I’m not sure what’s happened to me this week. I feel a bit all over the place, like I can’t quite get my head together. I feel like I’m running on two opposing timezones, one where time is rushing past and by the time I’ve even reached out to grab it, it’s gone! And the other where a moment from the past is still here with me as though it happened yesterday. Replaying. In slow motion. Every thought. Every feeling. Every emotion. Every sensation. I observe it all. As though it is happening right now. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

The part where time is flying and I can’t keep up…

My 19-month-old daughter Simran moved up to the toddler room at nursery this week. Great, isn’t it? Moving up to be with children her own age. A new environment. New teachers. Different toys and things to learn. She’s growing up. She was ready. The time was right for her.

I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I’d taken for granted this transition that was about to happen. The nursery had been preparing Simran through settling in sessions, gradually increasing the time she spent in the big kids room, until they finally thought she was ready to take the step.

When I collected her last week they said to drop her off in the toddler room the following week! What?! When did that happen?! Is she ready?! Are you sure?! Shouldn’t I be deciding when she’s ready to make the move?! I don’t know all the staff in the toddler room! I’m not familiar with the set up of the toddler room! How is this going to work?! Will Simran be ok?! These were all the thoughts that ran through my mind.

This week, I found myself checking in with Simran so many times. Excitedly, but inquisitively saying, “Simran’s going to the big room today! Shall we go to the toddler room today? Let’s go to nursery!” All the while eagerly watching her response, her body language, her facial expressions, looking for clues to see if she was ok with it. And she was. She was fine. She wasn’t phased. She didn’t have a meltdown at the mention of the toddler room. She was fine. Completely fine.

But clearly I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t spend any time over the last few weeks preparing myself for this. I didn’t think I needed to. It was a natural progression for Simran, did I really need to prepare for it? It turns out I did.

This transition has brought home to me just how quickly my baby is growing up. She’s really coming into her own. Her personality is shining. Her mind is buzzing. Her vocab is growing every single day. She tells me what she wants and doesn’t want. I can’t slow any of this down. It’s like she’s on a hamster wheel going down a hill. I can’t catch her. I can’t slow down her development just because I want to hold on to my baby a little while longer. And I don’t want to slow her down. I want her to grow freely. I want her to be the fierce, independent little person she is. But I am scared. I am scared at how fast it’s all happening. No one told me life would speed up so much when I had a baby. I wasn’t ready for this pace.

The part where time has stood still…

Tomorrow is my angel baby Jiya’s 3rd birthday. The intensity in which I’m experiencing this makes me feel like it was just yesterday when she was born. The emotions, the turmoil, the whole experience still feels so incredibly real. If I close my eyes, I can picture it all, in the clearest detail. I can see the lilac walls of the bereavement suite. I can feel the soft hands of my amazing midwife Debbie. I can hear the piercing cries of newborn babies in the rooms surrounding mine. I can smell the food trolley making its way down the corridor and it’s making me gag. My body is numb to the touch but I can feel the Jiya-shaped hole in my heart. Sadness rising through me like a tidal wave, tears pouring out from my eyes. As they settle for a moment, fear fills my tummy, fear for my baby making her solitary journey to Heaven.

I can feel it all. Right now. In all parts of my mind, body and soul. It’s all playing in slow motion.

I’m also feeling super aware of everything that was going on at the time. Like I’m seeing it all from a viewing platform in the room. Seeing the comings and goings. Looking down at myself, thinking ‘you poor woman, look at you, broken, fragile, lost.’ Despite having lived it already, the present-day me who is sat on the viewing platform can’t find the right advice for the girl in the hospital bed. I look back and don’t know if the girl in the bed will make it out the other side. I don’t know how she can come back from the place she’s been. I just look on in wander at the road ahead and wish her well.

And then it hits me. That girl is me. The journey she is on is mine.

The part where I choose to get back up…

Our experiences make us who we are. We can run from them, pretend they didn’t happen, suppress the dark feelings that come with them. We think we are burying the pain, but we actually give it fuel to take up wild roots in every part of our being. This is how we inadvertently give permission for adversity to rule us and take over our life. This is how darkness reins.

Or we can face our experiences. Look them in the eye. Allow them to be seen, heard and felt, without judgement and without wishing them to be anything different. Just allow them to be. Hold them with care and love. Even when they feel ugly, dark, scary or alien to us. Just be with them. Open your arms to them. Embrace them as a part of you. Own your adversity and the wisdom that comes with it. This is how the light gets in.

I allow myself to feel everything I’ve written in this blog post. I give myself permission to just be with all of this, the fear of Simran growing up, the sadness and pain of Jiya’s birth and death. To hold it, to experience it, to feel it, to honour it. I choose to marvel at the miracle of life through Simran’s pure and inquisitive eyes. I choose not to put my fears into her but to grow with her as she makes transitions in her life and to be open to the teachings she brings me.

I choose to wake up tomorrow on Jiya’s 3rd birthday and be thankful for the immense learning, love and light she brought and continues to bring into my life. I choose to acknowledge her, cherish her and celebrate her. I know she’ll be watching.