Saturday, February 15, 2014

Growing Joys

Dear Sesame Seed,

My are you growing! You must be gaining an ounce a minute, because all I can do is eat, eat, eat and I still feel hungry in between bites. Today, you got your first (I think) taste of a snickers bar. I hope the heavenly sweet gooiness made it through your umbilical cord. Your Daddy went out to pick up a pie of pizza (it's not worth getting a slice 'cuz I'd be hungry in two minutes) and came home with that and a snickers bar for me. Baby, you got one awesome Daddy.

I always thought I'd be one of those Mama's who only feeds you super healthful food. Maybe I still will be, most of the time, but I can't say I'm not excited to watch you bite into your first slice of pizza or lick your first ice cream.

So much has happened since I last wrote you a letter.

Yesterday, we saw your eight-year-old cousin A. It seems like he noticed my belly for the first time, and he was thrilled by the discovery. Sesame Seed, if he made one thing clear, it's that he loves you. He sat with his hand on my belly, feeling you kick, with bright eyes and the sweetest smile. It was so beautiful to see him connect with you in that way.

Last week, we went to the city to see a Broadway show for your Grandpa's birthday. We saw Pippin, a show full of awesome dancing, costumes, acrobatics and singing. Your Daddy talked about one of his favorite shows, The Blue Man Group, and how excited he is to bring you to see it one day.

We also got to spend three days at a hotel with our dear friend R and her Baby A. I was watching A while her Ima was attending a conference. It was so sweet to hold her and play with her, to feel a baby in my arms. I hope the two of you will be the best of friends. A couple times she fell asleep in my arms and you kicked in my belly. It was nice to feel the two of you at the same time. I worried that you might feel jealous, but your Daddy said he thought you were comfortable right where you were. I hope so. Soon you will be the baby in my arms. I can't wait to hold you.

I already love you, little one,

Your Mama

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Mama

Dear Ryvr, soon to be Mama,

Sesame Seed, I hope you'll forgive me, but this is not going to be a letter to you. Instead, I am writing a letter to myself. Your birth is coming closer every day. I am 6.5 months pregnant, and time is moving quickly. You will be here so soon. As your birth comes closer, I want to take a moment to record the things I want to remember during your birth. Although I do not feel any fear of your birth, I know that pain often overwhelms me. I want to be able to remember this feeling of fearlessness when the time comes. So, here goes.

Ryvr, you are a strong woman. To begin with, the woman part. Though you have grappled for years with identifying yourself as female, there is no doubt that you can do what women have been doing for thousands of years. You can birth your baby. In the past six months, your body has done incredible things. It has grown and shifted to make room for a new life. It has, of it's own accord, built from a small collection of cells an entire living being. It has grown your baby. The matter of bringing this baby out into this world seems small, though significant, in comparison. There is no doubt that your body, that has already come this far, can do this. Will do this.

And the strength. Think of how far you have come. Of how long you have fought to be here. You picked yourself up from a world of pain and fear and built yourself a life of love and joy. A life you are so happy with that you are willing, no excited, to bring a baby into it. This experience of pain is also one that will end. And when it does you will be given the greatest gift of your life. Your baby to love. All hardship, all pain that you have endured in your life so far has passed and left behind only blessings. The love, compassion, kindness and gratitude you are able to experience now are the shadows of those hardships and that pain. They are what you have been left with. The pain of birth is like that. It ends. And when it does it leaves you with a baby to love.

Remember all that waiting? All that longing? That ache you felt in your womb when you thought of your baby to come? It is all over. All that needs to happen now is the journey your baby is making through your body and out into this world. Imagine those small fingers, that sweet smelling skin, the way it feels to hold a baby against your chest. And imagine that magnified by the fact that this one, this little baby, is yours. It is here in this world through the love of you and the one other person you love most in the world. It is yours to hold and to protect and to love. This baby is here to take away that longing, to relieve that ache. Let it come, Ryvr. Let your body and your baby do the work of bringing your new child into this world.

Ryvr, remember those words you said years ago? "I am here, I am strong enough, and all we hear are echoes of the storm." That is still true.

You are strong enough, Ryvr.