Those Newborn Days

Help! In just 2 weeks time, a puppy arrives at our house. I will admit that I’ve always been more of a cat person, but over the last year or so dogs have moved up enormously in my estimations and I just love them now. So, my family are happy that I’ve finally conceded; they’re getting a dog. Or rather, we’re getting a dog.

But… people say… puppies are harder than babies. And I’m thinking, ouch! Those newborn days were pretty painful. Exhausting. But at least I didn’t have to go to work.

It turns out there’s no maternity leave for when you get a puppy.

I guess it’s time for those newborn days to come back again.


International Women’s Day 2022

She sat at the back and they said she was shy,
She led from the front and they hated her pride,
They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance,
They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence.

When she shared no ambition they said it was sad,
So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad.
They told her they’d listen, then covered their ears,
And gave her a hug while they laughed at her fears.

And she listened to all of it thinking she should
Be the girl they older to be, best as she could.
But one day she asked what was best for herself,
Instead of trying to please everyone else…

So she walked through the forest and stood with the trees,
She heard the wind whisper and dance with the leaves.
She spoke to the willow, the elm and the pine,
And she told them what she’d been told time after time.

She told them she felt she was never enough,
She was either too little or far far too much,
Too loud or too quiet, too fierce or too weak,
Too wise or too foolish, too bold or too meek.

Then she found a small clearing surrounded by firs,
And she stopped…
And she heard what the trees said to her,
And she sat there for hours not wanting to leave,
For the forest said nothing.

It just let her breathe.

Unknown Author.

A letter to my daughter on the day you start school

My darling daughter,

It’s been 4 years, 7 months and 11 days since you came into this world. Pink, fleshy, craving warmth and human touch.

Since then you’ve become loud, energetic and confident. Sometimes we say you’re sassy. Sometimes you seem like a teenager, full of mood, eye rolls and attitude. But, mostly, you are, I tell people, a delight. You are a joy-bringer.

You make up your own songs. You sing your own tunes. You dance and pirouette with great seriousness. And you never stop talking.

It’s wonderful. The soundtrack of our lives together. You and me. In the car. Or the supermarket. Or the living room. Or the park. Or church. Or in bed on our lazy mornings. Chattering and laughing and (sometimes) crying. My days will certainly be quieter without you around.

My darling daughter, I will miss you as you step out into this brave new world. As others mould you and listen to you, as they become a bigger part of your world and my influence on you lessens, my prayer for you is simple.

That you would always be close to Jesus.

That you would know his infinite love for you, and your infinite worth to Him.

And I pray, oh I pray, you’ll come home each day, full of the same joie de vivre you started school with. And full of chatter for me to drink in. And when the days come (and they will come) when the joy is gone and school makes you sad, or sick, or anxious, I pray you’ll crawl into my arms and seek comfort where it’s safe.

Never forget how incredible you are, my dear girl. And never, ever, ever let anyone tell you you’re “too much”. Because, my dear, dear daughter, you are effortlessly brilliant and you’re going to set the world on fire.

I so look forward to seeing how this new adventure of yours goes.

All my love,


How can it be that we are at the eve of your 3rd birthday?

At this moment 3 years ago, I was finally being wheeled down to the delivery suite. I’d been in labour since Monday and it was now Wednesday night. Finally, finally, it was time to meet you.

We had waited so long for you. Time went so slowly in the lead up to your arrival. Labour had taken its time. Even once you were here, though the days blurred with nights, time seemed to go so slowly.

So how is it that I seem to have blinked and missed you growing up? How did you get from being tiny baby to independent, chatty little girl? How can I remember it all, and yet not remember any of it? How will you continue to change in another 1095 days?

How can it be that I could love you more than I did that day? I do, it’s undeniable that my love for you has grown. Like an unquenchable fire, fanned silently into flame and carefully stoked. But how? How has it been 3 whole years since I first set eyes on you and breathed, “She is beautiful.”


The first month of training

What can I say, other than, how has it been only a month since I started my theological training?

The conversations, the sea of new faces, the breadth of new information and the seemingly endless possibilities of what my future may look like… all of it stretching out in front of me, almost a never ending reminder of all the reasons why I should quit whilst I am ahead.

During my first residential weekend away, my daughter had stopped sleeping. She was affected by my absence more than we could have thought in advance. And so, on the Monday morning, I was ready to pack it all in. How on earth could God have called me at this point in my life? How could I do this to my darling child?

Yet, that day was filled with encouraging conversations and the smell of my mum’s lasagne cooking in the oven when I came home. And by the end of the week she had started sleeping again. She has seemingly forgotten the betrayal of my going away. It’s a good thing to, as it’s only a fortnight until I go away again – this time for a week.

I have hurt my brain through reading, lost much sleep comforting my child, spoken to 100s of students about trying church, and told toddlers how much God loves them. Whilst being utterly exhausting, this month has also been incredibly encouraging and life giving.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:14

Summer Adventures

In 6 and a half weeks I will be entering the world of full time work / study once more. I will be on placement 3 days a week, and studying 3 days a week. I will go from spending all day every day with my yummy daughter to being without her most days.

And so, this summer, our final 6 weeks of freedom together with no work or study, we will aim for many adventures.

If you’re in the North West of England, comment and let me know if there’s something near you that is worth visiting with a 2.5 year old.

