Letter to Baby Girl

3.14.2014

Dear Baby Girl,

I went to the doctor today to check up on you. The doctor is a nice old man—very nice and very old. He’s delivered thousands of babies and has to be retiring sometime soon. I searched every corner of the city for him. It took me a while. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. But when I met Dr. Dott and discovered his perfect mix of paradoxes, I knew he was the one. He wears a bow tie, but calls himself “crunchy” and “a wannabe midwife.” He looks like my deductive logic professor from college, but reminisces about planting placenta trees with his wife in the seventies. He has the credentials of a medical doctor, but the heart of a hippie. He says things like, “You look radiant today, Samantha. Now tell me—how does it feel to be in the cusp of creation? I’ve never experienced it before.” You’d like him, Baby Girl. I’m sure of it.

Today he listened to your heartbeat and felt your head all low in my belly. “Can I say something to you, Samantha,” he asked, “as a father, not as a doctor?” I nodded and he sank down in a chair beside me. He told me that he sees two types of parents come through his doors: the parents who drastically alter their lives in every way when babies come and the parents who just strap the babies on their backs and go on living. “The ones who don’t tear down what they’ve already built and start from scratch with a baby, the ones who just invite the baby to join in and build with them—those are the happier parents,” he said. “Which kind of parent do you think you’ll be?”

Well, isn’t that the question?

I hope we’re the kind of parents who just let you join in and build on what we’ve already got going. It’d be a shame to start over. Your dad and I? We’ve built something good, something I rather like, something I’m scared to tear down for you or for anyone. I don’t want everything to change. Sometimes I’m tempted to think that makes me selfish, but Dr. Dott didn’t seem to think so. He seemed to think that I shouldn’t tear it all down. He seemed to think that you’re more than a ticking time bomb or giant eraser, ready and waiting to obliterate what we’ve done here and send us back to the drawing board. He seemed to think you have something to contribute to this life we’ve been working on, this love we’ve been working on. Am I making sense here, Baby?

Sometimes I get so caught up in all the things I want for you—may you have the vocabulary of a food critic and the contentment of a Tibetan monk—and I think that to give you those things, I need to alter my world unalterably. But maybe that’s not how it works, Baby. Maybe the best I can really give you is a few blocks to build with and a little head start. Your Dad and I have already started creating a beautiful life. I can’t wait to see what you bring to it.

See you soon,

Mom

3 comments :

  • Carly Sessions

    Beautiful! I think I LOVE Dr. Dott. That is the kind of parent I always wanted to be. I even used the same exact phrase, “strap the baby on and go on living.” I spent hours researching baby carriers and strollers so I could do just that. Then Benny was born and completely knocked me off my feet, changing me, changing my marriage, and changing my life in ways I never expected. It has been a challenge to maintain my sense of self. In many ways Benny has introduced me to a whole new version of myself. I was frustrated with how long it took before I felt competent enough to strap him on and head out the door to live life. The trick for me has been to accept the changes, not as a destruction of the life before his arrival, but as welcome additions to it. You will be a wonderful mother, Sam. I am thrilled beyond belief for you, Trent, and this incredibly lucky little girl.

  • Crystalee Beck (@delighted2write)

    What a sweet letter. I felt the same way, and still do, about wanting to involve our new baby in our world, rather than recreate it. I was terrified of that for years, but life’s kept going the past six weeks, albeit differently. I’m still working on my thesis, we’re still planning to do a triathlon this summer, and we’re going on a trip without her later this year (yay for grandmas to watch her!) Definitely still learning how to live this new version of life, but I think it will be great. Oh…and don’t base your new life on the first few weeks – it’s crazy hard not to sleep for so many days…but it gets easier! I had to keep telling myself that, and it’s really true.

  • GB

    If we are being “Obedient” because we believe that is what we should do and WANT to do ——Is that being obedient or is that following your heart?

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