Sunday 31 January 2010

Message from your Mother

Message from your Mother is a series of letters written by Lilly to her daughter. They are often written in the kind of irrational way that seems to come naturally to mothers when communicating with their children (no matter how old they happen to be). There is always a hidden message in these letters if you look hard enough.

I think you’re finally old enough to hear the full details of your rather significant and intense transition from the inside to the outside don’t you? Because they say the type of birth you have leaves footprints on your personality.

And your birth experience may explain a few things.

You were born in the days when specialists advised expectant mothers to do what was most convenient for them (the specialists that is, not their patients).

Our obstetrician’s name was Dr Cutter (risky choice I know, but no-one had ever sued him). He decided that you should be induced because surprisingly you were late and well.....he had other plans.

A three week golfing holiday in Hong Kong as it happens!

I was young, naive and willing to take the easy option when offered. Apparently the labour was going to be more intense and painful this way but it would be over quickly. Worth the odds I thought so I signed on the dotted line.

At 7am on the 31 January the IV drip went in and we expected to have a gorgeous baby by mid-day. I should have known better about the early start.

You see in utero you used to stay up partying all night and then seemed to sleep soundly during the day so it's hardly surprising that things didn't go according to plan. You may not remember this because you clearly were sound asleep and nothing was going to disturb you least of all a powerful drug and your mother's screams. However, just to fill you in, there were way, way, way too many contractions that lasted way, way, way too long. I thought I was going to die.

“This is highly unusual”, said the calm Dr Cutter at about 6pm that evening, “things usually progress far more quickly than this”.

He eventually said if you weren’t born by midnight he would turn the drip off and do something to live up to his name. I think that may have been when I used the F word over and over in his direction and told him that if he didn’t give me drugs I would do something that could see me locked up for a long, long time. I wonder if it’s true what they say about fetal memory and learning in utero. It would explain a few things about your teenage years.... but I digress.

The real problem was that you just didn’t want to take the traditional route. I mean, why take the head first entry that 97% of other babies do when you could do it your own way, sitting down. Yes, you thought you would enter the world backside first (breech).

Did you know that a baby normally assumes a head down presentation because of the weight of it's head? So can we assume that you went the other way because of the weight of your a..? Well at least you can take some comfort you didn't have a fat most of the population.

Because yours was an unusual birth and we were in a teaching hospital, interns came from everywhere to watch your entry into the world. The biggest moment of our lives turned into a learning opportunity for young doctors. So you were born to a clapping crowd and lots of strange faces.  The only thing that reassured me at the time was that apparently minutes after birth, a baby can pick out its mother's face ... from a gallery of faces. This could have explained your screams of shock - ok I'll concede, I wasn't looking my best by that point.

The public spectacle of your birth makes me cringe now more than it did at the time. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less if your birth had been televised on prime time TV - I just wanted you out of there and quickly.

And when you finally made your entrance, we never looked back. You did it your way and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since.

Your birth footprints left their mark on your personality wouldn't you say? You are unique – one in a million. Adventurous. Love people and performing in public. Don’t always take the easy way out. Still love your sleep and nothing can wake you least of all your mother's screams. You like to do things on your own terms and you have no fear. However, you unlike me, always read the fine print and always get second opinions. And let's face it you still scream when you see me with no makeup and my hair all over the place.

Given we know you don't have a big head, I can say that you've also grown to be the most loving and thoughtful young woman I know. I would have done it 100 times over if I had to, to have you in my life (ok that's a huge lie because there is a reason I only went through the birthing process once of course that was just because ....because when you get perfection there is no reason to go back for's your birthday, the truth can wait).

Happy Birthday and see you in a couple of weeks.


Your Mother xx

PS. Ah ha! It's clear from looking at your pictures over the last year that the real reason you came out backside first is that you didn't want to ruin your hairdo..........good call.


  1. Lilly, I'm glad to have you back in the blogosphere.

    Lilly's daughter.... please don't ever stop giving your mother such great blog fodder! ;) (P.S. Happy birthday!)

  2. Oh, indeed. happy birthday, Jordan!

    Clearly she is her mother's daughter through and through.

    What?? I meant she's beautiful - what else.

    Great post as ever... XO

  3. nice story - yes I know being a guy I could not possibly understand the whole birth drama. Ok that's right. But I have witnessed it (a few times) and wow it is true drama/joy/suspense/emotions/fear all wrapped up in - well sometimes long hours that really drag.

    Our second daughter came the same way, breech is the term I've heard. I remember that first foot all by itself.
    Thanks for this post because I need to start jotting down some notes for this feet-first daughter's upcoming wedding.


  5. Lots of wonderful birthday wishes for Jordan.

    I remember reading (and I may be absolutely wrong) that she is a lawyer ? In which case it just occurred to me that the saying we have in my language that says "Balache pie palnyaat distaat (= a baby's future path is seen in the feet itself)" has to be amazingly true. Imagine having a clapping audience as you make the appearance. Performing in public . Winningly. And maybe she screamed simply because she didnt like how Judge Cutter looked ....