(Our first adventure, local beach sunset.)

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before, 

When you have freedom and time,

And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,

Full of feedings and burping,

Nappy changes and crying,

Whining and fighting,

Naps or a lack of naps,

It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget …

There is a last time for everything.

There will come a time when you will feed

your baby for the very last time.

They will fall asleep on you after a long day

And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,

And never pick them up that way again.

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night

And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road,

Then never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,

And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”

and do all the actions,

Then never sing them that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,

The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.

They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time

Until there are no more times.

And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times,

remember there are only so many of them

and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.

For one last time.
-Author Unknown –

Happy Golden Boobies!

That’s it! 12 months and 14 days of breastfeeding. Really though, it’s only 12 months… because it took 2 weeks for it to stop hurting. It took 2 weeks for me not to dread the next feed. It took 2 weeks for me to trust my body.

And what a year it’s been. But now I find myself being asked, “When do you think you’ll stop breastfeeding?” 

The thing is, I don’t know the answer to that. How can I? One lady this week told me, “She doesn’t need you. She’s just addicted to you.” And maybe she is. But, to quote Clark Gabel, “Frankly…I don’t give a damn!” Figuring out how to breastfeed – because, spoiler alert, it doesn’t come naturally – was such hard work in the first place; so tiring, so painful, so terrifying. Why would I give it up now?

Even if I wanted to (which, periodically, I do) I couldn’t. My little darling finds it so comforting, and is just getting used to a cup at the moment. She just wouldn’t get enough liquid without breastfeeding. 

Mainly though, I’m still breastfeeding because I love it. I love the quiet times together, just me and her. I love being certain that she’s getting everything she needs. And  I love that she is having the very thing nature has created for her.

A Season for Everything

Today, I tried to put my daughter in a favourite vest of mine: a Harvard University one, a gift from my sister-in-law. It matches my own Harvard University t-shirt which I bought in Boston in 2012. Anyway, it was far too small. I couldn’t even squeeze her arms through the arm holes.

There is reason to rejoice, of course. She is growing! She is a lovely size, with adorable chubbiness. My milk is providing her with everything she needs. And yet, I am so sad that she has outgrown yet another favourite top.

I rushed her into certain cute 3-6m clothes, when I could have been enjoying the 0-3m ones. Why? Simply because I couldn’t wait. It is a trivial matter, but it is a matter nonetheless. 

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Each phase of Isobel’s life will bring great joys, as well their own challenges. As each phase draws to a close, I know there will be things I will rejoice over never having to do again. But there will be so much I will miss, and so much I will never experience with her again.

When I wrote this originally, earlier today in my quiet time, there was an alternate end. Since then, though, there has been heartbreaking news that the MP Jo Cox, wife and mother of 2, has been stabbed and shot dead in broad daylight. The news is horrifying anyway, and when I saw it I text a mummy friend, “I’m just sat here crying. What is this world we are living in? I cannot believe an MP has been shot dead. I cannot believe the hatred being spread.”

The news chills me to the core. As a mother, Jo Cox may have kissed her children goodnight last night, or made their breakfast this morning, unaware that it would be the final time she would do it. As parents we do not know when the last time we do something will be the last time. I do not know when I will do Isobel’s final breastfeed. I do not know when she will wear her final nappy, nor when her final nighttime feed will be. I do not know the last time I will see her gummy smile without teeth. Jo Cox did not know that she would never again get to say to her children, “I love you.” She will never get to say those words again.

There is a season for everything. And the season is now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now.

Grasp every moment. Live in the here and now. Enjoy the seasons.

Life is precious.

And the winner of Masterchef is…

This isn’t a spoiler, because we haven’t had the final yet. Neither is it a prediction, because I believe it’s too close to call. It’s simply a nod to who I believe is the real winner of this year’s show, regardless of who actually wins.

Jane. Wonderful Jane. Mum of 4, and that’s all we really know about her. Except this…

On her first appearance, she said, “I think, when you become a mum, you lose your confidence.”

And that is true. So much of our identity is in our job, what we offer society and the world, and this changes for many women when they have a child and go on maternity leave. Of course, a lot of women go back to work before too long, but even then it is often reduced hours, and how much of yourself can you really give if you’ve got a young family to get back to? As I’ve said in previous posts, motherhood can be very lonely. If your family aren’t that close by; if you are the first of your friends to have a baby; if you’ve recently moved to the area; if you feel stuck in the house, all of these things change you and your confidence. That feeling of 100% dependence upon you can be really quite overwhelming,many it’s not really something anyone can understand unless they experience it themselves. It can rob you of your independence; it can rob you of your social life; it can rob you of your confidence.

Enter Jane. She certainly was timid on that first episode. I marvelled at this women on the television set, at how in control she was and yet how she clearly couldn’t see how amazing she is. Throughout the show, I have been enthralled by how she has grown and changed; Jane has become more daring, more feisty, more confident. And that’s why, for me, she is this year’s winner of Masterchef. It doesn’t matter whether she comes first. It wouldn’t even have mattered if she had left the competition at the semi-finals. What matters is that she has found something within herself, something that once was lost. And that has to be a greater victory than the title itself.

For mum’s everywhere, the confident and timid alike, Jane, you are our champion.