A letter to myself on my 17th birthday

To Laura,

Today is your birthday, you are seventeen years old and, if I remember correctly, celebrating with your friends by drinking far too many WKD’s, dancing like a lunatic to Steps, whilst wearing double denim and platforms so high it’s a wonder you don’t break your neck. You are so care free, so completely naïve, so unaffected from all of the issues that will hit you, as if from nowhere, by this time next year. And there is no doubt about it that right now, today, you are exactly as you should be.

You’re going to make some wrong decisions over the next few years, some that I’d advise you not to and some that I’d say go ahead and make anyway, because that’s all part of the fun. If I could give you any advice I’d say lay off the hair dye, the glitter eye shadow and the Heather Shimmer lipstick, make the most of these years when you can wake up looking young and fresh without the need to cover your grey hairs or your eye bags. Oh and you really should rethink your wardrobe, that ill fitting white dress that you love so much, or the fluorescent orange Lycra number you insisted on buying? Burn them! Infact, burn them all! And destroy all evidence that they ever existed or, in years from now, those dodgy photos will pop up on this thing called Facebook and haunt you forever!!


Believe me when I tell you that you are absolutely perfect just the way you are. I know that your worries about your weight are slowly starting to creep in, comparing yourself to others and feeling as though you aren’t quite good enough. I know that you look in the mirror and wish that you could change certain things, and in truth perhaps you always will, but trust me when I say that you are beautiful and funny, both wild and intelligent, and you are unique, for all of the reasons that you love and hate. But I know that, as stubborn as you are, my advice will always fall on deaf ears.


Hold on to your friends, you’ve got a good group of girls there, some that will still be in your life in ten years from now, others still in twenty. You’re going to go through so much heartache together over the next twenty years, losing partners, losing babies, losing parents, and although you will follow different paths, and time may pass without seeing each other, when it matters, you will always be there for each other.


Next year you will go away to university, meet your future husband, fall in love, and truly believe that it is forever. And although it won’t be easy, especially as you battle with your mental health, when you discover that you are pregnant with your first son, you will soon realise what is important. I know that’s hard for you to imagine right now, when having babies is the furthest thing from your mind, but he is going to be the most precious little baby, the easiest of children, and you will experience a love like you never imagined. And, despite all of your worries, you will be a good Mum, the best in fact, and when you marry, looking radiant in your dress with Lewis in your arms, you will be truly happy. And you deserve to be.

I hate to be the one to tell you, and yet I think you’d want to know, but you’re going to have a second son, Joseph, and he is going to be so wanted and so precious in just the same way that Lewis is. But, and it breaks my heart to tell you this, you won’t get to keep him, you won’t get to take him home, nor live a long and happy life together. Just days from your due date, when everything you ever wanted is just within your reach, you will lie on a hospital bed and hear the words you have been dreading, that your baby, our baby, has died.

You may wonder why I am telling you this, why I would burden you with this knowledge for you to spend your pregnancy just waiting for the worst to happen. But in years from now, looking back, you will wish that you had known. You will wish, with all of your heart, that you had taken the time to enjoy every single moment of that time you had together; every kick, every wriggle, every beautiful moment of having him squirm inside your belly. You will wish that you hadn’t moaned quite so much about being tired or that you had complained a little less about feeling fat and fed up and uncomfortable. And you will wish that, not only had you listened to your gut instinct and insisted on an early induction, but, when the time comes to say goodbye, that you had been in some way prepared for it; your thoughts and plans laid out on paper, decisions properly discussed, your camera fully charged and funeral plans made.

And when you say goodbye, when you leave the graveyard on that hot summers day, when you wonder how you will ever survive such a loss, believe me when I say that you wouldn’t change a thing. How, even knowing that you wouldn’t get to keep him, you’d still do it all over again, even for that short precious time, and you wouldn’t change a single moment of it.

The next couple of years aren’t going to be easy, you’re going to become very poorly, both mentally and physically, you’re going to spend time in hospital, hating every single thing about yourself, loathing your body, your mind, relying on medication to simply make it through each day. You’re going to be tested in every way possible but again, you will survive it. You always do. 

And just when you think that you have made it through, I’m sorry to say that, after eleven years together, your marriage will end. And I’m not telling you this now so that you make different choices, I still want you to love with all of your heart and to believe in forever in just the same way. Because in years to come you won’t ever regret your marriage, nor could you regret the two beautiful children that it gave you. You will be thankful of those years together, the good and the bad, and as much as it may hurt at the time, one day, when it stops hurting quite so much, you will realise that it was the best thing to ever happen to you. And I know it might be hard for you to imagine, especially at seventeen when you can hold a grudge for all eternity, but you will salvage a friendship, for Lewis’s sake, and find a way to parent him together. And Lewis will be the loveliest, kindest, caring of boys, and the most rounded of characters as a result.

