I love April. It is such a joyous month where it really feels as if you can hear new life beginning all around you. The primroses are flowering on our wall. The wild garlic is springing up from the earth with its pungent aroma. Our quince tree is covered in the most perfect yellow green leaves, it is always the very first of our trees to gain its leaves and for that reason it will always be beloved by me. The other trees aren’t far behind though, covered in tiny buds that are ready to explode at any moment. In the woods the other day we saw our very first bluebells of the year, like a purple haze shimmering over the top of the lush green leaves they have sprung from.
This winter has felt exceptionally long to me. The first winter back at work with two small children, one now at school full time. I have eagerly looked forward to each weekend day off with plans of getting out and making memories together, and each one would be grey and pouring with rain and our plans would be postponed. It has very much felt as if life has been on hold for the past five months and I cannot wait to get living again.
April has a relatively new found excitement for me also. Two years ago I spent April waiting to meet my new baby, the very personification of the new life I could see emerging all around me. I had finished work just before, at 36 weeks pregnant, I had done all my preparations, had got our home ready to welcome the new life, and I was very much in my zwischen, the in-between of being a pregnant mother of one, and becoming a family of four. We were having a really tough time with our daughter, and I’d go to pregnancy yoga each week, surrounded by first timers who were so desperate to meet their new babies. I think it’s natural as humans to long to leave one state which feels hard, to move to a new state which we imagine to be better. That ‘Grass is always greener’ scenario. Yet I knew life was hard with a three year old. I remembered how I’d felt life with a newborn was the toughest time of my whole life. So I was actually pretty content with my beautifully round belly that I could rub, happy with just the one child to worry about, happy with my evenings of birth art and yoga.
Throughout April my body seemed desperate to get things moving. I’d have whole nights of regular tightenings which drifted away to nothing when my daughter would wake beside me needing me. I kept texting my doula, maybe something’s happening, maybe… Maybe…
My Mum had managed to call in favours from the family, and save up leave at work, so that she would have a few weeks to come and stay, to be there for my daughter during the birth. First time round I had thought I shouldn’t have my mother there, that I was grown up and self sufficient and didn’t need her. Plus she had had her own responsibilities elsewhere. This time I knew I wanted her, and when, after another night of misleading contractions, she decided it was time for her to come, I felt so relieved to have her there.
We spent the following days outdoors, waking with all this new life starting all around us. We watched my daughter climb trees and I felt the grass between my toes. I felt wonderfully connected to the earth around me, as if I was a very part of this spring, of this rebirth, the survival of the winter and the new life of the world. It felt perfectly right.
And now I look back on that month as a magical time. A time of perfect bliss. I have forgotten the aching joints and the swollen feet and the tight stretched belly. I have forgotten the crampy impatience and uncertainty. And as I see the new leaves emerge, and order my seeds to plant in the warming soil, I feel part of this cycle of life, and feel a little bit eternal.