My first-born daughter is nineteen today. As a mother, a child’s birthday brings up many memories. I doubt, however, if there is one as strong as the night my beloved child was born.


Heavily pregnant, on Pakiri Beach, New Zealand

Heavily pregnant with Eliza, on Pakiri Beach, New Zealand. Bethany and I collecting shells.


Nothing could have prepared me for the magnitude of emotion that swept through me as my husband Paul passed me our newborn daughter.



Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.

Seconds after giving birth at home, by candlelight and Mozart, to my daughter Bethany.



Bethany was born gently and easily (for both of us) by candle light in the warmth and comfort of a birthing pool. Our bedroom was a calm haven in which to welcome our child Earthside. Bethany, who is now studying music at Bangor University, arrived to the sound of Mozart.



Walking in the Lake District, Cumbria.


It’s funny how, as humans, most of us can’t remember what we ate a few days ago or the name of an old teacher or other such things. But birth? Oh birth! I remember every single detail of that amazing night. Like how my husband held me, and how his eldest daughter, Hannah, who was 19 at the time, poured warm water down my back. I remember the ease with which Bethany slid from my body. It was like that feeling of how wet soap just slips out of your hand. Yes, it was that easy. Was it due to my aquanatal classes or yoga? Was it due to my plant-based diet? Was it because I firmly believed she could be born this way? All I truly know is that my little mermaid didn’t give me a spot of bother.



Bethany playing violin at a handfasting ceremony


You know those moments when you first hold your baby and she’s staring into your eyes? I remember this with both my daughters. That sense of hello, but also of hello again. It was if we’d met again after a long passage of time.



The emotion I feel recalling Bethany’s birth is every bit as strong today as it was nineteen years ago. I loved to touch her tiny fingers and toes, and marvel at her perfection. Her soft hair is one of my favourite memories. Is there anything as exquisite as the scent of a newborn baby?




I loved our nights cuddled up in the family bed, the moonlight casting a gentle light upon her hair. I had a moment, one night, of ‘seeing’ her as a young woman. It was a clear image. And you know what? That image was of the young lady that she is today.





There are some things in this world that no one can ever take from you. For me, the scent of my newborn is one of those. It is forever protected inside my heart.



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