When we were expecting our baby, I remember feeling so full of nerves and anticipation for the little person we would meet.
What would he or she look like? Would I suddenly believe in love at first sight like everyone says? My heart was bursting with excitement to meet our new arrival, and to become a mother. My narrative of motherhood, however, turned out to be one that I had never expected, one that I couldn’t possibly have imagined would happen to me, and one that I would never wish upon anyone.
After a full term and healthy pregnancy, our son, Teddy, was born. He was utterly perfect in every way and I couldn’t wait to share him with our family and friends. During the night, Teddy stopped breathing; and our lives changed in a heartbeat. What followed was a transfer to a neighbouring hospital to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where we spent three agonising days with our baby boy who was fighting for his little life. I leaned over his crib and willed him to wake up; to just come back to us so we could take him home and keep him safe.
Teddy never woke up, and on that third day in the hospital we had to let him go. We wrapped him in a blanket and read him a bedtime story. He was surrounded by his family and the love for him in the room was palpable. I studied every single detail of his face so that I might never forget it, and I took one last deep breath in at the crease of his neck so that I could savour his new-born scent forever. That day, we left the hospital as new parents; but without our baby.
I still had a nursery in my house. I still had drawers full of freshly washed new-born clothes. I still had a hospital bag that had been packed in anticipation for his first few days and with everything that he would need. I didn’t have my baby though.
Like so many parents who lose their children, we decided that Teddy would never become the reason we didn’t; he would become the reason we did. We set about raising much needed funds in his name for the Neonatal Unit who tried, so tirelessly, to save his life; so that we can help other families from enduring what we have, by helping to provide the care and equipment that is needed to look after sick and premature babies. That is Teddy’s legacy in this world.
Teddy made me a mother, and although he may not be physically here to show the existence of that title, nothing will ever change that. That makes me so proud of him and ever grateful that he gave me that opportunity. It might not be the motherhood I had dreamt off, but it is my motherhood.
So, do I believe in love at first sight now? Of course I do. That changed the moment I became a mother….
If you would like to join in and share a story about motherhood, we’d love you to post a picture on Instagram, with the hashtag #whenibecameamother and tagging @dontbuyherflowers. You can find the details on our Instagram page. One person will be chosen at random to receive two Any Occasion Packages, our Mother’s Day bestseller. For more Mother’s Day gift ideas click here. £1 of every package sold for Mother’s Day will go to charity Kicks Count.