Arora Appleby

a journal of healing, learning + loving

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Letters to my daughter.

I had a New Year's resolution to write more and this is the first thing I've really written, for public consumption at least. I've been writing 'letters to my daughter' in a notebook. I started it at home when I was pregnant because journaling always felt strange to me so I journal my thoughts and feelings but address them to Baby E which has helped. Maybe I'll try that here. If it works I might rebrand to 'letterstomydaughter' if that isn't already taken. Anyway, I digress. 

Baby E,
You're in front of me on your mat, asleep but stirring, sucking on your pink 'i love daddy' dummy whilst your hands search for your ears.. you like to cover them to help soothe yourself. Your nan's phone is ringing, on loud, of course, and I fear this will be the end of this post before I've even had the chance to articulate something profound or to tell you about my new little life and how I'm trying to piece the parts of me back together in this new normal: Motherhood. 

As someone who absolutely didn't want any children, I think I'm handling it all better than I thought I would. I didn't want children because I feared I would be too selfish. I still worry about that now, in the spaces between changing nappies, washing bottles, feeding you and attempting to catch some z's. I worry that wanting to maintain my own identity, separate from being just 'mum' makes me ungrateful somehow, or less than, because I seldom hear or read about women who are mothers reclaiming their identities or even wanting to; they seem happy being just 'mum' and more power to them but that's not me. 

I need to be Arora: the writer, the painter, the opinionated woman who sometimes argues on the internet, the woman who swears too much, listens to gangster rap and tries to twerk in the mirror naked before a shower. Don't get me wrong, I love being 'mum' -  I love being the one you settle (eventually) for, the one who you smile at and follow across the room, the one who you'll go to when you've got a problem/achieved something/learnt a cool new thing/did a handstand for longer than 2 seconds. I weirdly love the sleep deprivation, the 4am screams in my ears that make me want to cry myself, the cuddles and the punches in the throat because you're finding your hands. I love watching my husband be a dad and seeing how much he adores this little human we've created. I love knowing that I am yours, forever as you are mine and I finally understand that motherly love others often speak about - it's like I've joined an exclusive club that only myself, my husband and you know about.

It's the next day and you're currently sitting with your Nan, asleep, finally. The smell of fresh chocolate sponge cake fills the air as your Bamp steps out of the kitchen complaining that it's as flat as a pancake. You see, he's recently retired and is experimenting with this he enjoys doing. Last week, we made a curry, over the weekend he made ice-slices and today, a chocolate sponge (as per my request.) I'm meant to be doing my counselling journals so I can finally submit my portfolio (over 2 weeks late) but I can't seem to bring myself to do it and so I'm attempting this, instead. 

I found out I have ADHD a year or two ago which makes sense of a lot of things, including why I can't remember the year I was diagnosed. I hope it doesn't affect my ability to be your Mum. I fear that when you start school I won't be able to keep on top of everything: making sure you have a clean uniform for the day, remembering to pack your lunch, remembering to pack your bag (and bring it home with us) and making sure you're on time every day. I'm late to everything you see, and if you're like your dad, that will infuriate you to no end. I just want you to know that I will try. I'll do my best to remember all the things I need to and to be a 'normal' mum in the spaces where it matters (and by normal I mean organised with some resemblance of having my shit together) and I will be my weird and wonderful self every other time so you know that it's okay. It's okay to have a messy existence as a human.

Everything is a learning curve (at least that's what my mum always says) and so I want you to know it's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to learn and hurt and cry and laugh and dance and say what you feel and think (as long as it's not hurting anyone) and I've realised that because I want you to be so unapologetically yourself, I need to lead by example. I think this is why having my own identity is important to me because if I can't remember the fundamentals of who I am, or find new ones, how can I help you figure out and love every ounce of who you are?

I don't have all the answers yet, and I might not have them all, ever. But what I do know, is that we'll figure it out, together. 


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