There is definitely something that happens when you become a parent - I don't know whether it is a change to your DNA, neurons firing differently, celestial rotations or a change in alignment of the planets, but whatever it is, that instant I became this little person's Mummy my life changed forever.
I distinctly remember the day, the afternoon, the exact moment, nursing this tiny precious life. When she was 4 weeks old I was hit with an all consuming, overwhelming, encompassing love for this little person.
A love like I never knew.
I was always prepared for the moment that she was born that I may not instantly love this little being. I mean, how could I? I didn't know her? I hadn't yet met her so could I love her straight away.
But I did. Oh my goodness I did.
I remember lying there mere minutes after her birth, just holding her and stroking her little cheek as she nursed (and just HOW did she know to do that straight away??) and telling her over and over how much her Daddy & I loved her.
But then something happened at 4 weeks. A different love. A love I didn't know existed and I never would have been able to comprehend if anyone had told me about it before hand. In this instant I knew I would do absolutely anything in my power possible to protect her. It was there. Instilled in my heart. Unchangeable.
Suddenly I realised I could cause physical harm to anyone who threatened her. Who was this person? I am not a 'hurting people' kind of person - how could I feel so driven? My gosh how could I love someone so much?
When this bolt struck me, I was home on my own with my girl, and I remember sending my husband and my Mum a text message saying "Oh my gosh I just love her so much". I needed to shout it from the roof tops, but at the same time, just didn't know how to comprehend it or wrap my head around
the magnitude of it. My Mum rang me. She understood.
And now my little girl is a few months away from turning 3 (or as she says, "I am two of a half"), and I often find myself reflecting back on the moment, and all the moments that followed when the intensity of my love and my fierceness to protect her started defining me and my relationship with her.
My daughter has been in childcare for the last 18 months, just 2 days a week. For some reason, the last 3-4 months she hasn't been going too well with this. My husband & I were picking up on little cues from her, and always asking more and more questions at the centre about how her day was. We were told she had a good day - we couldn't work out why she was getting so sad there.
We started to think about taking her out of the centre. Perhaps it wasn't the best fit for her? It is tricky when you are the parent though isn't it? There are emotions involved. And of course you want them to be the best possible little individual they can be. I found an inner conflict of wanting to teach her resilience and strength of character, and knowing that the socialisation was good for her. But I am her Mummy. My number 1 job is to look after her. I just didn't know what to do.
The last couple of weeks we have found out she has had some really miserable times there, and for the last few months the carers have been worried about her because she was so different to her usual self - very quiet, sitting on her own, eating less, standing at the door with her little bag on her back waiting to be picked up (I can't even write that without blubbering at the thought of that) - but they didn't share their concerns with us. None of them. And that gives me a pain in my stomach.
All kind of variables started to work their way into me trying to figure out the situation - should I change her routine, should I give up work, we have mortgage payments, am I not giving her enough time to adapt......
But then I knew the answer - I needed to go with what my heart and my gut were telling me.
It then became easier to know what to do.
It is a bit sad to have to finish her up at a place where she has little friends and has been going for some while, but my heart just breaks at the thought of her being miserable there. I am not for a moment saying that anything sinister or evil has happened there, but there has been several things concern us and she has certainly been enduring a bad experience for a few months.
I guess as she grows I am going to be faced with many more decisions, and will no doubt often spend countless hours working out what is the best thing to do. Where are her best interests? How can I look after her? Some decisions will be easy (I hope!) and I'm sure some will pull on all my heart strings and emotions.
I think I need to remind myself that if I listen to my heart, and to my gut, all will be okay.
And I wanted to share some pictures with you, that are very special to me - some moments in the hospital when we welcomed Tara into the world. (My personal fave is taken just a few hours after she was born, when my she and my husband lay down on the bed together and had a sleep - I could not resist taking a photo of brand new Daddy's protective hand).
I took a series of photos about a year ago, playing around with the self-timer on my camera - these are two of my faves :)
And this one I took about 6 months ago. Oh that face!