I would love to have had a sister….
One of the things I loved most when I discovered I was expecting twin girls, was the thought that they would always have each another. From the very beginning, sharing a womb together, then when they were born, those first few days of being swaddled together in one blanket; their little noses pressed against one another.
When the nurse first came to me after they were born, she asked if I wanted them in separate cots. But I knew I wanted them to be kept together, it didn’t seem right to separate them so quickly and so decisively, with no discernible reason as to why it would need doing. I remember one night when Eliza was crying, I watched as Florence put her hand instinctively into Eliza’s mouth, and let her suck her fingers for comfort. It was the most beautiful thing I had seen and told me so much about how these two girls felt. in separate cots, there would have been little opportunity for them to comfort one another.
A year and a half later and they no longer share a cot, but each have their own, side by side with one another still. . They can see each other, and I often hear them gurgling and cooing to one another, after I have left the room and tiptoed away. On waking, they always give each other a big smile and a kiss. These small gestures fill me with hope for the kind of bond they will have between them. Be loving, I whisper to them. Be loving, and be kind.
Sisters and friends…
When I was about 10 years old I had a notebook I carried around with me, and I would ask people to write things in it, poems, or doodles, drawings, elaborate signatures… I think I was looking for wisdom, back then, collecting folklore from people, and building up stories that people told me. It was my Dad, who wrote a little verse that has stuck in my head ever since. This is it
Make new friends but keep the old
Some in silver
Some in gold
At the time I remember him explaining that as we move through our life we meet, and make friends, with new and different people along the way. Some of them, the silver one’s, burn brightly and stay with us for awhile. Others, those in gold, stay by our sides, golden and eternal. It was something I desperately needed to hear at the time, I was being horribly bullied and desperately lonely at school. I wanted a friend, a best friend. It was something I asked my Mum all the time, when will I have a best friend? Having two daughters now, it breaks my heart a little to think of the little me that felt so lonely and wanted to make friends.
Fast forward a few years to a sixteen year old version of myself, with hennaed hair and Doc Martin boots; wearing White Musk by the Body Shop and obsessed with The Cure. I went to college and met my friend! A tall, graceful, curly haired girl with boots and thick black tights. I remember the toilets being flooded and feet sploshing in half a foot of water, we started talking – discovering in lightning quick time, as you are able to do at that age, that we had both been to Glastonbury and had lots and lots more in common.
That friendship was, and remains, the most important and cherished of my life so far. In my friendship I found all the things I was so desperate to find as a young girl – someone to share my secrets with, someone to laugh with and to talk about make up and boys with. And over the years we did just that. We grew up together, I guess, and no matter in which direction either of us went, we always managed to stay in the parallel lanes; we could always follow and appreciate each others path.
So when, in our early thirties our friendship came to a startling and bewildering halt, it felt like all the certainties I had carried around with me, in terms of who I was and what I would be, were suddenly all changed. I no longer had my best friend and that isolation felt particularly poignant when I came to be a Mum.
I was very lucky to meet a wonderful circle of women who all had babies at the same time as me. The support I got from these women during those long, but oddly blissful nights of the first few months was fantastic. Late night, what’s app messages, where we shared fears, and questions and asked for advice from one another. Without a partner, it was so important for me to have these women who gave me confidence and encouraged me. And it also occurred to me how these late night messages, shared in real time between women, was a relatively new and hugely meaningful mode of communication. It made me think of the real loneliness I had heard mothers sometimes speak of, feeling unsure, bewildered and having no one to turn to, or to ask for advice and support. We were able to call on each other, and to speak across the silences of our little rooms, nursing our babies, and ask one another ‘am I doing this right?’
Sisters and Social Media
Since then, I have actively sought out on-line support from a circle of on-line women, who I have found, and who I am able to gather experience, advice, inspiration and encouragement from. I have discovered amazingly beautiful blogs, fabulous Instagram accounts with great content, that are both inspiring and creative. These mediums, offer women, who don’t necessarily have that real life sister, best friend, mother or mother-in-law close by, a wonderful circle of sisters to learn from.
And with that, I have to say a big thank you to the following ladies who have been such a support to me over these last few months. Their online presence has meant a lot.
(a lovely, genuine kind, funny mum of two – you can find her on her website/blog, Instagram and YouTube)
(A wonderfully creative and inspiring blog and also brilliant Instagram account)
(A thoughtful, inspiring, nurturing and ethical blog and Instagram account lady)
(A totally amazing, supportive yoga teacher, who believes passionately in supporting mums and women, generally. Great Instagram account too).