A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER LAYLA (who will be joining us very soon)
This is not the earliest time to start a diary for you. How wonderful it would have been if I could have began when I first found out you would be joining our family back in September! However, the truth is, Mommy has been very very sick for the past 5 months and just had to focus on feeling better and taking care of you.
Today you have been living inside of me for almost 27 weeks! WOW! That is a long time…almost 7 months. It seems to have gone by so quickly. I am starting to feel better and I am definitely starting to feel like I can write again. Yes, I LOVE to write and reflect on life. It helps to provide so much clarity in situations that can seem confusing and so much joy when I have something to celebrate or have opened my eyes to new awareness. I have been doing it since I was 13 and it always has helped me. Maybe one day you will too? Or you will express yourself in a different way. The important thing to me is that you find what makes you feel grounded when you are going through confusing or difficult times – something that provides you strength and comfort – and that you always find time and a way to celebrate the beauty and love that you see and experience.
So it is about that time that I am supposed to be preparing your “nursery” or your 1/3 of Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom since we currently live in a small space and you will be bunking with us for a while. I have been scrolling through pages and pages of cute little blankets and matching…EVERYTHING. These things are supposed to create the most beautiful and perfect space to welcome my little girl into the world. Honestly, none of these things, images, products have excited me. I wasn’t sure why. It is something that so many women seem to love…planning every single detail. I know I have never naturally been the decorating type…that is why we have your Auntie Jack which you will come to learn.
But it was more than that…I just didn’t know it yet.
A few days ago, the above mentioned Auntie Jack posted an image and quote on her Facebook wall as she does each day (don’t even ask…by the time you are reading this Facebook will probably be a distant memory). As soon as I saw it I was struck by a lightening bolt of energy and connection. My initial response was to relate to the picture myself. A young girl looking up at the sky with conviction and determination and the Joan of Arc quote “I am not Afraid. I was born to do this.” accompanied it. My first response was that this is how I wanted and expected to feel about pregnancy… and I don’t. If I choose this mantra then maybe I can turn that around. Or maybe I really do know the truth of this mantra but it is hidden deep inside because on the surface I am experiencing all of the fear that society places on me as a woman on this journey. Whatever the reason, I have known that I wanted more than anything to feel the strength and understanding depicted.
Then, just as quickly, I realized something even deeper. This is what I want for you. Not the pregnancy bit (lol… that means laugh out loud and you are probably thinking right now… “oh mom, nobody has said that in decades…lol), but this feeling of strength and assurance deep in your soul in an uncertain and sometimes overwhelming world. Oh wait…peel back yet another layer. It wasn’t at all about what I want for YOU. Your life will not be about what I want for you. It will be what YOU want for YOU. And right now you are living inside of me so the two can easily get confused. And I am pretty sure that I will have many many times in the future where I want so badly to have an agenda for your life. I promise right now that I will do everything I can to reign that desire in and to support you in your journey…lead by you! That was a little tangent… back to the point at hand. I suddenly realized that it was you that connected to this picture immediately. It was you that said “This is for ME”.
You have not physically entered our world yet…but you are already here. I can feel it now. Honestly…I haven’t. Until yesterday. I have not heard a word. I have not felt connected. Do you know why? Because I have not been listening! I have been distracted. And that is ok. Even though for a long time I didn’t feel it was ok. I felt like I wasn’t being a good enough Mommy already because I was just getting through the stress of each day. Most days I was barely thinking about you. I barely could. And everything was so so so overwhelming and different and strange and confusing and weird. And I was caught up in the fear of what was happening to me and around me. The details are not important now. What is important is that I told myself it was ok to experience whatever I was feeling and everything would work out as long as I was true to my feelings every day.
And now…7 months in… I am starting to listen. By now, as you are reading this, I have told you the story of the picture that is hung above your bed and the Joan of Arc quote that is scrawled across the canvas that your Aunt Amanda created especially for you. By now we have had many many conversations about what it means to you and to me and how that meaning changes with each new day, year and experience.
BUT – now you can read the words written by your Mamma in real time when you shared my body and my soul for a little while…teaching me so much before I even knew you.