1st Journal Entry to my Newborn Daughter

How am I going to raise a girl, and help you establish a strong self image?
How do I teach you what I myself don’t know how to be?

JOURNAL FROM MOM TO JRW

1/10/02

Hi JR. Welcome to the world. What to say… It’s hard to arrange all the things I’d like to say to you here, now, on this 6th day of your life, outside of me. You’re sleeping on the bed next to me as I type this into my laptop. You’re sure cute. And small!

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to have two kids. I always pictured having two boys. When I found out you were a girl it scared me a little. A lot, actually. How am I going to raise a girl, and help you establish a strong self image? It’s easier with boys. Socially, boys are indoctrinated with a strong self-image. But in my experience, that’s not been the case for girls. It’s been, and still is very hard for me to believe in myself, to trust myself, to like myself, for the greater part of my life. I don’t want that for you. So how do I teach you what I myself don’t know how to be?

I wanted two kids so that you and your brother can have someone of your own generation to grow with, to share life with, to align with. Your dad and I are older parents, two generation drops from you and your brother. We didn’t intend it to be that way. At least I didn’t. I wanted kids much younger, but even with vigorous searching I didn’t meet anyone I wanted to marry until your dad, when I was 37. We tried having kids straight away, but I had a lot of miscarriages (7), and it took us two years to have your brother and another 2 plus to have you. After losing 5 pregnancies before your brother, I was scared out of my mind that I would never get to have any children.

After your bro, I was sure all those loses were behind me, and your dad and I tried for you 6 months after your brother was born. But I lost that baby, and another one a year and a half later. And I didn’t think I could handle another loss. So we stopped trying so hard. And 4 months after that last loss, you were conceived. And I was so afraid I’d lose you too. But you hung in there, and saved my sanity. And you were born to me on January 4th, 2002. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I kiss your head with my words.

I hope I serve you well as your parent. I hope we can grow to be good friends. I’m not quite sure how to be a mom to two children and give you both what you need. As I’ve told your brother, and I am telling you now- I’m sorry for the times you will feel I was not there for you. I hope they will be few. And I hope you can forgive me for the times you will feel you are left wanting. I promise to do my very best, and to make you and your brother the highest priority in my life. I love you more than you’ll ever know, unless you get lucky, like me, and have children of your own.

I’m looking forward to you growing. Infancy is a hard stage for me, as I don’t really know anything about you, who you are, how you are, what kind of person you will want to be, and become. I hope for you that you are kind, that you care about the world around you and the people in it. I hope for you that you are strong and stand by your convictions with actions. I hope for you that you are wise and understand when compromise is necessary as it will be so much of your life. I hope for you that you choose wisely whom to love and that you understand that love is an action and takes constant work to maintain. And I pray that you will always know that I deeply and passionately love you, my beautiful daugher.

Welcome to earth, JRW! So very glad to meet ya!!

Welcome to Earth, my Beautiful Son

I had 6 pregnancy loses between 36 and 40 years old. I was half way through my 40th year when my son was born. C-section, after 5 DAYS of labor. I was part of a Harvard study on Pitocin. It didn’t work on me. This blog post is my first journal entry to my new son.

Hi E,

First, I want you to know how much I love you. It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve only known you for five months but I love you more deeply and more profoundly than I’ve ever loved anyone or anything in my entire life.

I also want you to know that I will be the best mom I can be to you. I know that I will screw up a ton, and I apology for it up front, as I will again and again throughout our time together, whenever warranted. As your mother, I will be your primary teacher, as my mom was mine. I hope by the time you read this that you will understand that my guiding light is my love for you, and the choices and disciplines I imposed on you always were based on this love.

Your grandmother taught me how to see the world around me. She’d point out sunsets, or stop to admire the roses, point out their intricate pattern and vibrant colors. She turned me on to music, dance, song, laughter, loving life. And these magnificent gifts I hope to pass to you.

Your grandmother also taught me to feel bad about myself. She did not do this consciously. She had expectations of who she wanted me to be, and when I did not meet them, her vacuum of disappointed felt as if she were sucking away her love.

I hope to be a better parent, as most every parent does. I know that I too will have expectations of you. I know that at times I will impose my vision of who I want you to be, instead of seeing who you are. I blindly hope that you do not suffer too greatly for my humanity. I wish for you to grow proud of who you are. I love you E.M. My deepest desire is that you have a life filled with happiness and fulfillment, that the times you feel lonely are few and short lived, that you never know hopelessness, and that you embrace living with passion and purpose.

I promise you I’ll work hard all our time together to observe, listen, and plug in to you emotionally, to learn about who you are. In this journal, I will try and chronicle our times together as accurately as possible, but remember these words are my interpretation of our experiences, and should be read with this knowledge at the fore. Seek answers to questions of your history from as many sources as possible. Don’t blindly believe me. Don’t blindly believe anybody.

So far, you seem like a pretty happy kid. You smile a lot, and laugh, too. You seem to really like when I sing to you. You like being held and nuzzled, and that’s good for me because I love holding you, and snuggling, too. Sometimes at night when you wake crying, I bring you into bed with me and your dad, and you push your little body into mine and fall asleep. I really love having you there, feeling you breathe, knowing you’re safe. It’s a blast taking you out and about, turning you onto the world, and you seem to like it, too. Shopping with you is pure fun, showing you things in the stores, encouraging you crinkle the plastic chip bag or touch the cold ice cream container. I love watching you discover.

I hear you rustling around in the bassinet now, just waking from your afternoon nap. (Almost an hour today, but you’ll still be up at 3:00 a.m. looking for attention.) Anyway, got to sign off. Want to be there for you before you start crying. Alone is scary, for me, too. I’ll try and be here when you wake, at least initially, let you know you’re not on your own from the beginning, hopefully provide you some ground. I’ll write to you here when the muse strikes me. Depending on what gets written in here over the years will depend on when you actually get to read this. But I promise you, you will get to read it. After all, this is for you.

I love you, my beautiful son. Welcome to the world, and thank you for gifting me the opportunity to share this uniquely fantastic level of love.