Feb 2, 2024

Confessions of a Valentine’s Day Baby

Ella Hussey shares how being born on the most romantic day of the year has shaped her perceptions of life and love

Ella HusseyRadius Co-Editor

I was born on Valentine’s Day. A day that dates back to the eighth century, when Saint Valentine apparently had a feast. From my very basic Google search, I can’t really find one good reason why this day is specifically associated with love. I suppose someone decided to commercialise the day with cupid, flowers, cards etc, and somewhere along the way everyone decided that they were ok with it. I don’t blame them, however, I have forever shared this day with Saint Valentine, for better or for worse. 

I suppose it all started really with my parents. They met in a very well-known but since shut down nightclub, Tomangoes (very romantic guys). Valentine’s Day was a day of love, dates and flowers, specifically my Mum’s favourite: white roses. My Dad used to work in town, so my Mum always reminisces on the massive bouquets he would come home with on the holiday. They married and then on February 14th 2002, they had me. In a weird turn of events, my Mum’s college friend of 30 years went into early labour and subsequently had another Valentine’s baby. We are still called their ‘Valentine’s Twins’. 

As the eldest child and at 12 days overdue, I naturally was a very needed baby. However, for my poor parents, a day that once celebrated their love for each other was now a day of celebrating me. A new love in which they both experienced together for the first time on Valentine’s Day, now rebranded to ‘Ella’s Birthday’. Still to this day my Dad claims I was “the best Valentine’s Day present he ever received”.


Growing up, my birthday had lots of pros and cons. A running joke – and a positive – was that I “always received a card on Valentine’s Day”. Actually two cards, one from my Mum and then another from my Mum, since she made sure we would all wake up to a Valentine’s Day card. Another positive was that no one ever forgot what day my birthday was, even if it did always fall all on a midterm and I never got to bring a bag of sweets to share with my class. A negative was that I was an attention seeking child and hated that my birthday wasn’t just my birthday. It was a 2 for 1 deal. Since, I have grown up and now laugh at nine year old Ella. 

I feel as though I have learnt love in different ways from my birthday. A day notoriously associated with romantic love, I have realised that love can be celebrated in many forms. For example, through my friend, Niamh.  We met in secondary school and quickly discovered our shared love of musicals and that we also had the same birthday. I have since learnt that Valentine’s Day is the most popular birthday in the first half of the year, but at the time we thought this was crazy. We have spent many birthdays together for the last eight or maybe nine years, and we will always have that bond, no matter what age we are.  Each year we spend our birthday together surrounded by our closest friends, I realise that I was experiencing the love of friendship through our endless conversations, laughs and support for each other. 

Another notable birthday was last year I turned 21 in New York. Being the first sibling to hit the milestone, the family decided we’d take a big trip to the Big Apple to celebrate. I am extremely lucky to be able to have these memories of being together in America for the first time. I remember sitting in the lobby of the hotel for ages with my Dad and Brother complaining about how long my Mum and Sister were taking to get ready. When I got back to my room after an evening of exploring, I walked in to see the entire room decorated with balloons, banners and gifts. I couldn’t help but burst into tears, thinking “this is the nicest thing that has ever happened to me”. It was the love from my family that I will never forget, the love that I’m lucky enough to be surrounded with every day. 

Now, I am about to turn 22 and for the first time in my life, I am experiencing the romantic side of Valentine’s Day. Spending my first Valentine’s with my boyfriend, I feel very grateful to have found a love so genuine and pure. I now understand the cards, chocolate and flowers which used to confuse me before. Although it can come across to people as ‘corny’ or ‘cheesy’, to me the significance is the sentiment of “I want to give you a card because I love you and I actively choose you every day”. It’s not actually about the gifts, it’s about what they mean. 

Audrey Hepburn said that “the best thing to hold onto in life is each other” and I agree. It is the love we experience in every form that should be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. I suppose I am by default a lover girl to my core, almost as if I was born on the day of love. So if you’re not experiencing romantic love on Valentine’s Day, look around. I find that love often hides in plain sight. There are always people around you who are actively showing that they love you every single day. I believe there is nothing more sincere than the love we show each other on the days that aren’t especially carved out for it. I am glad i’m born on Valentine’s Day – I doubt I would be the same person if I wasn’t. 

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