baby, you have shattered me

Baby feet in a hand with polished fingernails

Dearest child,

I’m sitting here listening to you squawk and squeal, wishing that you would just go. To. Sleep. Sleeping is not really your strong suit. I joke with your father that someday you will regret all of the sleep you missed out on as a baby when you have responsibilities.

But even when I’m frustrated with your inability to go to bed at a decent time (and allow me precious moments to keep our household and myself running), I’m reminded every single day of the fact that you, my beloved baby, have shattered me.

What you can’t know as a nine-month-old baby is that I waited for you for nine whole months while I tried to mend my broken heart as you grew healthy and strong inside me.

You don’t know that there was a baby right before you who didn’t make it into this world and that there are many days that I feel a pang of guilt because you are my perfect baby. Because I can’t imagine my life without you now, does it mean that what or who would have been before you were inside me is somehow less important? It’s the most strange pain–to know and feel the loss of what could have been but to feel utterly elated with what is. You are not a replacement. The baby who would have been is not unloved or unwanted.

You don’t know that I didn’t go into labor on my own after my water broke (unbeknownst to me for 12 hours) and that I didn’t get to meet you for 40 hours after that.

You don’t know that I was so scared because I was in labor for so long and I thought it would eventually hurt you. But you were so strong. You never gave even the impression of a moment of distress. I was so proud of your strength.

You don’t know that when you were finally earth-side, I shattered into a million pieces. The moment you were born, something inside of me released and I couldn’t contain it. It was primal. I yelled and sobbed, “She’s here. She’s here. I love her. I love her. She’s so beautiful. She’s here. I love her.”

You don’t know that I haven’t been able to put all of the pieces back together, because they don’t fit the same way. I may have broken into a million pieces, but now there are more. Because of that, I have to make myself into something more. Something better. Someone worthy of parenting the strong, curious, cautious, smart, funny, loving person I already know you are.

I was caught off guard, not knowing who I am anymore. I had been so sure before you. The last nine months, I have tried to put myself back together with pieces of who I was and these new pieces you have gifted me. It is messy, knowing the old version of me is gone and replaced with this new version I have yet to get to know. But it is so worth it.

So, my darling, you have shattered me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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