Well, it's the eve of Verity's first birthday and I am sitting here feeling a right mixture of things.
Firstly I am incredibly proud of her, she is doing so well and really thriving and I am also proud of myself because I have gone from knowing absolutely nothing about babies to successfully nurturing one through their first year!
Tomorrow is a cause for great celebration, but I have also been either on the verge of tears or actually crying for a few days now and I wasn't sure why. I have been feeling like such a wimp but this morning I spoke to three other ladies at the group we go to and they admitted that they had felt exactly the same. It was such a relief because I was beginning to think that there was something wrong with me. We then spent time over coffee and birthday cake discussing why such a momentous occasion should reduce us to gibbering wrecks!
The overriding phrase that came out was "I cried because she's not my baby anymore" and I think that this is the crux of the matter and something that us older mums feel even more keenly.
One of the ladies said that the emotion you feel at your child growing up is like an inbuilt feeling to make people have more children and keep the human race going, but when you are over 40 you know that this is unlikely to be an option and for me it definitely isn't.
Therefore, I know that this sounds weird, but it's like we are mourning the loss of children that we haven't even conceived. I think there's a lot in that. I have loved these past 12 months. Sure it's not been easy at times but it's been the best time of my life and the best thing I have ever done and I am a little bit sad that I won't have those times again.
What has added to it for me is a circumstance out of my control. We have a flat in another part of the country and all V's outgrown clothes were stored there. A burst pipe led to flooding and ALL the clothes were soaked through. I brought them back here and - 5 loads of washing later, everything she has ever worn was hanging up drying around me. There in front of me was
the past 12 months in clothes and it was a bit like listening to records that remind you of happy times and remembering exactly where you were when they were playing.
V was a small baby and her newborn clothes are tiny and I realised that I couldn't remember her being that small. Then we looked at pictures and realised that even they were too big for her. I want to remember every detail and am worried I will forget.
Then all her summer clothes remind me of those wonderful heady days of maternity leave when it was just the two of us during the day walking in the park or playing on her mat and trying to keep cool.
Every outfit holds a memory and I know that I won't ever be able to chuck out any of it. I will cling onto each small item of clothing like I am holding fast to my memories.
So where does this leave me? Well, I am 44 next week so even if I decided that another baby was the answer there is no guarantee that I would conceive. And if I did, well I remember the constant worry of my pregnancy with yoyo-ing blood pressure and virtual bed rest. It was bad enough then but with a toddler to look after well, V would suffer I think and that would not be fair.
Besides, you can't keep having children when you feel emotional that the last one is no longer a baby! And I know that at my age I am very lucky to be blessed with my one beautiful and healthy child, I may not be so lucky another time.
Therefore I must focus on my beautiful daughter and while it's OK to look back at past happy memories I must concentrate more on looking forward to the many more that we are going to make. So, happy birthday for tomorrow my lovely V, the first of many, many more!