Letters is a bi-weekly series on Just a Trace where I write out my feelings to the people, places and events in my life via letters. Each post in the letters series will contain a new letter on a new topic, and although these thoughts and feelings come from me, don’t be surprised if you can relate. Read all previous Letters here.
This week’s letter is an anonymous submission.
To my baby girl,
I never wanted children. I grew up insisting that I was not the mothering type and that I was way too selfish to give myself up to take care of someone else so selflessly. I was told repeatedly that I would eventually change my mind and throughout the years I denied, denied, denied it….until I met your father. No one had ever tickled my maternal instinct until he came along. Once we were married and settled into our new home, I found myself desperately wanting something other than a marriage certificate and a diamond ring to show just how deeply we loved each other. That’s when we decided to have you. Now, you didn’t come to us easily. In fact, I shed many tears month after month when I realized that I wasn’t yet pregnant. I was in such a hurry to have you with us and yet you didn’t come to us for almost an entire year. I now know that all of those months of failed attempts just means that we needed to wait for the perfect coordinates to come together to create YOU, exactly as you are and although it was hard and disappointingly heartbreaking at times, I would not change anything that led to the day that I finally saw those two pink lines that let me know that you were on your way.
So, not only did I have to wait what seemed like an eternity to get you, but once I had you you were absolutely brutal on me. I can’t even tell you how often I threw up. I am the only person I know that DIDN’T gain weight while pregnant but actually lost weight from being sick. You made me incredibly tired for the entire time I carried you. You messed up my thyroid, gave me acne and even made me pee myself a few times. Darling, my love for you is the only thing that got me through this time. My pregnancy was long. I mean, it wasn’t much longer than anyone else’s but it felt like an eternity. I’m sorry to say it, but I hated it. I was sick and sore and tired the whole time. Luckily I was aware that there was an end in sight with a wonderful gift at the end because if I had to live like that daily for nothing…I’d be pretty miserable!
When the time came for us to meet you, I was terrified. I never truly believed that I would be able to birth a child. I didn’t trust that I had the strength or stamina to go through with it. The entire experience was foreign and scary and I was practically paralyzed with anxiety when I went into labour. It took three people (your dad, your Nanny, and a very nice nurse) to get me through the pain and exhaustion of labour. Your dad was amazing that night. He was so excited and he loved you so much. He fed me water, held my sick bags (yes, I was even sick while giving birth to you) and told me over and over how great I was doing. Your Nanny was right by my side the entire time and made sure to help me breathe and count through the contractions until you finally came out. Now, I wish I could say I remember your first few hours of life more clearly, but sadly I do not. The mix of emotions and exhaustion really did a number on me and although I have photos, I can’t quite remember that time in as much detail as I would like to. I do remember feeling intense relief once you were born. I was also incredibly proud of myself. I did it! I had actually given birth! Then I remember looking at you and thinking..”Holy crap, now what?” Our time in the hospital is hazy in my mind. I went almost 36 hours with no sleep. I remember the breast pump, the lactation consultant, the pain of a second degree tear, the crying. Oh Gosh, the crying and I remember giving up any time I could actually sleep to admire your sleeping face. To look at you and take in your features. To touch your tiny hands or cheeks and feel how soft your skin was. I spent that precious time getting to know your smell and adjusting to this new life.
Our first couple of months together presented another challenge, probably the biggest challenge I have faced in my entire life. Life with a colicky baby and post-partum anxiety. Getting through this with you and your father was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire 31 years. Nothing even holds a candle to how challenging this was for me. For reasons unknown by me, or doctors for that matter, some babies get colic. Colic is defined as 3 hours of consecutive crying for 3 days a week for 3 straight weeks. Well, baby, I wish that was all you had. You cried incessantly. On your worst day you cried for sixteen hours. You cried all. The. Time. Morning, noon, night. It didn’t matter. I did everything I could think of. I fed you, swaddled you, changed you, bathed you, swung you, rocked you, gave you gas medicine, rubbed your tummy, did leg bicycles, baby wearing, took you for walks, put you in various swings or bouncers…literally everything. I spent hours researching online how I could get you to just stop crying for just a little bit. I watched my friends with babies in envy as their children were not even close to the challenge that you were presenting me with and I wondered “Why me? Why is my baby like this? What will she be like as a toddler? Can I do this?” I shed many many tears during this time. Sometimes, when I couldn’t get you to stop crying, I would hold you to my chest and just cry along with you. I sobbed and sobbed and doubted my skills as a mother. I questioned whether I would be able to do this. I questioned whether I had made a mistake. I called your Nanny and told her I couldn’t do it. I called your father at work almost daily begging him to come home and relieve me from the crying. I struggled so so much during this time.
When the clouds finally lifted, and your colic went away, we were left with you, as you are now. A beautiful, funny, smart, kind, and caring little girl who brightens up the room and uses her gorgeous brown eyes to examine everything so intently and learn before diving in and fearlessly going through life.
Sweetheart, I have so many hopes for your life. I have so much that I want for you. I want you to be kind and empathetic but not so much that people will take advantage of you. I want you to be strong and driven to succeed but I don’t want you to lose yourself in hard work and be unable to stop and enjoy the sound of rustling leaves or the feeling of warm sunshine on your face. I want you to feel love from everywhere. I want you to follow your dreams no matter what they are. Spend time doing things that you enjoy. Take time for yourself. See the world…or don’t if you don’t want to. Just be yourself. I really don’t want you to be afraid. There is so much in this world that is scary. Before I met your dad, I spent many years trapped in fear and missed out on many opportunities because of it. Please don’t be afraid. Do not doubt yourself. You really can do anything. If I could only pick one hope for your future, it would be for you to be happy because in the end, that is all that really matters.
I will love you forever.
Have an idea for a letter you want me to write or would you like to be a guest writer and share your own letter? Leave a comment below or email me at: Tracey@JustaTraceBlog.com. All guest submissions have the choice to remain anonymous.