words for alba


your smell is so familiar to me. it is musky, sour-sweet and warm. it is all your own. i wonder if a part of this smell will stay with you as you grow. i wonder if it will be the smell your lover comes to know you by, and your own children. nuzzling into your breast as you do to me now. will you wonder about their smell too?

at first you were a butterfly, wings coated with dust i dare not handle too roughly. the safety and endless hug of my belly was all you’d ever known before being pushed into blinding light, skin-prickling cold and loud noises far removed from the reassuring thud of my heart. i kept you close and sang my love but my heart broke to imagine your fright, the unfamiliarity.

‘what happened to my red, warm home?’

where mine and papa’s voices swam around, softened by the sea-sound whooshing of blood, where you slept as cosy as could be while i moved about the world.

do babies mourn leaving the womb? is this why sometimes we can’t soothe their cries? as we bathe deep in warm water i curl you up over my empty stomach and i cry that it will never be your home again. that i can never again feel your kicks from the inside or give birth to you. i am cursed to constantly mourn over life passing, cursed to try in vain to capture it all (on film, in words, in images) before it slips away clumsily between my fingers like dirt. here i show you my filthy hands, i have marks of these memories, but i will never live them again.

little baby bird with featherless wings, i want you always at my breast, where i know you feel safest. my white blood, my life-light flowing into you. i can’t let go of my breath until i hear you let go of yours. i know your death would be the death of me.

when you lived inside me (first in my dreams, then in my belly) i always thought you’d be us. a little us. but you are not us, you are a person unlike any that has come before you. your eyes are already bright with all the wisdom you will collect, all the lives you will touch, all the happiness you will share. you are strong-willed, unwaivering, a girl of her own thought. we see this in you already, like it is written.

i know you don’t yet understand the concept of me existing when you cannot see me. this is why i can’t bear the thought of you believing you’re all alone in this confusing, unfamiliar world. there will be time for you to be alone when you know i will be there to come back for you, but for now i will be beside you always. in the dead, dark quiet of night you will wake to the smell of my milk and skin, my warmth and my breathing.

your dear papa regards you as the most precious and fantastic thing in the universe. from the moment i pulled you from the water and he wept with love at the sight of you i knew you were just as much his as you are mine. you nap on his chest every afternoon now, your papa rocking you and professing his love as he often does. you are both intertwined, like trees and breath.

you grow like a moonflower unfurling. you find your voice, sweeter than honey and you laugh loud with the same fire that burns in my own soul. you have a wildness that society has tamed in me, a wildness i’m always yearning to get back. through you i will relive all of the feelings i thought i had lost with the passing of childhood. i will feel your every bliss and broken heart with you.

your hands curl softly shut beside your sleeping face. as i lay my hand over your little fist it opens itself like a flower and a moment later i feel it closing tightly over my fingers. holding onto my hand you breathe more gently, as though you feel safe knowing i am there. my heart glows warm. i am your mama for always, little alba.


100 love notes

  1. Oh my stars! I just found Your blog and its brilliant! The photos are beautiful, but the writing – Im in tears, I miss my mother more than ever but I find it soothing, like the future is somewhat brighter. Thank You!!

  2. I’m 21 years old and my mom still kisses me on the forehead, breaths in deep, and whispers “smells like the baby I loved for so long.”

  3. As a new mother myself this moved me to tears. I specifically saved this page to come back to it while I hold my son and reminisce. The way you describe your love for alba put into words how I feel about Camden. Thank you for sharing this and I’m so happy I was pointed your way.

  4. You write so beautifully; so wise for your numerical age.
    I am beyond happy that I have discovered your photography and blog.