  6. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter Lilly! I remember thinking I was going to die during the birth of my first one too, no fun at all.

  7. Yes Ugich you got it right, she is a lawyer. Thanks for your comments you make smile!

  8. Happy Birthday Jordan and congrats to you Lilly on a gorgeous baby!

  9. Happy Birthday Jordan,
    my daughter is very proud of her bum first entry to this world too :)

  10. Hahaha gorgeous!! Happy Birthday to your daughter. xxx

  11. Happy Birthday to Jordan! A funny story and touching.

  12. Oh goodness, this had me rolling on my keyboard with laughter!

    She is gorgeous - and so perfectly coiffeured. I notice you haven't shown any pictures of her behind! ;-)

  13. Happy Birthday Lilly's daughter. Thanks for the post, Lilly.

  14. Happy Birthday,Jordan. You have a lovely Mum !

  15. Oh that was funny um and Happy Birthday Jordan.

  16. Now I am keen to find out what my birth footprints reveal about me - interesting concept really and Happy Birthday Jordan!


    Oh Lilly, what a fabulous post. You are quite a story teller and truth be told, your birthing story is very close to why I do not have any kids :-)

    I always enjoy your stories about Jordan, this one had me laughing out loud!

    More please!


  18. Happy birthday Jordan!

    Lilly, that's a phenomenal letter. What a great gift for Jordan. It's one she'll remember for sure.

  19. What a gorgeous girl you have! Glad to have you back, Lilly, and thanks again for the good words for Bastard Husband: A Love Story! XOXO

  20. Thanks for your comments everyone! Its nice to be back blogging! And Linda Lou, it was a pleasure, best book I have read in a long, long time!

  21. That is a beautiful letter, Lilly. Your daughter has a Mother who is a beautiful person, inside and out. It looks like your daughter has both those gifts as well:)

  22. Her Hair-do and her BEAUTIFUL Face...!(lol) What a saga, Lilly. And I hope you have been keeping this kind of diary for your dear daughter for all of her life! A great gift for her!
    I love that your OB's name was Dr. "Cutter"...I'm sure he got a lot of grief over that...!
    Your daughter is truly beautiful...And I thought as I read about her "entrance" with all those people standing about---She will be a 'performer'! A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HER!!!!!

  23. LOL, what a great letter, Lilly. My girl turned 15 on the 28th--January is a good month for beautiful girls :-)

    Hartelijk gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag, Jordan!

  24. What a lovely tribute to your daughter, hope her special day was filled with lots of gifts and fun.

  25. Lilly, Lilly ~~ only you could make a birthing story funny and poignant at the same time! You and your daughter are lucky women!

    (and a huge thank you for the compliment ... you wouldn't be so quick with them ** IF ** you could see me hair askew, no makeup, fresh out of bed)

  26. You're back! I KNEW if I kept you in my blogroll, you'd come around again.

    (Okay, I was late to get the news, but I'm still happy you're here!)

  27. Lilly's back to blogging and all is right with the world!
    You are such a skilled, humorous writer Lilly.
    This post is a gem and I love the collage.
    Give Jordan a big hug for me even though we have never met, you both feel like family.

    Take care mate.
    Peggy xxxx

  28. Everyone deserves a round of applause for their first grand entrance! To say that the mother certainly deserves one as well is an understatement to say the least.

  29. Lilly!
    We've all missed you so much!
    Good to see you back and smiling

    Happy Birthday Jordan

    Peace ~ Rene

    God, I've missed you!

  30. Happy Birthday Jordan!

    She's absolutely beautiful and I loved the story you shared about her birth. What a beauty - both inside and out - she gets that from her Mom!

  31. Aw Happy Birthday Jordan. Bit late but never mind. This is a funny story too. Thanks for the smile Lil.

  32. A very happy birthday to your daughter, Lilly. Clearly, she inherits her stunning good looks from her fath...sorry, mother!

  33. He he Mike. She got her brains from me....

  34. What a wonderful post! Wonderful woman you are, wonderful daughter you have, blessed that you two were meant for each other. I might cry if I can stop laughing.

  35. It's about the funniest and well-written blog I've read.


  36. Hi Lily,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. What a grand way to celebrate Jordan's birthday! Very belated Happy Birthday to her. Does she read your blog posts?

    She's absolutely beautiful young lady. Not surprising, of course. She has an absolutely beautiful mother.


  37. You do realize that I have no time to be reading blogs right now but somehow I had to read yours. This was priceless! Lilly, you are so amazing.

  38. By the way, I just showed my husband your photo and read some of your blog to him. He said, first that you are gorgeous and second... you are an amazing writer. Or vice versa.


Thanks for your comments.