At thirty, when you have forged a life for yourself, just you and Lewis, when you are feeling stronger and happier and more confident than you have in years, you will realise that the man of your dreams has been standing right infront of you for the last twenty years. I’d love to tell you who he is, but that would ruin the surprise, and when it happens, you’ll just know that you want to spend your whole life with this man. What you won’t know, is that you will go on to have three more babies who will heal your heart in a way you never thought possible, and all of that worry and heartache will have been worth it in the end, I promise.

And so there you have it, like spoilers to your favourite TV show (Ross and Rachel get together in the end!), and yet I know that you never really liked surprises. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to tell you that life is going to be easy, that you will sail through the next two decades never experiencing heartache or loss, but this blabbermouth of ours hides no secrets. I hope that it hasn’t scared you too much, especially the part about all the babies, I’m sure that at seventeen it seems like a lot to take in. But the truth is, I am only telling you all of this because you are strong enough to cope with it. You just don’t know it yet.

And as much as there will be moments when life is fun and fulfilling, and undoubtedly all kinds of crazy, the truth is that there will be moments when you will want to give up, and times when you just can’t see a way forward. Please don’t give up, even when it’s really hard and your heart is breaking, please hang on in there.

Because one day, in twenty years from now, you’ll be sitting right here where I am today, celebrating your thirty seventh birthday, surrounded by your children, your husband, the best family and friends you could ever hope for, and everything will be exactly as it should be.

Happy Birthday,

Love from Me.


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  1. January 23, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Oh Laura this is so so beautiful. I don’t think I took a breath throughout and the tears are streaming. It’s because I’ve read so many of your posts now and seen so many gorgeous photos of your utterly beautiful children I hate to think that you’ve had such pain and heartbreak but your 17 year old self would be so bloody proud of who you’ve become and how well you’ve coped and the amazing mummy you truly are xx #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 9:29 am

      Ahh thank you so much. It’s funny looking back, almost as though I was a completely different person back then. I just know that I wouldn’t change it, not one moment of it, other than the dodgy wardrobe and all of that glitter!! Thank you for your lovely words, they always mean so much. xxx

  2. January 23, 2017 / 7:57 am

    Crikey that is quite a letter! Sure seems you have been on quite the journey since you were 17! 😉

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 9:27 am

      Definitely! I’m hoping that at 37 I’m finally where I should be. xx

  3. January 23, 2017 / 8:27 am

    That’s a beautifully written letter. The heartbreak and love pour out of your words. I’m not sure I’d dare write myself a letter, I’m far too stubborn to listen to anyone, even myself.

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 9:27 am

      Ahh thank you so much. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have had all of that hindsight? In a way I’m glad I didn’t know what lay ahead, but in others I wish I had known and had prepared myself. It’s tough isn’t it? Thank you for reading. xxx

  4. January 23, 2017 / 9:53 am

    This is so lovely and may I wish your younger self a Happy 17th Birthday and your now self a Very Happy 37th Birthday! Have a fabulous day, with your family and friends #MMBC x

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 10:41 am

      Thank you Lisa, I’m off out for lunch with the same friends I celebrated my 17th birthday with. That’s pretty special in itself. xxx

  5. January 23, 2017 / 10:30 am

    This is so beautiful Laura! You have bought a tear to my eye and that is very difficult to do!

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 10:40 am

      Aww thank you lovely, I had a little cry writing it if I’m honest. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are the same person we once was, I feel like that 17 year old is a complete stranger some days. xxx

  6. January 23, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Writing through tears…again. You do it to me every time Laura. So talented with words, and the heartbreak is laid bear for us all to see and feel. You never fail to move me.
    17 year old Laura would be very proud of the 37 year old Laura. I know we all are.
    Love you more than Gin.xxxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 11:10 am

      Ahh Gemma, thank you so much. You’re so lovely, I’m so glad that the 37 year old me has you in my corner. It’s funny looking back (even more so with that horrific bouffant!), I don’t even recognise that girl sometimes, it’s been a long 20 years that’s for sure! Love you too Gem, can’t wait to meet you this year. xxx

  7. January 23, 2017 / 11:15 am

    What a journey your 17 year old self has been through, I’m so glad you are happy now, proof that rainbows do appear after all the rain. I’ve had so many things happen to me since I was 37 yrs old but I wouldn’t change a thing (well apart from the debilitating illness that can’t be cured) and I’ve had three children since then 🙂 #MMBC