  5. Your blog is truly wonderful! The way you write is so beautiful and the pictures give it a nice touch too.
    But what I really love is the way you write about Alba. It just increases my own yearnings for a baby myself. You are writing all these beautiful things to and about her, you can really read, just how much you love her. I hope, Alba gets the chance to read all the posts about her one day and to know how much she has been loved from the very beginning (if she doesn’t already of course!).
    You are very blessed and very lucky to have her, she’s a very special gift – so is your talent for photography. Do you know, how value all these photos are you have taken? How many memories you can capture in those photos? I guess you already do, as people must have told you before …
    Well, I hope, you keep on blogging about your work and about Alba!
    – Leni

  6. I love your photos almost as much as I love your writing, and your insightful wisdom. I am in awe of the way you see the world and am grateful you share your experiences with the rest of us. <3

  7. you make motherhood sound like the most beautiful, magical, calming, wonderful thing in the whole world. you make me want to be a young mum too (even though that at mid-twenties it is slowly passing for me). the love for your daughter is so evident, i can only hope to experience this one day.

  8. Your words are so wonderful and every reader knows that those words really come from a mother’s heart. And you’re pictures are magical and full of inspiration.

  9. i wish i had that much love from my mum for ever. You moved me, i think you even changed the way i felt about having a baby.

  10. Hello, my name is Apolline. I just started a blog. I aimerias much that you come and see if it please you to follow me. I’ll be very grateful.

  11. You both are such great parents! I almost feel like crying every time I read your posts. And you are such a great writer as well! More power to you and your family! 🙂

  12. Everytime you post about her, I feel like crying.
    I dont even know why, I may feel something fragile and breakable in your words.
    It has been amazing experiences.
    I just hope she is gonna find you and your dear boy in her beautiful eyes.
    And also, when you are coming to Los Angeles, where I live,
    hope I can see her growth with my own eyes.


  13. Your words are divine. You so wonderfully capture the beauty in life. I am expecting my first child, a baby girl, in a few months and reading your posts helps me to reflect on the life growing inside of me. Such a precious gift. You are an inspiration to all mothers.

  14. Dear Nirrimi,

    I read this post soon after you first posted it, but it has taken me this long to write you a note because I didn’t know how to put my feelings into words. I still don’t.

    Your love for Alba is as warm and all encompassing and inspiring as sunshine. It is beautiful and contagious. Just reading this post filled me with such joy. Your ability to convey that love through words is extraordinary. I could read this post again and again. It flows like honey.

    I can’t help but think that, one day, Alba is going to have so much fun reading these posts and realizing for the thousandth time how very very incomprehensibly loved she is.


  15. I always look forward to your writing just as much as your photography. You write so beautifully and there’s always so much love clinging to every sentence that you put together.


  16. Wow, you write beautifully. I have a little one growing in my belly, but it is still so tiny tiny. How you write and how you picture the world around us is truly inspiring. It makes me warm

  17. This is beautiful!
    Reading it gave me chills.

    The accompanying photo is also beautiful. I hope I will be as close to my future children as you are to Alba.

  18. My heart felt all these feeling – sad and happy at the same time. Such beautiful words. And they feel so familiar. I feel with all my heart that being a mother is what i was born to do.

  19. I wish I could love anything as much as you love your Alba. I’m so happy for you and your family.

  20. This is a million times beautiful. You and Alba will be the best of friends for life, like me and my mum. It’s sad, I know girls who aren’t connected to their mothers in a special way, would never even contemplate hanging out with their mothers, or travelling with theirs as I do, and still want to do. A mother and daughter bond is special and should be forever cherished.

    Much love.

  21. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. What a wonderful expression of motherhood, and what a perfect love song for your daughter to cherish.

  22. I love the pure honesty of this piece. It’s full of tenderness and love and vulnerability. Your words are strong enough to stand alone, as they are just as evocative as your images.

  23. That’s incredible how you inspire me. Your are so sensitive, that impress me so much… I hope your baby will read those lines one day, because sh’ll understand how important she is to you. Wahou is the only word that comes to my mind 🙂 ! Keep going, make me dream everyday, because you seem like coming from a dream so sweet.
    Bye Nirrimi

  24. Hello Nirrimi. Your love for Alba is one of the most precious and beautiful things I know in the world. I’ve always admired you, but now that you’ve become a mother, you are so distant, even further that you were – in a way, I can’t compare with you because you are such an admirable person. You inspire me in so many ways. I’m so glad someone like you exist. I feel some things the way you do – for example what you wrote about the life passing through our fingers and mourning over that. I have a desire to capture it in art too but it’s so hard sometimes. The fact that you do it encourages me. It’s your own form of expressing yourself and it is my form too. I think that’s why I admire you so much.
    You write beautifully.

