I have been thinking for some time of starting a separate book here for some of my poems. Sunday was my daughter Cat’s birthday so she has been in my thoughts over the past few days and it seems a good time to start with a poem I wrote about when she was born.
A year before her birth I lost a baby in the third month of pregnancy. At that time, when I left the hospital, the blossom was out but I couldn’t appreciate it. I have always loved the spring blossom and a thought came into my mind that maybe I would never be able to love it again as it had this bad memory connected to it. I couldn’t change the loss of the baby but I didn’t want to lose my love of this beautiful season too. I even said a prayer that somehow I would be able to still enjoy the blossom next year as it had always been so special to me.
Three months later I became pregnant again, but the pregnancy was full of anxiety. In the early months I was worried I might miscarry again. When I was 3 months there was an awful TV series about a nuclear war and one of the leading characters was 3 months pregnant. I didn’t watch much of it but Hubby was enthralled so I had to avoid the living room when it was on for several weeks. At 6 months I had a bad bout of flu and was worried that my high temperature might damage the baby. Then there was a scare in the local newspaper that an army camp near us had secret bunkers for missiles. What with that and the TV series I began to wonder what kind of world I was bringing this baby into. At seven and a half months I met a friend at an ante natal appointment who was a month further on than me. We chatted after our checkups, both of us had been told that everything was fine. A week or two later her baby was born with a heart defect and died 10 days later. I couldn’t go to her baby’s funeral as I was full of pregnancy hormones and would have cried throughout and been no help to her, I also feared for my own baby, which felt so selfish. Fortunately everyone understood. So much for being told everything was fine I was thinking.
That winter, 1984/5 had been long and cold, the coldest for 22 years. It lasted into late April. Then, a few days before Cat arrived, so did the spring. She was born almost exactly a year after I lost the other baby. That evening was beautiful. The sun was shining and the hedges were decked with may blossom. When we arrived at Hereford Hospital they gave me a room overlooking the city and, as labour progressed, I watched the sun set behind the cathedral.
Catherine was born at 10pm. When we left the hospital we drove round to a park full of blossom trees and I realised my prayer had been answered. She too loves the blossom. I bought her a handmade cherry blossom bracelet for her birthday last year.
The week after her birthday the May Fair arrived in Hereford and her first outing was coming with us when we took her brother there. A few years after she was born, around the time of her birthday, I wrote this poem about my beautiful baby girl who brought us a joyful spring after a bad year and made it possible for me to love the blossom again.
Child of the Springtime
Child of the springtime,
Child of the flowers,
Of tulips and daffodils, and fresh April showers.
Child of the sunset
On blossoms of white,
Child who was born on a soft April night.
You banished the bad times,
Thoughts of other years.
With your smiles and your laughter you dried up our tears.
After long icy months
And a winter so cold,
You came as the spring did her glories unfold.
Child of the May Fair,
Of squeals and cries,
Of carousels whirling and coconut shies.
Child of the bluebells
In soft woodland glen.
Child of the springtime when life starts again.