs as soon as I could..and then it was a matter of waiting. All I can say is that to reach 12 weeks the seconds ticked by like hours..
(Photo by Alexandra Joseph)
But Charlie was meant to be – though he didn’t make it easy..I had notches on my umbilical cord so I remained on daily heparin injections until my 30th week – I looked like a regular abuser. Then I got pre-eclampsia so he was finally delivered 2 weeks early by C-Section at what seemed a tiny five and a half pounds..but he was with us, he was alive – he was an absolute little miracle.
And now to see us as a family together, you’d never know..you’d just think..my….they’re lucky…
(Photo by Alexandra Joseph)
And we are.
Laters, Kate x