I wrote an Instagram post last week about the simultaneous grief and gratitude of watching your kids grow up. Marigold (or Maggie, as she’s mostly called) turns three in a few months’ time and I’m hyper aware of the fact that my baby is becoming a little girl. The growing of your youngest child tugs on your heart in an entirely new, and yet not all surprising, way. Of course she’s still my baby and always will be (I’ll introduce her as such when she’s in her twenties, no doubt). But still, the growing pains are real and sometimes, they hurt.
Perhaps this is motherhood; the tug of the womb, the head and the heart, the letting go and grieving as we surrender to the growing. It’s messy but it’s beautiful all the same.
When I was first pregnant, with Che, I was given a little pair of red and cream striped pants from Nature Baby. They were packaged in a cardboard box with a window and I remember opening them and bringing them straight to my face; soft and new and tiny, just like the baby I would hold months later.
Those pants were worn by all four of my babies and I continued to buy Nature Baby clothes over the years, despite having a tight budget. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that budget and sustainability can, at times, be conflicting priorities for parents. So when I listened to this podcast, with Nature Baby co-founder, Jacob Faull, I was happy to learn that marrying sustainability and accessibility has always been a very conscious business decision for the brand.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Nature Baby for the past five years and it continues to be my go-to brand for beautiful and practical children’s clothes. When the jumpers and leggings, t-shirts and pants are finally outgrown, they are always passed on to another family. And I know, with absolute certainty, that when they are worn beyond repair, they will go back to the earth from which they came (organic cotton takes only one to five months to biodegrade).
And while it may seem a little ludicrous, there’s an undeniable sadness in knowing that this family-built brand, that creates each collection with integrity and environmental sensitivity, will only be worn by my kids for another year or two. How long can I squeeze Maggie into their soft pointelle singlets, their sweet floral leggings, their cosy merino pyjamas?
You may think, goodness, surely there’s more important things to be concerned about at times like these? But wrapped up in these clothes are memories; of hanging muslin wraps on the washing line, my heavily pregnant body weary and soft, my arms longing to hold my baby. Those wraps, sun bleached and drying in the breeze, held so much possibility and hope. Dreams realised, a life about to begin, the subsequent upheaval as we all navigate new family dynamics.
And then the squirming newborn, all fresh and new, dressed in layers of cotton and merino, that soaked up the spills; milk and tears. The tiny clothes that were merely cloth until the little one arrived. Now they are the keepers of the sweetest, sleep-derived memories, sometimes yellowed from the stains that remained when they were packed away in a box for reminiscing.
Nature Baby has been there for babymoons in bed, bedtime stories, first steps, the start of pre-school and a road trip around Australia. It will always be reminiscent of my early motherhood, their early childhood.