This was my face 13 moons ago. This is most like how I feel on the inside.

Dear my darling Leonie,

Remember how last year, we were sitting on that vinyl corner lounge at the doctor’s, one hand in Chris’, the other hand in mama’s. We were crossing our legs so tight so we didn’t pee. Our belly was round, resting over our legs. We could feel our baby inside us, swimming strong, dancing skin against the skin of our belly.

And then, hustled into the ultrasound room. The airconditioning was out, so they left the doors open. Chris at our feet, Mum & Dad across the room from us, having flown across the country for it. Holding our breath, hoping our merbaby would show us if they were the boy we thought we were having or the girl Chris knew we were having.

And we’d always wanted a girl. We’d always knew, deep down inside us, that we would have a daughter. We would have dreams and visions and moments with her, didn’t we?

But this merbaby was so strong and clear, we thought it was a boy.

So there we there, in that dark, cluttered room. Chris gripped our feet, and we all stared at the screen.

Our merbaby danced and rolled and swum down into the depths of our hips to move away from that ultrasound song.

We prayed to Great Spirit:

Please, Great Spirit, if this is the right thing for right now, please let us see who our baby is.

And we held our breath.

The ultrasound woman had three children, this I remember. She made jokes about no sleep & about birth & the usual parenting things. We did not listen, we just kept watching that screen.

We saw our baby’s heart, strong back, long feet, round cheeks. Months later we would be surprised about how our babe outside our belly looked just like the babe inside our belly.

We still couldn’t see.

We said to ourself:

Well, if it is to be in the Great Mystery, then that is how it is…

And then ultrasound lady said:

Ahhh… well… when it’s a boy, we see the testes & penis… when it’s a girl… we see three dots…

And there, as bright as stars, were the holy trinity…

three dots.

And in the next breath, we thought:

She has come for us. Our daughter, she has come for us.

It is now a year later.

As we write this together, our seven month old daughter plays with our love on the floor. We’ve left jobs, bought a house, sold a house, moved across the countryside. And we’ve journey through the biggest transformation & initiation we’ve ever experienced – our journey into mamahood & into a whole new way of life.

On our birthday, I wish to say:

I am not afraid of our intensity.
I am not afraid at how we are changing.
I am not afraid of how I am losing my hair, my round maiden face, the way I used to look.
I am not afraid of how my arms are strong now.
I am not afraid that after ten years of being the same weight, I am now a different weight – one that happens to be less.
I am not afraid that I am not who I used to be.

I have earned this.

I know I still have much to journey through.
I know I still have much to heal.
I know this ship of mine still hasn’t found its way back to plain sailing waters just yet.

And I don’t want to have this taken from me, or wished away.
I don’t want to rush through this phase of my life where I am grieving my past, healing my childhood, healing my relationship, integrating motherhood & learning how to be a mama & creative, spirited soul.

I have earned my Transformation.
I am protective of it.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Even when the wind begins to blow again, buffeting these sails, skittering me through waves – sometimes gracefully, sometimes as raw as can be.
Even when I bend over myself to pray under the sprawling, silent tree in our backyard.
Even when I see plainly where I have been wrong, where the ones I love have been wrong.

Even with all these moments thrown in together, the murk & the dark & the blah & the unknown,
the hard & the confusion & the sadness & the grief,
I know this is all necessary.

I know I am going where I need to go.

My bough is pointed in the direction of God, of Great Spirit, of that One Light we all talk about & know & love & use different names for.
My bough is pointed there.

This storm will pass.

It may strip away some of my old timber.
It may set some of my sails free.
I may get wet.

This storm will pass.

One day, I will be at the end of the edge of this particular storm.

And a sudden peace will evade my body.
The sea will be a translucent, glimmering blue, as still as can be.
And I?
I will be washed anew.
I will be changed in the ways I needed to be changed.

Happy 28 birthing day, my dearest love.
I see how hard you try. How much you give your all to those people & passions you love.
I see how golden and lovely your heart is.
I see the rainbow colours of your soul.
And I could not be more proud of you, or happier to be you.
I don’t want to change you. Nor do I want to change your changing. It comes & goes all without our needing to do anything – but turn up, be present & do our best.
Everything will be okay, my love.
It will be better than ever.
I’m with you every single step of the journey,
and will love you forever.

We are the lionness, remarkable & brave,
& always – always – proud of who we are, regardless of whether we’ve got it all together, or if we’re sorting it all out, piece by piece.
Just remember to look inside to find the heart that glows strong.

I adore the ground you walk on, shiny, shiny girl,
your best friend, closest companion & dearest self…