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A Letter to My Baby

by Jeri Carr

This time last year you were nestled contentedly in my warm womb, your safe house for over nine months, protected from the harsh world. I wondered if you were a boy or a girl, guessing that you were a boy. I loved resting my hand on my abdomen and feeling you poke me. Your daddy, sister, and I had fun watching the bumps rolling on my tummy when you stretched and jabbed inside your cramped living quarters.

Anticipation for your arrival to the "outside world" filled my mind, and I eagerly awaited the beginning of labor. Though I had given birth to your sister three years earlier, the intense feelings and sensatons of labor once again surprised me and briefly made me wonder why I had been so eager for it to start, but I retreated into myself, relaxed, and rode on the powerful waves of labor and proudly pushed you into the world after six hours of hard, but exhilarating, work.

On December 16, 1998, Wednesday morning at 9:38, you swooshed into a pool of warm water. My eager arms reached down into the water and lifted you up and held you close to my body as if I would never let you go. I greeted you saying over and over, "Hi, baby. Hi!" Everyone felt incredible joy at seeing you for the first time, but none felt it more strongly than I did.

No longer in my womb, but connected to each other by your umbilical cord, we were still as one. You gave a little cry when someone put a hat on your head. You started mouthing your fist so I offered my breast to you and you gently mouthed my nipple, not quite getting a good hold of it.

I finally took a peek and found out that you were indeed a little boy. Then I cut your cord, thus separating us physically forever, and I offered my breast again. This time you got a good hold and nursed like a pro.

Soon afterward, we went back to our bedroom. After I had eaten some yummy soup and cinnamon rolls and the midwife completed her exams of you and me, we snuggled together in our bed and went to sleep.

As I look back at the past year and see how quickly you've changed from that helpless, wee baby into a strong, little young man, I feel a little sad, but happy and proud.

At first, you couldn't do much but cry, wet and poop your diapers, and sleep. I carried you, snuggled with you, and nursed you very often.

When you began to smile, it lit up your face, and my heart. You started laughing and interacting, and Daddy and Sister loved to make you laugh (they have the gift of making you laugh like no one else can). You enjoyed "itsy bitsy spider," "this little piggie went to market," "pat-a-cake," and hearing us sing to you. You loved to sit in our laps, go for walks, and be carried in the sling. You began watching us with keenly observant eyes. Your little body often wiggled with contagious excitement and you made happy sounds when you watched other children play, saw our cats, saw toys with bright colors and funny sounds, and when you felt the breeze on your face.

You, your sister, and I have always had fun playing together. You enjoyed sitting with me, leaning against my body for support, and soon you began sitting up on your own, a feat which you enjoyed very much.

You began nursing less often, a bit of a relief to me, but soon your curiosity "got the better of you," and nursing became a task that took you away from seeing things. It was around this time that we started our "tradition" of going into the quiet bedroom to nurse in order to help you get enough to eat and to help you get to sleep. But (as you do now) you enjoyed nursing at night.

You enjoyed sitting in your chair at the table while we ate and you played with spoons and straws. But soon you weren't content with just watching us eat food. Food intrigued you, and it quickly became apparent that you loved to eat.

You began crawling in a unique style, pushing yourself along with one foot and always making sure you could quickly sit up at a moment's notice. Exploring comes naturally to you, and babyproofing made our lives easier.

Standing in our laps brought great big smiles from you, but when you pulled up to stand on your own, you had such a proud and happy look on your face. At first you liked us to hold your hands while you took steps, but soon you refused all our help and preferred to cruise around the room holding onto furniture.

When you took your first solo step we were so excited! Within a month you really began walking and now you don't crawl anymore. You fall on your cloth-diaper-padded-bottom often, but practice makes perfect and your gait is becoming steader and faster. Why, you almost ran today!

Even though you don't say any grownup words, you have learned to communicate in many ways other than by crying -- by squeals of delight, screeches of annoyance, yells of anger, babbles of frustration, laughter. Your expressive face and body has much to say to anyone who will take the time to "listen." When you want to nurse you tug at my shirt.

You have grown much in the last year. Though you still have much growing to do, time goes by fast, and you won't always want to nurse at night or sleep with me or be carried. Life is a series of weanings, and you will grow up fast enough in your own time (not mine), so I'll try to enjoy you for who you are and not rush you to grow up. I know you will be a big, strong, independent young man someday, but you'll always be my sweet little baby boy. I love you!!

This article was first published on Suite101.com on December 3, 1999.


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