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 11:28 am

      Thank you Anne. I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I too suffer with a debilitating illness so I can relate to that. There shall be no more babies for me, five is enough I should think! xx

  8. January 23, 2017 / 11:25 am

    What a wonderful letter! #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Thank you for reading! xx

  9. January 23, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    What a beautiful letter, it had me welling up. You’ve been through so much but to still be positive on the other side of it all shows how strong you are as a woman. #BigPinkLink

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      Thank you Louise, that 17th birthday feels like the longest time ago right now, twenty years has been a blur! xxx

  10. January 23, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    This is so gorgeous and so weird as I have just written something so similar. If only we could really have a direct line back to ourselves then hey lovely? xoxo

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      Oh I can’t wait to read that! It’s crazy to look at old photos and know that was me, I honestly feel as though it was somebody completely different! xx

  11. January 23, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    oops sorry donut brain (me, not you)! and of course wishing you a lovely birthday beautiful lady xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      Ahh thank you Talya. xxx

  12. January 23, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    Oh my goodness this made me cry! I don’t think I could cope with a letter to me, it would all look so scary and wonderful in equal measure, just as this does. Wisdom is a gift that only comes with age, I think we are designed not to have it at 17. #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      Ahh thank you Fiona. I think my 17 year old self would have been terrified, but she had no clue just how much she was capable of. Wisdom most definitely comes with age, that’s what I’m telling myself today as I hit 37!! xx

  13. January 23, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m typing this with tears streaming down my face. You brave, brave lady. I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to make it through. I certainly don’t think my 17yr old self would have wanted to know what was in her future. When you sit down and list the tragedies, it sounds awful.

    But, as you so perfectly show here, there is such beauty and depth and love in life too. Those precious, happy times far outweigh the pain and hurt, and make it worthwhile. In a way, the pain makes you feel the happiness even more keenly. A truly beautiful post #BigPinkLink

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 4:01 pm

      Ahh thank you Lucy. I think my 17 year old self would run for the hills if she’d known what lay ahead, I guess at 17 I was perfectly happy in my little bubble. It has been a tough 20 years at times, but I wouldn’t change any of it, even the really hard parts. At 37 I’m feeling happier than ever before and far more confident in who I am. Thank you for reading and such a lovely comment. xxx

  14. January 23, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    Goodness another tear-jerker! Very well written and happy birthday!x #postsfromtheheart

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      Ahh thank you. 17 feels like a very long time ago today! xxx

  15. January 23, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    I literally had tears. I am so honored to be reading your letter to yourself at 17. You are an amazing woman! Hauoli La Hanau to you at 17 & now. xoxo #EatSleepBlogRt

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      Ahh bless you, thank you so much. My 17 year old self was pretty amazing, she just didn’t know it yet. xxx

  16. Jeannette
    January 23, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    So beautiful! Sitting here crying. Wish I could have written a note to my 17 year old self. #globalblogging

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 6:30 pm

      Aww thank you, and I’m so sorry to have made you cry! Wouldn’t it have been lovely to have the wisdom of hindsight? That said, I’m not sure that I would have wanted to know even half of it. xxx

  17. Jo
    January 23, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Beautiful. I’m a huge believer in things (painful as some may be) happening for a reason. They help shape us into who we are and we learn a lot 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      January 23, 2017 / 6:30 pm

      You’re right Jo, and I agree. Sometimes we may never know why things happened the way they did and I think the moment we can stop questioning that, is the moment we can start to move forward. xxx

  18. January 23, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    #marvmondays #eatsleepblogrt this is just beautiful and I adore that you found a happy ending. It will be so powerful to share with your teenagers x may you always be blessed with a happy ending and a good tan x

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 10:03 am

      Thank you, it’s strange reading it all back and thinking that was me? And yes, I definitely got my happy ending and give me a bit of sunshine and I’ll be brown as a berry in no time! xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Thank you, I was cringing at the photos! xx

  19. January 23, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    Such a moving post. This has really brought tears to my eyes. I think this really shows that things are meant to happen as they happen, for all the bad and good. Happy belated birthday and so lovely to hear you are so happy in your life! #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Thank you so much Angela. I completely agree, things come full circle don’t they? I think we all end up exactly where we are meant to be. xxx

  20. January 23, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    You had me in tears, having to lose your child brings tragedy among the good. But I know that Joseph is there waiting for you at the end and he is so very proud of you hun, so proud. Never doubt yourself because even at seventeen I believe you had a lot of wisdom and it shows today. I honestly think you should write a book about your experiences because I know that it will help a lot of people out there.

