On the run-up to Freya’s first birthday, I’ve been nostalgic, thinking back to where we were a year ago.

Mid-November 2019 I was heavily pregnant. I was eating a ridiculous amount of pineapple every day, in the hopes that it would make my labour start. (Spoiler: it didn’t) I was trying every known method and a good deal of the unknown ones to induce labour, but really I was also enjoying pregnancy still and I didn’t want it to end.

Those last two weeks where I was ‘overdue’ were intense. It was luxurious in the sense that I was paying so much attention to my body, to feeling the baby, I was treasuring every second. It was stressful as well, because something had to happen, and relatives and doctors were not giving me an easy time about that. I felt immensely emotional for a lot of it.

But in all, I have gorgeous memories of those last weeks. 

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Today, Freya has been earthside for as long as she was ever growing inside of me.

It already feels like a distant past that she was this heavy, warm and slippery thing I pulled to lay on top of my chest and we were suddenly catapulted into the deep terror of sleep deprived parenthood.

Now most of this feels easy and comfortable, but she definitely isn’t a tiny baby anymore. In the last two weeks alone our little miss Sunshine has acquired two teeth, learned to crawl, and now pulls herself up and ‘cruises’. It won’t be too long anymore before she can walk!

It’s odd, but that sudden transition into independent movement – she’s everywhere now, attempting to grab a fistful of cat food, eagerly plucking the flowers off my orchids, or trying to stick her wet little fingers into power outlets – has cemented the idea that she’s her own person. We don’t have a baby anymore, this is a little human, a toddler, a child. One that loudly voices her opinions, who’s impatient and at times rather violent, but also kind and good-humoured.

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I’m recording this because it must be something hormonal along with everything else, but lately I have been SO BROODY.

I have always dreamt of having a house full of children, but it seemed like a lovely fantasy and not necessarily something I’d want in reality. Before I was ever pregnant part of me even assumed that as soon as we’d have one child it would be such hard work that Jo and I would decide that one is quite enough, and that that would be it. When Freya was only just born we definitely felt overwhelmed and panicked enough that that seemed plausible.

But ooooh I want that dream now more than ever!

I have been enjoying motherhood so much these last months, which is probably a large part of this. I feel like I know what I’m doing now, and I love doing it. And maybe it’s that with everything we have already learned with Freya, I feel we would be better parents the second time around. Or it’s about the pregnancy, I was nauseous as hell the first trimester but after that it was great, and I very much want to feel a baby grow within me again. Maybe it’s that Freya would be so cute with a sibling. Or maybe it’s just more, more of this feeling of having a child, more love, the feeling that our arms are big enough to wrap around more children than just one.

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If Freya ever asks me about our lives like this, in lockdown, I will have to tell her about the walking. I carry her on my chest in a wrap for hours a day, walking through the neighbourhood in ever-increasing circles. Then after the walks there are the afternoon naps, the next few hours slipping past with her warm body sleeping next to mine, her sweaty head leaning on the crook of my arm.

It’s a slow paced sort of life, full of little habits and quiet moments. It’s rough in how the need to do something else, just anything else, sneaks up on me at times. But I have to admit that part of me wants to keep this forever, the three of us safely locked into our home, together as the days flow by.

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It’s sort of ironic now, but ‘couple faces the apocalypse with a baby’ was always one of my favourite fiction tropes. I just never expected to be living it! Or well, it’s not quite the apocalypse of course. And we are all healthy here, luckily. I imagine that the lockdown has impacted us less than it has most people really. Jo works from home now, but she still works the same hours. And I am minding Freya all day, a baby does not have a pause button!

At times I fantasise about what this time could have been like for me if we didn’t have her yet – the writing I could have done! The time I would have had! But in truth I’m grateful of the distraction that having a baby provides, we are always busy and there is always more to be done.

Freya is thriving. At four and a half months she can roll over, grab objects and put them into her mouth, babble, blow spit bubbles, and sit with minimal assistance. She’s generally of a sunny disposition. We carry her in the wrap for hours a day, she is breastfed whenever she wants to be, she sleeps in bed on top of me, and we never let her just cry. All of that might seem outlandish to people of an older generation, but I can’t see us raising her any other way. She is happy, and so are we.

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