The young mother cradled her little one close to her breast and thought that human love could never be deeper than this. For many months she had been aware that her behaviour, her lifestyle, would affect the little bud as it became a flower inside her. Of course the days of eating for two were long since gone but diet was an important consideration. There had never been a better time to learn about the nutritional qualities of all she ate. No smoking – not a problem – never touched the things, but no drinking – well that seemed a pity until every cup of tea or coffee made her so sick that all she wanted was clear unadulterated water. Well that was easy – not really self denial – more like self preservation really. Visits to the gym could continue but a personal exercise programme had to be devised. Very clever that because, not only were we keeping fit, we were also preparing our bodies for childbirth and, at the same time, learning exercises that would help get our figures back after the event.
It had been a tense time – nothing was guaranteed – until the last few weeks, when she felt quite relaxed about everything. The little one could survive if it were born just a few weeks early and, besides, the young woman didn’t seem to let anything bother her when she had reached the stage where she positively rolled from one appointment to the next. All this was history now and here she was with a little life in her arms – no longer safely cocooned in her womb but cosy and warm in a mother’s embrace. The little life slept, occasionally moving a tiny finger with delicacy. The mother thrilled. Now they were home. This is our home. How do you like it Baby? I hope you will be happy here. When you fall, I will help you up; when you are ill, I will be your nurse; when you feel sad, we will play a game or read a story to make you smile again. We will watch the birds as they visit the bird table: I’ll tell you which is which. We will listen for their airs and arias – we’ll try to copy them – try to whistle. Oh Little Person, I will love you always.
When the man came home, mother and child were both asleep in a corner of the sofa. He sat opposite them and the stresses and trials of his day just left him. This little being, this child of his, was theirs, for a while, to cherish, to nurture. Together. Their new little family would make the world a better place. He looked around him at the familiar things. They seemed different now. The fire would soon need to be guarded, the table cloth would need to be replaced by mats – little hands would soon be tugging at anything left hanging down. The fragile things would need to be placed on a higher shelf. How this little newcomer would change things.
Baby woke up and made those special newborn noises which are not cries, not words, but gentle sounds without meaning. The mother woke too and was aware that she perhaps shouldn’t have allowed herself to doze off with this precious life in her arms – supposing she had let go her grip and the baby had tumbled to the floor. Her husband, as if reading her thoughts, nervously took the child and carefully placed it in the crib, next to the sofa. His baby continued to make the meaningless sounds. The mother couldn’t wait to refer to her child’s father as Daddy. She chatted to the small person about all that Daddy would have been doing that day. The little one had been used to the sound of her voice since before being born, so a sense of security lulled Baby back to sleep. Both parents sighed deeply and hoped that these precious moments would stay with them always. Life had been good before but they had not really understood its incompleteness. Their love for one another had resulted in this new life. Their own lives were now so full of purpose. The future was en famille. Positivity, hope and, oddly, belonging – these were all feelings the couple now experienced. Neither expected this sense of belonging – Baby belonged with them, they belonged together – and life belongs to every new family. It is Springtime. The little one has woken up.