When you told me you were pregnant I said ‘Congratulations’, because I didn’t know how to say everything I wanted to say.
I didn’t know how to celebrate with you the incredible secret specialness of the tiny being inside you.
I didn’t know how to explain that it will make you feel everything deeper – every tired muscle, every anxious thought, the joyful exhilaration, and every tear jerking nappy commercial, as your body wraps all its strength around them. You’ve never thought your blood was so precious until its steady rhythm flows through to fill them and all the edges of you and them are blurred.
I can’t wait to see your face when your little one starts to shift and kick. When your ribs are a cage of protection over them, and you are aching – in your back and belly and in your heart waiting for them.
As your body changes don’t hate it, appreciate the beauty and privilege of each stretch mark. We take ourselves apart to bring them into the world, so you’ve got to think of those stretch marks as your war paint. I didn't know how to explain to you that birth is the most alone and petrified and beautiful and brave that I have ever been. So 'til you wage war with every muscle and bone to meet that baby, and as you recover, let me hold you up with my encouragement and support. And let me wash your dishes, like you did for me.
Don’t be fooled. It isn’t a full uterus, or a particular kind of birth, or genetics that makes a mother – it is the willingness to rip your left arm from its socket and give it to them if it will mean they are okay. And – harder still – the thousands upon thousands of moments, the 3am vigils, and the lonely moments, when you feel like you have no more love or patience to give, and you give it anyway.
You’ve got this girlfriend,