Birth Stories.

Me on my second birthday. My Mom  is 23 here. My Dad is 33.

Me on my second birthday. My Mom is 23 here. My Dad is 33.

Friday May 11th

1:30 am

Dear Kate,

Eleven years ago tonight – I was alone with my eldest son for the first time in the maternity ward of the Royal Free Hospital in London.

I was 29 and it was 8 days till my birthday.

I remember picking up my journal to try and write and the tears just pouring from my eyes.

I wasn’t crying, but leaking in this almost primal way that had no bearing to anything I had ever touched or been touched by before.

I have never tried to write about birth or motherhood in anything other than an impersonal neutral and factual way.

I just don’t have access to those kinds of words.

Looking back, I seemed so unformed at the time.  And I was terrified that  first night (do you know anyone who wasn’t?)

And I remember how my thoughts kept going to own birth story.  I was born in Women’s College Hospital.

My Mom was 23 and had been in Canada for just over a year.

She and my father were an arranged marriage (they briefly met twice) – a state of being that I have spent much time puzzling over.

[Time they are genuinely both baffled and annoyed by  – since I could/should have done something more “useful” e.g. learned to drive, organized my house, gone to bed.]

But those are all her stories to tell or to lay to rest – but I know they were not easy years.

A new country. A new baby. A new husband.

And the heavy weight of cultural traditions and expectations.

On my first night as a Mom, eleven years ago tonight, it was this picture that kept coming to my mind for some reason…


PS Cannot wait to see you at your book launch!! 

Read Kate’s last letter here

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