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 10:00 am

      Ahh thank you so much. It was hugely cathartic to write this letter, although emotional too as my heart was breaking for the 17 year old me who had no idea what lay ahead. One day I’ll write that book absolutely, for today I’m still trying to find the time to get dressed, haha! Thank you again for such a lovely comment, you’re so kind. xxx

  21. January 23, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    This is a beautiful letter. It sounds like you are in a very good place, sorry that your journey there had so much heartbreak. #eatsleepblogrt

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Thank you. I really am in a good place these days, about time too! xx

  22. January 24, 2017 / 6:29 am

    Oh god this is so beautiful Laura. You made me cry. You have faced such challenges and also had such beautiful moments on your life and still come out of it with positivity and a beautiful outlook. Truly inspirational! Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT ?

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:57 am

      Aww thank you so much. It was a really emotional letter to write as my heart was breaking for that 17 year old girl who literally had no idea what lay ahead. That said, people go through far worse don’t they? Thank you so much for your lovely comment. xxx

  23. January 24, 2017 / 6:32 am

    You’re had an emotional journey, and, at times, an unfair, heartbreaking one. Now, though, you seem to have found what we all want and what I imagine your 17 year old self would probably be happy with. I wonder what your 57 year old self would say to you just now?

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:55 am

      I think you’re right, and I honestly wouldn’t change it Grant, other than bringing Joseph back, I wouldn’t change any of it. I think the experiences we go through are what make us the person we are, and I think at 37, I’m finally content with who I am. I would love to write a letter to my 57 year old self, maybe that’s the next step! xx

  24. January 24, 2017 / 7:27 am

    This is beautiful. I wrote to my 19 year old self a few years ago and it was quite emotional. Love the photos. Really, really lovely post. #eatsleepblogrt

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:53 am

      Thank you Rach. It’s actually quite therapeutic to write a letter like this. I’d love to write a letter to my future self next! xx

  25. January 24, 2017 / 8:18 am

    Such a beautiful letter. Life is an amazing adventure isn’t it? #twinklytuesday

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:53 am

      Thank you, it certainly is. xxx

      • January 30, 2017 / 10:00 pm

        Back linking up from #postsfromtheheart 🙂 well done for being highlighted post! Thoroughly deserved for such a beautiful piece of writing xxx

  26. Becky Clark
    January 24, 2017 / 9:56 am

    Well I started reading this post thinking it would be a comical letter about not drinking too much and worrying over boys. I finish reading your post with tears streaming down my face. What a letter! You’ve certainly been through a lot and how heave of you to be able to share it. This is honestly one of the most moving pieces of writing I’ve ever come acrossed. Beautifully written and extremely touching!

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 11:30 am

      Aww thank you Becky, that’s such a lovely thing to say. I’m sorry I made you cry, it’s crazy looking back at that 17 year old me and realising that so much has changed. I’m just grateful that things have come full circle and I can safely say that I am happy and content with being myself. Thanks again for reading. xxx

  27. January 24, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I am sorry you have had such a time of it – but it sounds as if it has helped you to become the strong, courageous person of today. Try to have no regrets though – even that white dress and heather shimmer lipstick.

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you, haha the dress was pretty dire although my hair was probably worse!!! xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Thank you!! xxx

  28. January 24, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    Oh lovely, what a beautiful and emotional letter, you had me in tears x

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Aww bless you, thank you for reading. xxx

  29. January 24, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Wow you’ve been through a lot. It’s great to see that you’ve been surrounded by friends and have your loved ones around you. I am left feeling sick to the stomach with upset and on the edge of a panic attack over death. #GlobalBlogging

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry that you feel that way, I didn’t mean to upset you with my post. xx

  30. January 24, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    This is a really nice post, very inspiring and brave. You are a very strong woman, thanks for sharing your most important moments x

    • Laura Dove
      January 24, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you Natalia, it was hugely therapeutic to write! xx

  31. January 25, 2017 / 9:40 am

    What a beautiful letter – you have been through so much and it’s only when we look back and reflect that we realise how much we have gone through and how it has shaped who we are today. #bestandworst

    • Laura Dove
      January 25, 2017 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you Cherry, you are completely right. Sometimes it’s important to look back at how far we have come, I think all of us have advice for our younger selves. To think that back then I thought that life was easy!! xxx

