With or Without You

Our baby girl, Stella, was born at 3.45am on a bitterly cold Wednesday morning two weeks ago. She made her entrance into the world quietly, peacefully and with an expression of such intense focus that we had to laugh a little. The radio had played softly in the background throughout the 4 and a half hours I had been labouring and as I rested between contractions, U2’s ‘With or Without You’ began to play. The last coherent thing I said before the next wave of pressure took over was ‘can you turn it up please?’ and I vaguely recall Phil explaining to the midwives that this was my favourite song. 3 minutes later our daughter arrived and we have been playing her this song (and indeed, the whole of ‘Joshua Tree’) ever since.

I knew I wanted to write this almost instantly. In the hours after her birth as we marvelled at her beautiful nose and fluffy hair and big feet and and and… I knew I would write to Stella and I was sure I knew how. This is the result of that thought process.

I wait without you…

We waited for you for years, never knowing if you’d arrive. You did. Of course you did. 40 weeks and 9 days after you came into being, we waited again. I waited through the pain, your daddy carried us both through those last hours. The last time we’d ever wait for you, without you. Soon, you’d be in our arms.

Sleight of hand and twist of fate…

We’ve never called you a ‘medical miracle’. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. How will we ever really know? We call you ‘our’ miracle, frequently. Stella, our star, our celestial miracle. We don’t need proof, we have you. In another, wonderful, twist of fate, you are born in the water. In the pool and in your caul. You enter this world to hushed cries of wonder, ‘she’s destined for incredible things, this lucky baby girl’, declares one midwife to the other. Your daddy and I know this already, but we don’t say anything. We just look. At each other, at you.

Through the storm we reach the shore…

The shore is different to how we thought it would be. The storm was so vicious, so all-encompassing and destructive, it rendered us incapable of realising just how peaceful and blissful life could be if we made it through. The shore has late nights, wide eyes, insistent cries. On the shore time passes as though you’re flying long distance, having set off at sundown. You chase the horizon, watching as the time for sleep stretches further and further away from you. But the shore is the most peaceful place you’ve ever visited. There is more love, more capacity to love, than you could ever believe possible. And when sleep does come, your last thought is of the moment you will wake and get to experience the joy all over again.

I’m waiting for you…

Stella Temperance, as I write this, you are snoring delicately in your daddy’s arms. You look thoroughly pleased with yourself, as if you have discovered the most amazing place to rest your head. And you have. I have rested in those arms many, many times and my heart fills with awe contemplating all the occasions we will get to rest, together. There will never be a moment I am not blown away by your physical presence. That you are here, that we no longer have to wait for you, is sometimes impossible to me. We waited for you, daughter of ours, and you were worth every single second. We love you.

11 days in...

Categories: Any Other Baby, Becoming a Mother, Written By Aisling
46 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Aisling this is utterly, breathtakingly beautiful.

  2. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Yup. Tears at work. Big massive rolling tears.

  3. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Amazing words xx

  4. Roz
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Aisling this is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. And that photo, you are quite literally glowing. With love for your wee family no doubt xx

  5. Carly
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I read this then went straight back to the top and read it again and I know I’ll read it again during today. Absolutely beautiful Aisling.


  6. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    So beautiful and powerful Aisling. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations again. Your story is like a star, it gives us hope.

  7. Vivienne
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Oh Aisling. Just…..tears.

  8. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Aisling – Wonderful poetic words. All love to you three & off to read it again.

  9. Fee
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Aisling, this is just beautiful and so inspiring xxx

  10. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    This has made me cry.
    Congratulations again Aisling. So happy for you. Xx

  11. Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Oh this is just gorgeous. xxx

  12. Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    If I say words now as a comment the words that I say can’t possibly stand up to how lovely this is. Wonderful.


  13. Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t have anything to say, just that this is beautiful and you are all astonishing. Love xxx

  14. Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Oh Aisling! Beautiful, just beautiful. I’m lying in bed with Olive on my chest and she now has tear soaked hair… Xx

    And how you’ve found time to blog I’ll never know! You’re wonderwoman clearly.

