Then, on the 10th of July 2016, our daughter was born. We named her Lavinia Felise Alma and she really is the sweetest baby. She looked at us intensely from the moment she was born and smiled her first smile in week five. And, I’m hesitating to say this to other new parents, but she already sleeps through the night. Whether it’s because I sleep well (hallelujah), that it’s number two, a girl or that I’m experiencing less stress this time: I’m really enjoying motherhood. She keeps taking me back to NOW and instead of the big whirlwind after the birth of my son, I now just feel gratitude for the happiness she brings. It’s like a switch has been turned (possibly under the influence of hormones) but I feel less stressed. It’s so very important to enjoy these golden years when the children are small, it flies by so fast. It makes all the other stuff less important. Everything that seems so important in the outside world. I try to be less critical towards myself. I feel like I have to do and achieve so many things and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by everything I demand from myself. Sometimes I get really tired from comparing. We see so many things online; Instagram, Facebook and blogs; you easily lose yourself in the perfect picture of another life. Actually you’re always trying to find your place in the world for yourself, when you’re young you want this place to be as big and loud as possible. Usually you’ll go to great lengths and compromise a great deal to keep that place. But the older you get, the more satisfied you are with any little old place, as long as it’s yours. Which is sort of funny.
For those of you interested in the names we gave our daughter: they are Latin. Lavinia means ‘the innocent’ or ‘the one who is clean’, Felise means ‘the radiant one’ and Alma means (a.o.) ‘soul’. To us, she is an innocent, radiant soul embarking on a new life. We gave her three names so she would have something to choose, but also because we like the idea that her names carry a message. Moreover: ‘nomen est omen’ as the Romans say. The number three is also very symbolic. It’s perceived as the solution of opposites, the result of the union of mother and father (1+1=2=3) Synthesis; the threefold nature of man, the unity of body – mind -spirit. And the three represents the holy trinity (which we of course know from Christianity). Call us obsessed, but we value such things. We ordered a birth plate designed by Nienke Slotboom to honor Lavinia’s birth. Soon we will hang it in her little room. When she’s all grown up and leaving the nest she can take it with her. Maybe someday she can give it to her (grand)child. So her names can live on.