  32. January 25, 2017 / 11:22 am

    The tears are literally streaming down my face as I finish reading this, I can’t even imagine how much you must have cried writing it. The posts that mean the most, are always both the easiest and the hardest to write I think. It’s beautiful, moving, and so very real. I cannot begin to imagine the pain you have gone through, but I am so glad that you have found happiness, so glad that you have found a way through, and so very honoured to have read your post which I’m sure – in different ways – will help many many others. Thank you so much for linking it up to #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      January 25, 2017 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you so much, your comments are always so lovely and supportive, I have a real lump in my throat! Sometimes, and it sounds crazy, but I forget just how much I have been through over the last 20 years, so much more than I can ever include in just one letter, but when I read it back like that I feel so unbelievably proud that I survived it, and more than a little sad for that 17 year old girl who had no idea of what lay ahead. Thank you again for your comment, and for your linky, it has fast become my favourite. xxx

  33. January 25, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    Aww Laura.. why would you tell her that Ross and Rachel get together in the end?!? Oh wait, we always knew (hoped) that. The real spoiler would have been about Monica and Chandler! 😉 As usual, this is just beautiful and made me cry and cry and cry! Big hug. Big happy birthday (I’m turning 37 in just over a month or so) and thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. I would have been terrified at 17, to receive a letter from 37-year-old me! I wonder what a 57-year-old me would have to say to me now??!?! #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      January 25, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      Haha it was a given wasn’t it, but yes! Chandler and Monica, I NEVER saw that coming!! I think my 17 year old self would have run for the hills if she received that letter! Especially thinking about having five children!! 37 is a strange one, 40 suddenly seems like a hell of a lot nearer!! A few people have said that about 57, maybe I’ll write that one at some point, I’m sure she would tell me to stop worrying quite so much!! xx

  34. January 25, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    This was such a lovely post to read. Sad, but lovely. Thank you for sharing. #bestandworst

    • Laura Dove
      January 25, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you Kelly. xxx

  35. January 25, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    Such a beautiful letter! We can’t change our past, but all the experiences made us who we really are. There are so many things I would like to say to myself, but if I changed anything, would it still be me?.

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 11:10 am

      Exactly, I like to think that if I could do it again I would do it in just the same way – mistakes and all! xx

  36. January 25, 2017 / 7:51 pm

    A very powerful message, it’s crazy to think what we would do if we knew what happens to us in the future. Really sorry about your baby but so glad that you’re happy where you are are this moment and enjoying every second of life that you can.

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 11:09 am

      Thank you Alina. I like to think that I wouldn’t do anything different even if I had known the outcome. Well maybe I’d re-think the wardrobe….and the glitter eyeshadow! xx

  37. January 25, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    This bought a tear to my eye, it’s so beautifully written. Happy birthday!


    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 11:08 am

      Ahh thank you so much. xxx

  38. January 25, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Awesome post, what a therapeutic thing to write!! I swear the picture with the flowery curtains looks like a hotel in Magalluf that we used to stay in, ha!! Let me know! Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 11:06 am

      YES!! This was Magaluf!! How funny, do you remember the name? xx

  39. January 26, 2017 / 9:58 am

    so lovely, the first paragraph made me laugh because just yesterday my sister sent me a picture with the caption “The 2001 you was much more fun” as I did something stupid just for a laugh and I wanted to go and burn the evidence entirely! A Happy Birthday Laura x

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Haha the 2001 me was way more fun than the 2017 me too! 21, that feels like a lifetime ago now! Thank you. xxx

  40. January 26, 2017 / 11:58 am

    What a beautiful letter, full of heartache but hope. It must have been hard to write but you have penned it so beautifully. So wonderful that you have found happiness with your husband and your little boy sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing. xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      Thank you, it was important for me to write it and to look back on how at I have come. For the first time in my life, at 37, I am finally comfortable in my own skin, it’s been a long time coming. xx

  41. January 26, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Sorry, not just your little boy, all your children sound amazing! Sent it too quickly!

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Thank you Susie. xxx

  42. January 26, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    Ahhh what a lovely letter Laura. You’ve been through so much since being 17, far more than I have been through from 17 to 41!! It must make you totally appreciate the good times after all of the heartache you’ve endured. Some good advice that all of us could pass on to our younger selves especially about the friendships and chucking out the lycra clothes and glittery makeup (I had forgotten about Heather Shimmer lipstick!!!) #CoolMumClub x

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 10:32 pm

      Haha I think we all had Heather shimmer didn’t we? I cringe when I think about how many times a day I used to apply it, no doubt on my teeth too! And thank you Cheryl, it’s been a real rollercoaster but I don’t regret any of it, I really don’t. I’m a huge believer in fate, even if I don’t always understand it, and we wouldn’t be the people we are if we had followed a different path. xxx

  43. January 26, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    Laura this is beautiful in every way possible. You have such a talent for conveying emotion in your posts. And you are inspirational in so many ways, I hope you know that. #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      Thank you so much Hayley. You’re so lovely, I think after 37 years I’m finally realising that I’ve done okay, and I could have done a hell of a lot worse!! xxx

