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Dear Baby: On Feeling Alone, Even When You’re Not

Dear Baby,

You are 22 weeks along in my tummy now, with another four months to go, and you’ve been making your presence quite known. Not just visibly (yes, definitely that) but also with all of your seriously active kicks and acrobatics. Pregnancy is so different this time around — not uncommon for second pregnancies it seems — and the truth is that I’m just not as focused on it.

But the other truth is that you’re with me at one of the most intense times of my life. In the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself on airplanes and in hotel rooms and behind podiums in bookstores, thinking I’m quite alone in whatever I’m experiencing, but then I receive a deft kick from within and am reminded that I am not alone at all. That you are very much with me.

Who are you?? Your father and I wonder about this on a daily basis. Now that we’ve seen your sister go from a bump in my tummy to the wild and beautiful and consuming creature she is today, we are so curious to know who you will turn out to be. I can’t help assuming you are a boy; your father thinks so too. A son. It’s strange to think about having a son. Whenever I picture it, I always imagine you older — in your twenties perhaps — the two of us at lunch, me an older woman drinking iced tea (which I don’t even like) or white wine (which I do) and you, bright-eyed and happy, telling me about a new job or a girlfriend. The relationship between a son and his mother is one I haven’t a clue about, obviously since I only have this weird country-club-lunch fantasy to base it on, but it’s something that I’m warming to more and more.

I know I’ll be happy with whoever you turn out to be. More than happy. Every time I get scared of you, of having a second child, of having a child who is not the one I already have, I look at your sister and think about how deeply I love her, and how easily I love her, and I know that it will be the same with you.

Confession: I just spent twenty minutes crying in the bedroom. It’s one of those days. One of those pregnancy days, one of those life days, one of those strangely rainy days in Los Angeles, and an anxious feeling of gloom has settled over me that I just can’t seem to shake. I cried and cried, a messy, warm cry that poured out all too freely. I held a framed photo of my parents in my hands, wishing that they were here, wishing so much that I could call on them for so many things…for guidance and support and presence, and the feeling of not being quite so alone in all of this.

Baby, it’s hard to be a grown-up. It’s confusing and overwhelming sometimes and there will be days when you will wish so much for someone to step in and take over and make everything that is wrong, right. Because that’s what your father and I are going to be doing for you for the forseeable future. You will fall and spill and stumble and you will get sick and cold and not be able to sleep, and you will get scared and confused and feel lonely and worried, and for as long as we possibly can, your father and I will be here to smooth the tears off your cheeks, and tell you that it’s okay, even when it isn’t.

Then a day will come when you will feel alone and on your own, because even those of us with parents have those days, and you will cry warmly and freely and after a while you will simply stop . You will take a deep breath and you will push yourself to standing and you will go back to what you were doing — making coffee or returning a phone call — and you will take another deep breath and you will know that your day will continue and your life will move forward and that really, really you are not at all alone in this moment.



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  1. Awww, congrats again! What a beautiful baby. :) Seems just like yesterday (seriously) that my daughter was in my tummy and I was wondering who she would be, and now she is almost 7 months old! I’ve found that life moves at an accelerated pace when you have children, because each day is completely different than the one before. Enjoy every kick. I know what you mean about never feeling alone when you’re pregnant, because having my daughter with me all the time was a great comfort when I was stressed or anxious. Congrats on everything and you deserve every ounce of good that is going your way. :)

    Comment by Liz on February 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm

  2. And I know this is about stretch marks, but it always made me cry when I was pregnant, because it’s so beautiful whether you have stretch marks or not:

    “A mark for every breath you took,
    every blink,
    every sleepy yawn.

    One for every time you sucked your thumb,
    waved hello,
    closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness.

    One for every time you had the hiccups.
    One for every dream you dreamed within me.

    It isn’t very pretty anymore. Some may even think it ugly.
    That’s OK. It was your home.

    It’s where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be.

    It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it.”

    Comment by Liz on February 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  3. It is marvelous to think that you can mix the same genes and get an entirely different result. A few strands of DNA with billions of possibilities. I like it that you have chosen not to know the sex. That will be revealed at birth, but the question you and Greg have “Who are you” will take decades to unfold.

    Comment by Paul Tredgett on February 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

  4. Ha…good point, Paul. As always.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on February 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

  5. Oh Liz, thank you for all the kind words and for sharing that beautiful passage. I love hearing from other moms like you.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on February 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

  6. I forgot about how wonderful that was, being pregnant and never feeling alone. Sophie was with me as I gave big presentations at Nike and GE, as I danced at my sister’s bachelorette party and walked down her aisle, and for all the little moments of yoga and eating and sleeping and not sleeping. It always seemed like she was already a part of the action. Your baby is no different – he/she is with you for some major action! So good to remember that.

    Comment by Sara on February 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm

  7. Haha…I love those images, Sara. And love you and Sophie too!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on March 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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