However, becoming mums has also gave us a new kind of love - for our son, for each other, and also made us appreciate the love that is all around us, from friends and family.
This post is dedicated to the places and people, that show us how lucky we are to have so much love in our lives.
Birmingham, being the city we are from, was where we met and fell for each other, but Leeds was where our love grew. For Lauren's first two years of university I took constant train journeys to see her, going to bars and eating takeaways in her uni halls, and then we moved in together. It was where we grew, and where our love grew, where we got to know each other, fell in love, and learned how to live together (and away from our parents!) We learnt to cook amazing vegan food, decorated the house in rainbows and flowers, went shopping in chapel Allerton and the corn exchange, and went for meals in our favourite little fairy lit independent cafe. Although an amazing city, and somewhere we will always hold dear, ultimately we wanted to go back home, to Birmingham and our families, so after a magical two years, we returned to the midlands!
Home of our first date, and many, many more! From getting our new married names on our cups as we drove to our honeymoon, to red cups signalling Christmas, to sitting with frappucinos reading through our ivf paperwork, to stopping for coffee and staring at photos on our phones of the positive pregnancy test we had just taken, to drive throughs in America in our wedding anniversary trip...Starbucks has been our go-to stop and relax place for so many years, it always feels homely!
I (Sarah) have never really had a close family - my family aren't an affectionate family, my relationship with my parents isn't always the best, and my parents relationship hasn't always been great, although it is much better now. It was strange for me when I met Lauren, to witness her parents very much in love - they have gotten through a lot together, and still, after many years together, enjoy spending time together, usually travelling!
They have been particularly amazing since we had Oskar, and are fantastic grandparents.
Lauren's whole family is a close one, and she has a lot of cousins, all in our age group, which makes family get togethers fun. We are lucky that we have such supportive parents regarding our relationship, and have been made to feel very much like each other's family, but Sarah will always be grateful to have been given the chance to be very much a loved part of a very close family who love to spend time together.
Lovely words written by Lauren's dad in a card for our first wedding anniversary
Brighton is 'our place'. We first visited in 2009, and completely fell in love with it. Although it's known for being gay friendly, we've never visited the gay scene there, and have only gone to pride once (though that will change now we have a little one!) instead we love the quirky, fun atmosphere, how veggie/vegan friendly it is... it's hard to put our finger on, but it's just very us, and we love it. So much so we got engaged there in 2011! We spent the day wandering the laines, eating cupcakes on the beach, then went out to our favourite restaurant. Our hotel room was filled with purple and pink rose petals, a bath was filled, champagne was on ice, the moon was a supermoon...it was perfect. We've returned many times since, including for our mini moon before we flew to Mexico, and Lauren's 30th when she was 28weeks pregnant!
There are other places that we love - Wales and Reykjavik are places we've returned to as they always provide us with so much peace, Las Vegas, Mexico, Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Marrakech have been our favourite holidays, and there are many places in London and of course Birmingham, that are special to us, but we'll always feel like a bit of our hearts are in Brighton.
It is quite simply our happy place, and somewhere that prompts so much excitement whenever we visit - that first glimpse of the seafront when we drive down never gets old!
We used to think that Willow had prepared us for parenthood - we were responsible for a tiny, dependable creature who relied on us, who we loved. We now realise that nothing on this earth can prepare you for parenthood, definitely not a dog! But Willow has bought us so much joy, since they day we drove her home from a rescue home six years ago, she has been such a little ball of happiness. She is the sweetest, most loving dog we know - she has never barked, or growled, and seems only to know how to play and show affection. She has been on many adventures with us - she has climbed Welsh mountains, glamped in a yurt, and ran along Brighton beach to name a few. We are definitely dog lovers, but no dog will ever be as special as Willow!
And of course, there's our son. People used to say "you don't know love until you have a child" and I used to silently disagree. I did know love, for my wife, an all encompassing, unconditional, amazing love. But then our son was born, and the moment we held him, we realised. This isn't a love that's greater than our love for each other, you can't compare them - because it really is a different kind of love. Yes, the painfully zombie-esqe sleep deprivation, the end of impromptu date nights, the ear splitting screaming, is the most difficult thing we've ever done, but motherhood is also one of the most amazing things to happen to us. Watching our boy catch our eye and break into a smile, his love for laughter and chattering, his innocence, watching him grow, watching him learn, dreaming of what his world will be...it truly is a love like no other.
Gratitude is encouraged a lot these days, and we certainly feel lucky thinking about all the people and memories we have written about.