  44. January 26, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Oh Laura this is really something. It’s tough to look back at our innocent selves, knowing what lays ahead – all the good and bad. I, like you, truly believe that every step we have taken makes us who we are, and that’s something to be proud of. You honestly are one of the bravest and inspirational women I have been lucky enough to know – I would tell the 17 year old Laura Dove just that xx
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    • Laura Dove
      January 26, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Aww thank you so much Sarah, that’s so lovely of you to say. I felt really emotional writing this, thinking about how the 17 year old me had no idea what lay ahead, wondering if even if I had, whether I’d still have followed that same path anyway, wishing that I had known back then that I was so much stronger than I ever knew. It was therapeutic to write though, I’m proud of that girl that I was, and of who I have become. It’s taken me 37 years to say that. xxx

  45. January 26, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    That’s a lovely letter – It’s very moving and I don’t think I have adequate words to comment. It’s generous to share. (and I’m sure it will help others)#Stayclassymama

  46. January 26, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    What a beautiful letter! So heartbreaking yet so positive too! I think your 17 year old seld would be proud to read that letter. Hope you had an amazing birthday! I cant even remember what i did for my 17th, we are around the same age so had to giggle at the wkd and shoes 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      January 27, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Thank you so much. Haha yes, blue WKD, I used to drink that much of it on a night out that I’d wake up and my teeth hurt!! xx

  47. January 27, 2017 / 10:18 am

    A wonderfully brave letter. Enjoy what you have.

    • Laura Dove
      January 27, 2017 / 10:32 am

      Thank you David, I most definitely do. I’ve been such a lucky lady. xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 27, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Thank you xxx

  48. January 27, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    What a wonderful letter. You have been through such a lot, yet still manage to remain positive throughout it all. Loving those photos – throwback photos are the best! A beautiful post from a wonderful lady #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      January 27, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much Abi, I’m actually incredibly lucky that my path led me to this point, and I can’t ever regret it – not even that dreadful bouffant!! xxx

  49. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    January 27, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    So often I read your posts and I’m in awe of how much you’ve gone through and how you still manage to come out the other side as such a positive person. You’re an inspiration and I’m sure the 17 year old Laura would feel exactly the same way (although I hope she’d rethink the Heather Shimmer – I was a huge lover of it too and it ruined all photos of me from aged 14-17!) Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:33 pm

      Thank you Katy, you’re so lovely. I think the 17 year old me would be amazed that we ever survived it, but proud none the less! Haha I think we all made the mistake of Heather Shimmer, what were we thinking???? xx

  50. Anonomous
    January 27, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    Wow beautifully written and I’m now in tears! So sorry to hear about the hard times you have been through, a really lovely post though

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Ahh thank you so much, I’m sorry I made you cry!! xx

  51. January 27, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    I smiled, I cried, and I think you are so incredibly brave and talented. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing something you hold close to your heart. Beautiful. Big hugs!


    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Ahh thank you so much. That’s such a lovely thing to say and much appreciated. xxx

  52. January 27, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Once again you blow me over with your writing. I just can’t put into words what respect I have for you. You are so strong and such an inspiration. xxx oh and yes I had that lipstick too!! #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:29 pm

      Oh Susie thank you so, so much! Your comments really do put a big smile my face. I often worry about writing such personal posts but it’s so therapeutic for me to share them! And we al had the lipstick didn’t we?! xx

  53. January 28, 2017 / 12:37 am

    Wow. What a beautiful post! We think we know everything at 17. I sit here 6 months pregnant with four young kids to run after, totally exhausted and reading your post has made me even more thankful for what I have. In every moment (even the hard ones) we should see the blessings we have been given! This was a great reminder!Thank you for sharing this with us! #globalblogging

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Thank you so much. I really did think that I knew it all back then, how wrong I was!! Life is so hard, especially with children to run around after, and we all have our bad days, I know I do. I try to be grateful for every moment, even the hard ones like you say, I think if you can hold on to that thought then it gets you through the tough times! Good luck with your new baby! xxx

  54. January 28, 2017 / 3:42 am

    Lovely words with great strength and dignity. I wrote something similar a few months back, crying while I was typing and crying rereading it. I am glad that we cannot know the directions our lives will take. The fear would consume us, wouldn’t it? But we are always stronger than we realize. Thank you for the beautiful read! #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:18 pm

      I was exactly the same, I cried a lot writing this but I found it so therapeutic!! I will have to look your post up! xx

  55. January 28, 2017 / 5:55 am

    Hi Laura, what a lovely letter. At seventeen we think we are so wise, but it is just the beginning and we have no way of predicting what is to come. You have had a roller coaster of a ride so far, but I’d like to think that the seventeen-year-old you would not change a thing (maybe the one). Our life experiences are what shape us and you wouldn’t be who you are today without them. Can you imagine having an easy life? How boring would that be.

