Any day now, three of my dear friends will be bringing babies into the world. I wanted to write them, and all mums, a blessing.
I have many hopes for you. Many wishes.
I wish that when your journey toward meeting your beautiful baby begins you're excited as well as scared, because of course it's normal and right to be a little scared. It's a powerful thing we get to do. Isn't it amazing?
I hope you have support and love surrounding you from that first "is this labour?" thought to that first sharp intake of breath when you really know This Is It, and on to your midwife or surgeon telling you it's time. I wish that you feel safe from beginning to beginning.
I hope your labour makes you feel powerful or it is just forgettable. That in a week you will gaze at your baby and think "I could probably do this again". Look at that beautiful baby you brought into the world. You did it!
When you feed you little one: I wish for every duct to remain unblocked, that you never have to send your partner down the road for cabbage, that your pump is always working.
I pray not a drop of your expressed milk is ever spilled. Not one crack in not one nipple! That's what I hope for you. I hope your supply is just perfect - not too little, not too much. And if it doesn't work out, and somehow the universe doesn't read this post - I hope bottles are guzzled with gusto, that milk is on special every time you go to buy it, that your snuggles are extra snuggly as your baby looks up at you, their beloved mama.
I hope you don't accidentally kill someone on Day Three. I wish that your hormones will be completely under control. And if they're not, I hope it all goes wrong in a hilariously harmless way that you can tell your coffee group about. I hope it's such a funny story that they laugh with tears in their eyes and tell you that you should be a comedian. And in that moment I hope you feel overwhelmed - not by out of control oestrogen, but by love from your fellow mamas.
I wish that you will always have a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, someone to make you tea, and someone to gaze at your baby and say, as their eyes fill with tears, "You did so good!"
I hope you never have to clean your house. For at least nine weeks.
I wish that every cry can be easily hushed with a gentle pat. That there are long sleeps and good feeds. That car rides are easy, public transport always comes on time, visitors never overstay their welcome.
I wish for chocolate and cider for you, and sleeping on your tummy, and comfortable pants and good TV. I hope for visits from friends who have trays of lasagna for you. I hope for moments where you say "it's honestly easier than I thought it would be".
May you have unobtrusive but excited grandparents. Helpful family. Thoughtful and kind visits. May your buggy breaks never jam and your carrier work the first time. May there never be poo explosions in white clothes, and no vomit on your good clothes.
There are some things I don't have to wish or hope for: I know you will burn with love for your baby, I know those who love you will look at you with eyes shining because they're so proud of you and so in awe of your strength.
I know you're nervous about your first baby and how they'll cope but I know you'll fall more and more in love with your little one every single day.
And I also know if none of these things happen, if these wishes don't come true, if these hopes aren't fulfilled, I'll be here for you. And you'll do so well anyway - I just know it.