pregnancy and parenthood

A letter to my daughter before we meet

“You’re having a healthy baby girl!”

These words took me by sweet surprise as I had been anticipating another boy. Up until now, that’s all I’ve ever known as I’m surrounded by two boy dogs, your big brother and daddy. I’ve been rocking the boy mom gig in a typical boy house.

And while it doesn’t matter at the end of the day whether I’m a boy mom or a girl mom – because raising decent humans is really the blessing here – there are certain things that I will share with you that will be unique to us as mother and daughter.

67781300d9fa45f4843d4078ff04b42eYou are so much more than beautiful. 

It’s already starting as I pick out your tutus, headbands and adorable dresses. (Granted, you will be wearing plenty of your brother’s hand-me-downs as well because that just goes with the gig of being the second child). You won’t notice it until you’re older, but much of our time shopping will be spent sorting through shirts that talk about how cute and pretty you are. This is something that will follow you as you get older. There will be people who focus on your outward appearance at the cost of overlooking who you are as a person. I want you to know that true beauty is far from your image but something that lies within you. It’s your strength, your courage, your words, your brain, and how you choose to use all of these things to share with those around you.

I promise to lead by example as you watch me in the mirror and try on my high heels. I will show you how beauty comes from confidence and not the other way around. I won’t be that mom hiding at the beach; I’ll be that mom splashing in the water with you. I’ll share with you the things I love about my body – the fact that it grew you and your brother being the biggest miracle! I won’t nit pick the things I don’t like because they are the things that make me unique and that tell a story. I’ll show you that girls don’t have to order side salads and that food is fuel. I’ll show you the importance of exercise not because we need to stay skinny but because we need to stay healthy and strong. Because that’s what girls are – we are incredibly strong.

You are just as capable as your brother.

There’s a notion that older brothers have a purpose to protect their little sisters, and I absolutely want your brother to look out for you, but not on the premise that you are a girl. He will look out for you and you will return the favor because you are family and that’s just what family does.

I promise that your dad and I will support you both equally and endlessly in all that you pursue. You are not our little princess and your brother is not our little troublemaker (unless proven otherwise). We will treat you both as whole individuals who are capable to one day tackle big things if you start by believing in yourselves.

You are absolutely allowed to date, and daddy owning guns has nothing to do with you. 

I want you to be raised with a mature understanding of love. It is a powerful force in life and is nothing to hide from. You do not need to be protected from love, nor do you need “help” finding it. You are an intelligent person who has a right to process your emotions as valid. We won’t need to scare boyfriends because we will raise you to think for yourself so that you are confident in your ability to cast judgment. We want you to grow up giving people a fair chance before stereotypes precede their reputations. Not all boys are heartbreakers or jerks. Boys are just as capable at being kind and caring, but that’s for you to seek out firsthand. Lend your heart to those who mutually treasure you. The love you have to give is a precious gift.

I promise to guide you through life lessons however early they may arise. I will not diminish them or belittle you on the premise that you are too young to understand. Being your mother means being approachable more than it means being all-knowing.

Your future belongs to you. 

Being a woman means many people will make assumptions about your future. You will feel invisible pressures to get married and have children by a certain age. On the same token, you will feel just as much pressure to advance in a fast-paced career with about six weeks to spare between birthing those babies and getting back to the grind. Having the ability to bring children into this world is a miracle, but it is not an assumed role that happens to you; It is a sacred choice that belongs to you. Tirelessly pursuing after your career is an amazing goal. You can do it all if you want to do it all, but don’t expect it all to happen at once. Trust that, sometimes, it is better to do more with less than it is to do less with more. Happiness and purpose do not come from being everything to everyone if you are not first something to yourself.

I promise to cheer you on every step of your journey. I know that you will already have critics and pressures from the rest of the world, and so I will be your safe place rather than another critic. It’s my job to believe in you before you learn how to believe in yourself, so that whenever you feel doubt cast by others, you will know how to rise above and keep on writing your story.

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