Noelle McCarthy for her baby, due in July.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - MOTHER'S DAY -

“Dear Boot, Ter­ri­ble name for a baby, I know. It’s a pri­vate joke. I won’t go into any more de­tail in this pub­lic fo­rum. (Is there any child in the world that wants to hear their con­cep­tion story?) It’s apt too, given your prow­ess as a kicker, which lately you wait un­til I’m watch­ing telly to show off. Ap­par­ently, ba­bies move more when their moth­ers are re­lax­ing. Ei­ther that, or the lat­est sea­son of Home­land isn’t do­ing it for you at all. It’s been nearly seven months now, and I feel like I’ve been preg­nant for ever. I for­get what it is like to wear jeans, or eat camem­bert or bend down. There’s a ‘new nor­mal’ of floaty dresses, and de­caf and wicked heart­burn. And you, of course. The new nor­mal of never be­ing alone. We went for a walk last Sun­day morn­ing, just you and me. You woke me around 6am – that right boot again – and I thought I’d go and sit in a café like the baby books tell you to (‘while you still can!’). The streets were clean and empty, and I thought about all the times I’d walked the same walk, younger, un­at­tached, alone. Ev­ery­thing is go­ing to change when you get here. Some­times I feel com­pletely ready for you, and some­times I am fright­ened by what’s ahead. I haven’t spent a lot of time around ba­bies; I know we’ll be mak­ing it up as we go along. I hope our best will be good enough for you. When I think about it though, I know that ev­ery­thing will be okay. You couldn’t be luck­ier, hav­ing the dad that you do. He is the kind­est, nicest man in all the world (he will be fu­ri­ous with me for writ­ing that pub­licly). No one will love you bet­ter, or more. Al­ready you are loved, of course. It’s over­whelm­ing, the joy that’s come with the news that you are en route. Grand­par­ents, aunts and un­cles, great-aunts and great-un­cles and hordes of cousins, from Cork City to the Wairarapa, they’re all celebrating you al­ready. Not to men­tion all your hon­orary aun­ties, spoil­ing you early with bassinets and py­ja­mas and booties. That is what I wish for you. That all our love will pro­vide you with sus­te­nance and back­bone as you make your way in life. I want all the other things for you too, all the usual things par­ents want for their chil­dren; that you will be kind, and hon­est and con­tent. Con­tent­ment is im­por­tant, and un­der­rated in this world of strivers. Philip Larkin knew that, when he wrote a poem wish­ing that his best friend’s baby girl would grow up to be dull. Sounds aw­ful, but lis­ten to his def­i­ni­tion of dull­ness: ‘A skilled / Vig­i­lant, flex­i­ble, / Unem­pha­sised, en­thralled / Catch­ing of hap­pi­ness.’ [From Born Yes­ter­day.] I can’t think of a bet­ter wish for you than to be skilled at catch­ing hap­pi­ness. And if you can cook like your Dad does, then when you go flat­ting, I’ll worry about you a lot less. Mostly though, I just want you to know that, of all the dif­fer­ent things that your fa­ther and I are creat­ing to­gether, you are the best. See you some­time this win­ter. We can’t wait! Love your Mamma, Noelle xx PS Hope­fully we will have a bet­ter name for you by then.”

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