To my unborn son: A Letter

Good morning baby boy,

It is a cool Sunday morning in November, the air crisp with moisture and tension as Thanksgiving looms mere days away. Droplets of water tumble to the pavement below from roofs and awnings, their descent fraught with the same anxious energy shoppers possess as they navigate lines looking for last minute items to complete their holiday meals.

I sit away from the chaos of the outer world, nestled in the confines of my work area, penning this letter to you. It is only mere weeks until our first encounter with one another, yet in a mysterious way I feel as if I have known you for many years longer than I have been aware of your existence inside of my stomach.

As I think about the first time I will see you perfect, rounded cheeks, your beautifully crafted eyelashes that boys seem to possess by nature and women long for, I am filled with a mixture of excited and overwhelmed emotions.

Though you have been by far my easiest pregnancy in comparison to your brothers, you have been the pregnancy in which I have felt the most emotional turmoil. It is not your fault that I have wrestled with these emotions but what I feel is my own inadequacy as your mother.

I fear that you will feel confined. Though I know you have spent the last 29 weeks of your life nestled in the comfort of the darkness that is my belly, I am afraid that upon bringing you home you will feel instant disappointment. You must understand that I wanted to bring you home to a wonderfully large house, perfectly decorated with a nursery intended solely for your presence, it’s atmosphere warm and waiting for you to grow, to thrive. Instead, I will bring you home to a space that is far more cramped than I would like, but is what we have to work with right now. Unfortunately, in life we make choices, and in my desire to pursue my education with the intention of bettering myself, I acquired student loans, burdening reminders of the amount I owe that prevents me from bringing you in to the ideal home that I dream of for you, for us.

I fear that you will feel ignored. You have three older brothers, three little boys that demand my attention in different ways. Each of your brothers is at different stages of life, wrestling with new experiences and how to process them. Your oldest brother is nearly a pre-teen, fighting the urge to act as if your mother doesn’t exist while at the same time looking to me for comfort when mysterious forces disturb him in the middle of the night, whether it be an upset stomach or a nightmare. You see, though he is 9 years old and would never actively admit that he has these, he still does. In those moments, he still needs me.

You have another brother, who is 5 years old. He reminds me the most of myself. He is fiercely independent and stubborn. While these may seem like strong characteristics in their own right, having another version of myself who constantly challenges me can be trying for your mom. Yet, he is the sweetest boy. ┬áHe is so kind and loving, the first to ask if you are okay if you utter “ouch, ” after an unexpected paper cut while opening the mail, not aware that a captivated audience is watching. He may bother you at first, but I feel you will have the strongest bond together.

Your “younger older brother” as I like to refer to him, is still a baby himself. When we found we were expecting you my heart immediately felt as if it were wrenching, clenched at the prospect of denying either you or him of your baby years since you are both going to be so close in age. I don’t want to neglect either of your needs. This is my biggest fear, something I worry about in many moments of my day. He is so loving and gentle, and somehow, I know that it will all work out between the two of you. I have to remind myself of this, when I worry.

My dear baby boy, I hope you know that you are the most unexpected and welcome surprise. After the birth of your brother, I did not anticipate that we would introduce another child in to our family. To be perfectly honest, I was still processing how to effectively raise three children, a task I felt I was meeting with utter failure daily, when I discovered another person would arrive to rely on me. I hope you know that more than anything, I love my children. These three boys have shaped me in to the mother I am today. I still question myself, perhaps far more than I should, wondering in which ways I could have been a better parent during a particular day or instance. I still wonder, when I feel as if I cannot navigate another moment, another hour of parenthood under the weight of the sheer exhaustion that is motherhood, if I am the right person to be fulfilling the role of shaping your brothers and eventually yourself, in to the men, partners and parents that you will become.

I doubt myself constantly. But my sweet baby, I hope you will understand as you join our family, and grow older, that I will never doubt my love for you, the sweetest surprise of all.



Your Mom boy


Journey From Grace

It’s invisible, the burden she carries. No one can see the weight of the self doubt that consumes her upon a daily basis, a heavy garment of measurement draped across the expanse of her shoulders; a reminder of the many ways in which she falls short. She is aware that she is her own worst critic. She never gives herself the credit she likely deserves, because she feels like she can always be better, do better.

Along the journey of motherhood she is aware that she has lost herself. Yet she is so entrenched in the minute daily details of raising children, fostering a comfortable environment for a family to be nurtured, that in the midst of cutting requested corners from slices of bread for sandwiches, she has also cut corners in her self care. She is not a martyr by any means. She willingly offers portions of herself to her children and family, small slices of love, kindness and encouragement, tokens which she readily dispenses in to the wells of her children’s needs, reveling in their successes and questioning herself and her parenting in their failures. She understands that the cycle of life will damage her children, hardening their presently rounded edges in to sharper corners, building small nuggets of cynicism and doubt within them, as the path to adulthood so unkindly does. Yet she acts as their protective cover, their self described poncho from the storms of life, battering the criticisms and judgments that often come from others to ensure everyone who surrounds her is happy.

She is not certain at which point she ventured from grace. She feels as though she has weathered her path for so long that she cannot recall anyone ever walking the path beside her. She knows His presence exists all around her, that to Him nothing is a surprise nor is any part of her journey a mystery, yet she can’t remember when she lost her faith, where in her trials to turn to to find Him again.

Yet, that is the most beautiful and perhaps most painful part of grace. Often, in order to gain grace, to fully understand our purpose, we must lose everything. It is in those moments where we question ourselves the most that He finds us, reminding us of the way home.