  25. you amaze me nirrimi. I have never read a so incredibly inspiring blog before now. the breathtaking photos, the amazingly moving and heartfelt texts. this is probably the most beautiful place on the internet. truly. I wish you and your family the best. love from norway.
    oh and have you ever considered giving out a book? with photos and texts for alba? it would have been amazing.

  26. …nearly every mother can feel that, too.. but you can express it with the most beautiful words. Thank you for sharing!
    I so do wish I would have a mother like you 😉

  27. You make such a beautiful mother. Your words are like wise poetry 🙂 Your daughter will learn a lot from you

    <3 Sharmaine Ruth

  28. This is the most beautiful thing I have read in my whole life. And on this day I was meant to read it, I think.
    Thank you.

  29. Oh this is so beautiful. My heart too feels for my little innocent babe…in this big unfamiliar world…wanting to shield her and keep her safe and secure. A mothers love is so fierce and big. You have described it so perfectly. I agree with the comment from Taya. She will learn so much from you both.

  30. Im am only 16 but wish to have a child so bad. Reading this explains exactly how Id feel towards it. Love. Such a beautifully written piece of joy.


  31. How beautiful, nirrimi. You have such a stunning gift for speaking do expressively and honestly. I just thought of something that might comfort you. I was once told that the tears we cry are made in the likeness of the fluid we became so used to in our mother’s belly. It is meant to comfort, soothe, and protect. How kind of our bodies to give us this natural protection for our entire lives.


  33. I am in awe of the love and talent you process. You should make alba a book with everything that you are and have become – wonderful inspiring parents.

  34. My heart aches reading of your passion, love, and bond. My own mum wrote me a letter like this for my twenty first birthday, which is my greatest treasure. Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing with us.

  35. wow, n. i can’t believe how much your writing has changed (a good change). it seems to flow purely from your heart, and has almost certainly blossomed and matured into a style so uniquely yours. most likely, your heart has grown, and therefore so have your words – but they instantly reminded me of the style of charlotte bronte, jane austen and similar authors from the 1800s. you write with the same eloquence that is overflowing with warmth and left me with the same longing i often seek, and find, between the pages.


  36. This is so beautiful and overwhelming. I hope you are also writing these messages down on paper to give to her when she is older.
    Never have I heard a young mother speak such perfect words.

  37. amazingly written nirrimi. i confess i often wonder if i’ll ever have children, i don’t know if i’m the type. but this made me question that, and that is a huge thing. my mother is my best friend and that’s how it should be; and that’s how it will be for you too..

    love xx

  38. This is so incredibly touching, Nirrimi. You are a beautiful family, full of love and warmth. Thank you so much for sharing some of it with us, the adoring strangers that all feel and care about you as though we were close friends.

  39. this is truly one of the most beautiful love letters i’ve ever read. alba is a lucky girl to have such a loving mama.

  40. Why am I aching? I am tender; there is so much power in your words and wisdom Nirrimi… So much.

  41. you write your words so purely it made me cry. your life is the life i desperately look for myself. but i love knowing that someone lives the way i think humans are meant to live.

    i know you are the best mother in the world. alba will always love you, never yell to her.

  42. your writing always brings out so much from the insides of me and in the most beautiful way, it makes me want to cry for all that I realise I can feel ♥

    (thought I’d post this here as well, in case facebook loses it or something. Sending your whole beautiful family much love) xxx

  43. Never have I ever heard new motherhood put so poetically. This has touched me so much that, as someone who abhors the idea of being pregnant/having children (never been too fond of them even when I was a child), I can fathom the idea and the inherent beauty that comes from growing a child, birthing it and raising it. You kind of make me want to have kids, so well done!

    My own feelings aside, this is a wonderful note to your daughter and she is so very ,very lucky to have such unconditional love.

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