    I think I’m going to ask my seventeen-year-old daughter to write a letter to her future self and let me look after it. Twenty years from now it could make an interesting read.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Debs, I agree, I thought that I knew it all back then, it’s funny how little I actually knew! I can’t imagine living any other life but this one, and although I would give anything at all to have Joseph here, knowing that I cannot change that, I know that he made me who I am, and I’m at peace with that.
      My son wrote a letter to his 21 year old self in his last year of primary school and sealed it in an envelope which I have safe keeping of. I was desperate to read it, I can only imagine what it will say, but I can’t wait for him to read it and see how much came true in ten years from now! xx

  56. Nige
    January 28, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Wow Laura you never cease to amaze me. This is so honest and beautifully written and you should as I’m sure you are very proud of yourself as a 17 year old I wanted to fight the world a very angry young man.
    Your posts always pull on my heartstrings your writing is possibly second to none thank you for sharing such a personal post total brilliance Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Nige. It was hugely therapeutic to write, I cried a lot for that 17 year old girl, but I also felt immensely proud of us for surviving such a difficult twenty years. I genuinely mean it when I say that I wouldn’t change a thing, I think our mistakes are what make us who we are today and after 37 years I can finally say that I’m proud to be me, it’s been a long time coming. Thank you as always for such a lovely, supportive comment. xx

  57. January 28, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Great letter! I quite like the white dress on you! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Haha thanks Emily! I loved it at the time!! xx

  58. January 28, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    This is such a beautifully honest letter, sometimes I really wish I could talk to my 17 year old self too. Loved this, thank you so much for sharing it with #bigpinklink x

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Thank you Hannah. I think my 17 year old would have ran a mile but it would have been nice to have told her that she would survive the next 20 years. xx

  59. January 29, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    Such a lovely letter Hun. If only we knew it all at 17. We never know just how strong we are, until being strong is the only choice we have.

    Sending lots of love and hugs to my lovely friend 🙂 xxx

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you Jayne. I actually thought that I DID know it all at 17, funny how wrong I was!! xxx

  60. January 29, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Stunning, just stunning. So beautifully written. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much Lisa. xxx

  61. January 29, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Oh my goodness Heather Shimmer, I had forgotten about this!!!! Absolutely beautiful letter Laura and I love that you have no regrets about your life and that you tell your younger self to still follow that path and fall in love. I think the 17 year old you, would be in awe of everything you’ve been through and come out a beautiful positive person. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • Laura Dove
      January 29, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      Haha we all had Heather Shimmer didn’t we?! I think it was all part of being a teen in the 90’s!! I think the mistakes I made and the things I went through all made me who I am today, and actually, for the first time in 37 years, I’m okay with that, and I’m actually quite proud of myself for making it through the other side. Thank you for hosting as always. xxx

  62. January 30, 2017 / 9:24 am

    This made me cry it was so beautiful.
    It reminded me that despite all the hardships we experience in our lives, they get us to where we are now, they make us the person we are. And that no matter how perfect someone’s life looks, you have no idea the journey they have been on to get there. No ones life turns out the way they think it will. #postsfromtheheart

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:26 pm

      Thank you so much Catherine. I think that’s the main thing that life has taught me, that none of us know what a person is going through, or has gone through, and we should be mindful of that always. I often get people who assume that I just pop babies out left, right and centre, simply because they see me with four young children. How wrong they are! Thank you for reading. xxx

  63. January 30, 2017 / 9:33 am

    Just amazing. As always. Your posts get me every time! You were born to write. Such a talent with words! #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      Aww thank you so much, that’s such a lovely thing to say! xxx

  64. January 30, 2017 / 11:12 am

    So raw and so beautifully written, I’m sat here sobbing at the life of a stranger.
    It’s such a powerful letter 🙂 #postsfromtheheart

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      Oh Anna, thank you so much, although I’m so sorry I made you cry!! xxx

  65. January 30, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Wow this is one of the most moving things I’ve read in a long long time. You have been through so much and are clearly so much stronger for it. I am so glad you are happy and have found someone who was there all along – not all fairy tales are traditional – but hopefully you feel you can live happily ever after – despite the sad times and the struggles. Thank you so much for sharing on #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      Thank you Becky. I completely agree, maybe some fairy tales are supposed to involve heartache and hardship, just to make that happy ending all the sweeter. I have been so lucky and I wouldn’t change a moment of it! xx

