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Dear Baby, Here's All the Things I Wish You Knew About How I Feel Right Now

Photograph by Risa Kerslake

My dear baby,

Well, here you are. Welcome to your home. I hope you like the new swing and that little, squishy black-and-white ball that squeaks. It sort of reminds me of a dog toy, but the books said that you like contrasting colors, so in our living room it stays.

Sorry about dropping that tortilla chip on your head the other night. You sort of cry a lot in the evenings and the only way you seem cool with things is if I’m holding you, but I also need to eat once in a while. It’s sort of this dance, you and I: me, giving, and you, taking a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but also the scariest. I’ve wanted you for a long time, but I also really didn’t know much about what being a mom was going to entail. You see, I did a lot of research before you came and read a lot of reviews on car seats and strollers. But somehow you came and everything I thought I knew went out the window.

That includes our new sleep situation. You were supposed to sleep in your bassinet, beside me. But, somehow, every night I find myself curled around your tiny body, hyper-alert for your breathing, because nothing on Earth scares me more than losing you.

You’ve turned me from a confident, laid-back woman who honestly was kind of timid in a crowd to a raging snarling beast, hellbent on protecting you from anything and everything. I will die before I let any harm come to you. How did I become this person?

Since you came into my life, I haven’t slept much, but I can feel my heart aching through my chest.

Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself anymore. You know that other day, when I was crying—no, sobbing—into you as you shrieked with anger? It was because I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it. Later, I realized it was gas pains, and I’m sorry it took me so long to figure that out, but I seem to constantly second-guess myself these days. It’s probably the hormones making their way out of my body, but really I think it’s because I just simply joined the world of motherhood.

Since you came into my life, I haven’t slept much, but I can feel my heart aching through my chest. My stomach and breasts will never be the same. I tend to throw my hair into a bun, since I’m preoccupied with you, and all of this depresses me and makes me happier than I ever thought I could be.

My sweet baby, the world is so big and holding you right now, it seems to be too big. It seems to be too frightening, too cold—how am I ever going to let you out there on your own?

I want you to know on those days that I’m having a hard time, when I’m frustrated because you won’t sleep and upset that I’m so tired I can’t think straight, when I feel like I lost the person I used to be, that my love for you far outweighs all of these things. I might forget to heat the bottle before feeding you or let that diaper rash go longer than it should, but I hope you know I’m trying my best.

We’re in this together, you and I. I’m so blessed that you chose me to be your mommy. Even on those tough days.

Love,

Your mom

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