Loved Top To Bottom and Head to Toe

By Emma Pearson

June 22, 2024

Image generated by AI – a woman rooted in love, loved from above and below 😉

17 April 2024

Today my elder daughter, Megan, turned 23. She was born at 1h25 a.m. A potentially inconvenient time, other than I’d been in hospital already for quite a few weeks (four? I honestly forget) on a permanent drip so that she wouldn’t be born too early. Once she was deemed “okay to arrive”, i.e, a “good enough size and weight” (still a full four weeks before her due date), they took me off the drip (or they took the drip off me), and lo and behold, she was born within 12 hours.

It’s really a whole other story – but briefly – I had been put on bed rest for Megan at precisely 5 months gestation. I spent two months lying down at home (laptop on my belly as I tried to lead a small office of consultants), and then, during my 7-month pregnancy check-up, was gently-firmly invited-ordered to head straight to the maternity unit. And stay there. The issue was that I was having contractions but couldn’t feel them. Kind of like with Ben. And later with Julia. Ben was two weeks early when the contractions started, so no issue. He was born within an hour of me arriving at hospital. Megan was four weeks early, but contractions began at five months and I just stayed in hospital until she arrived at 8 months. Julia was two weeks early, but contractions began at 4 ½ months. I’d had a while in hospital until the magic 8 month mark, then was sent home with tablets that I carried on taking even though they’d said I could stop. The day Julia came, we got to hospital and she was born 10 minutes later. Most likely I’d have lost both girls in late miscarriages were it not for the wonders of modern medicine. I am so grateful to medicine, and remember with great fondness the army of female midwives and the one brave male midwife who accompanied me and the girls as they came into the world. Those pregnancy stories feel so long ago now. It’s good to bring a bit of one of them here today.

I sent a message to Megan last night, with lots of appropriate emojis in it, saying I didn’t plan to send another at 1h25 a.m. – that I didn’t plan to be awake then.

As it was, and as happened just two weeks ago for Julia’s birthday, I woke up almost bang on the time at which Megan had made her appearance. Sure, I generally awaken a number of times during the night. But the way I wake up exactly at the time at which my two night babies were born (Ben was born at 14h00)… it’s something. Something is in the field, for sure.

This morning, at a more respectable time, I sent her another note. Even more emojis this time.

Along with a little sing song and a recording of the dog snoring and the cat purring.

Lots of love from lots of sentient beings going her way. We had a bit of back and forth over WhatsApp, and she asked for some photos of her right after birth, which I sent. She sent me a quick note back with “Thank you for the happy birthday wishes maaaammm I love youuuu💛”

I love receiving notes like that from my kids. Yes, they are quick notes on WhatsApp but they feel rich to me. I love the love. I feel the love.

Later in the day, I called my parents and talked to my dad for a while. He’s got some health concerns – nothing major in the grand scheme of things – at least not yet. At least not that we know. Though at his age, 86, and after a significant accident just over six months ago, the acceleration of ageing and decline appears more evident.

He talked. I listened. He talked. I reflected. He talked. I normalised.

I did not interrupt. I did not attempt to soothe. I did not minimise. I did not infantilise. I did not say, “I am sure it will all be fine”.

Yes – fear and anxiety flooded me as he said, “Actually, I am not so good”. I felt the panic start. I sensed myriad potential unfoldings all collapse into a single moment. But I held it all – my own fear and distress. My dad’s too.

It’s not easy. But it’s important. It’s powerful. And I believe it helps.

I have had so much practice at this. I get so much practice with this. Daily sometimes. Or at least weekly.

I have had practice in my own life – with Edward’s distress, Mike’s, Julia’s, my own… and lots of other people living your average, not-apparently-near-to-dying moments in life.

I get practice in the hospice – whether with residents or their friends and families.

I get practice with clients.

I sometimes get practice with almost strangers.

There’s nothing magic in the skill, but the effects are magical. And invariably felt.

As we ended our call, my dad said words to me that I will remember. They were, “You’re a good’un, Em. You’ve got a lot of wisdom and skill, and I am proud of you. I love you very much”. My dad has said variations of the first 80% of those short sentences many times to me before, but not so much the last five words. I don’t doubt that he loves me deeply – I know he does. That is not my point. I don’t need parents who tell me they love me every day. I know they do. AND it is wonderful – so very wonderful – to hear it from time to time. Live. Aloud.

So – it’s been a beautiful and precious day where one of my children has articulated that she loves me, and one of my parents has articulated that he loves me.

I feel loved, blessed, held, by both ends of my family tree. For a little while longer, I am one of the lucky ones who is less exposed to the reality of mortality because I still have my parents, because I am not yet – still not – at the top of the tree. Though that too is not really the point.

The point is simply – I feel so well loved.

Head to toe and top to bottom.

It feels like bliss.

Megan at about four weeks of age – 15 May 2001. Yes indeed – she came out with all that hair. It never fell out.

About Emma Pearson

1 thought on “Loved Top To Bottom and Head to Toe

  1. Magnifique et bouleversant. Dans ton écriture, je te retrouve bien, Toi. Pas entière, puisque tu es bien plus encore que ce que tu écris et décris. Mais plusieurs pans de toi, couchés sur le papier, reproduction bien fidèle des parts correspondantes de toi dans tes multiples dimensions de Vivante. Bref : une écriture authentique, à ton image. Quelle richesse que de pouvoir te lire. Et quel privilège que de pouvoir te côtoyer. Merci !

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