  66. January 30, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Aww… Happy Birthday again Laura! I can’t believe time flies soo quickly! We were so young like yesterday and yet today we are immense with kids! lol! You are looking stunning with the white dress – there is nothing wring with your wardrobe taste at al. It is a hip now. It is all coming back into style baby! 😉 Well done for writing a letter to your young self. It is a great reminder what we have been through all these years. Well done! xxx

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      January 30, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Thank you Su. I can’t believe that so much time has passed, I still feel like that young girl and yet here I am with a teenager myself!! Thank you as always for hosting. xxx

  67. January 30, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    A very happy birthday – if only we knew then what we know now right? Thanks for linking to #sharewithme

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:42 am

      Thank you lovely! xx

  68. January 30, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    What a lovely letter, so beautifully written. Happy Birthday to you!

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Thank you Vicki! xxx

  69. January 31, 2017 / 8:39 am

    What a lovely post. I’d definitely have a lot to say to my 17-self. I’m so sorry to read about the loss part, but I love the way you take positives from it. Happy Birthday. #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Thank you Rhian. It would be great to talk to our younger selves wouldn’t it? And our older selves too! xx

  70. January 31, 2017 / 9:14 am

    Laura, this is a very touching post. Life is full of challenges, some bigger than others and you have certainly had your fair share. It is these challenges that make us who we are and I am so glad that you have emerged the other end of the tunnel, stronger and happier. Happy Birthday. #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      February 1, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Thank you Jo. I wouldn’t change any of it for that exact reason, everything we go through shapes the person we become. Thank you so much. xx

  71. February 2, 2017 / 7:09 am

    You have such an amazing story, beautiful writing and a lovely life! I’m so impressed with your positivity and how lovely you are as a person, some people just don’t turn out this way after so many obstacles. Thank you so much for sharing with #stayclassymama!

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:31 am

      Thank you so much, that’s really kind of you to say. I agree, a lot of people allow their life stories to make them bitter, or set them on the wrong path, I think that’s why it is so important for me to find the positives, even when it’s really hard to do! xx

  72. February 2, 2017 / 10:04 am

    Fantastic post Laura! Amazing infact….. I laugh as I think we are of a similar age, heather shimmer was all the rage, as was glittery eye shadow, vanilla impulse body spray and tight white hipsters! What an amazing journey you have been on. Sarah #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      February 2, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Hahah YES!!! Impulse body spray, god we used to cane that stuff!! We must have stank! And white hipsters, oh god they weren’t flattering at all!! The good old days, I loved the 90s! xx

  73. Em Linthorpe
    February 2, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    This is an absolutely beautiful post, and I can see exactly why it has been featured on #PostsFromTheHeart ❤ it’s heartbreaking yet your strength shines through. Thank you for sharing your story with us all.
    Take care,
    Em (who is a similar age to you and spent a lot of the mid-to-late 90s in indie nightclubs in appalling outfits) ? x

  74. February 2, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    Oh this is beautiful, what a gorgeous letter to yourself at seventeen. I was in tears reading. It’s interesting that you would have wanted your seventeen-year-old self to know what the next two decades had in store – including your heartbreak at losing Joseph – and yet I can understand that you would have made the most of your pregnancy with Joseph if you had known how it would end. When I was pregnant with Jessica, we didn’t know if she would survive the pregnancy and I can honestly say that my pregnancy was one of the most joyous times of my life because it was so precious as a result of that uncertainty. Loved your memories of the 1990s – I’d forgotten about Heather Shimmer lipstick! So glad that despite the heartbreak that you have experienced in the last decades that you feel everything is exactly as it should be. I hope you had a wonderful 37th birthday x

  75. February 2, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    What a beautiful letter. And I loved your pics – glad your 17 year old self didn’t know to burn them.

  76. February 2, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Beautiful. Really. I am crying at my desk at work as I read this. I hope you had a wonderful 37th birthday.

  77. February 5, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    This is so beautiful Laura. My heart was in my mouth the whole time reading your letter. I had to admit to a tear (or few) too. You have been through so much, and what an incredible family you have to show now on your birthday. It would be amazing if we could go back and give ourselves letters from the future. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam. xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Aww thank you so much Annette. I’ve been incredibly lucky, who would have guessed that I would have ended up where I am today! xxx

  78. February 7, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    beautiful post, so lovely and tear jerking and perfect….If only we could contact our younger selves….

    • Laura Dove
      February 8, 2017 / 9:42 am

      Aww thank you Brandi. xxx

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