  15. Fran M
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Congratulations. What a lovely end to the story – or beginning, I should really say. Heartwarming. Enjoy your family x

  16. Mahj
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    This is a magnificent piece of writing Aisling. I will be reading this at least 3 more times today. So much love to your family.


  17. Claire
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written x

  18. Chirsty
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Desk tears. All over my desk, London and nay probably the world such is the reach of this beautiful wonderful piece of sharing. X

  19. Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    This is the most beautiful thing I have read in a very very long time. It made me cry, but I smiled all the way through my tears. So perfect.

    You deserve every moment of peace and blinding joy. Love you.

    K xx

  20. Grace
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written, Aisling.

  21. Sharon
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Amazing words, amazing photo, amazing family. Simply beautiful x

  22. Yanthé
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. So beautiful xxx

  23. Zan
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Lovely xx

  24. Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    This is a truly beautiful post. Just beautiful and gorgeous and I have not the words for it. xx

  25. Christie
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    This might be one of the most beautfilly written things I’ve ever read, it has made me all tingly excited for the day that my Husband and I (hopefully) have our own little person. Stella is a lucky girl indeed to have such obviously wonderful parents x

  26. PiriyaP
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Amazing. x

  27. Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    What a remarkable piece of writing Aisling. Your words are captivatingly beautiful and so is your lovely family xxx

  28. Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Absolutely beautiful. Brought more than one tear to my eye. You deserve this and so much more. That picture of the three of you, the love within it, is just wonderful.

  29. Leni
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Just beautiful.

    Thankyou for sharing. xx

  30. Posted February 19, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    “our celestial miracle” -so utterly beautiful xx

  31. Alex
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I had goosebumps reading this. Thank you for sharing Aisling!

  32. Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I’ve revisited this three times already today and am sure I will again before the day is out. Your words are so emotive Aisling – the ‘Through the storm’ section is beautifully powerful. Much love to you and your gorgeous family. xxx

  33. Marie
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    This is so beautifully written. Many congratulations to you and your gorgeous family!

  34. Steff
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Just. So. Beautiful.

  35. Sarah
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Lovely! Amazing to see the photo of you all together at the end x

  36. Amanda M
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I am not a baby person – I seem to be essentially missing the motherhood gene – but oh dear, this gave me such a lump in my throat and such a sting behind my eyes. Just beautiful. Congratulations on becoming a family Aisling.

  37. Abi
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    You just made my eyes do something weird. Not a usual sensation for me. Utterly Beautiful.

  38. Emily
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    This is such beautiful writing. Totally welling up. x

  39. Anon
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, such a beautiful post.
    I recently discovered I am pregnant. Planned, but surprising nonetheless.
    Thank you for writing this, it’s has helped to put aside all the feelings of fear & uncertainty and has focused me on the outcome – A lovely new little life, a family.

  40. Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh Aisling. This is gorgeous. Perfectly written. And ahhh the photo! Look how happy your little family is. Love.

  41. Lottie
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Such inspiration here Aisling. Your family is so beautiful and precious. You give me hope that my husband and I will also be as fortunate, despite the fertility treatments that lie ahead of us. We’ve been consciously waiting for our little one since the moment we decided to conceive, we must wait a little longer however. But, your words show me how joyful their arrival will be when they finally get here! I can’t wait!

    Thank you for sharing the wonder of it all. It breaks my heart to think some babies are not born into this love and care. More pictures please!!!!! Xxxx

  42. Aisling
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I want to reply to each and every one of you – you’ve all made me smilecry so much today and I’m so thankful and full of love. I don’t know how many comments I’d get through before the little lady demands my full attention though, (let’s face it, she has 100% anyway. Can’t.stop.staring.) so it’s best if I simply say THANK YOU to all of you. You’re all wonderful and I appreciate every kind word and lovely thought you’ve all had for me over the past months more than you can know.

    Lots and lots of love xx

  43. Lucie
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    So, so beautiful. Congratulations to you all xx

  44. Posted February 20, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful post. Congratulations. x

  45. Lee-Anne
    Posted February 20, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Simply beautiful xx

  46. Rach M
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I’ve very late with this but I’ve just read it and it totally took my breath away. Gorgeous. Xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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