You’re many years away from holding a newborn in your arms, but I’m writing this to you now because I’m very sleep deprived and don’t want to forget.
Dear daughter, when you have the privilege of becoming a mother:
I promise to be in the delivery room if you want me there. I promise to be right down the hall if you don’t.
I promise to absolutely love the name you so carefully picked out for your child.
I promise to grieve right along side you if you experience the horrors of miscarriage and pregnancy loss. I have been there and know the devastation is like nothing else in the world. Like you, I will never forget the babies you didn’t get a chance to meet.
I promise to not pressure you to give me a grandchild. When and if you have children is entirely up to you and I’ll support you no matter what. I would love your child ferociously, but you will always be enough for me.
I promise to buy you the clothes you registered for and not pick out ones I think are cute.
I promise not to leave immediately once the baby is nursing or sleeping. I want to visit with you too and I know that you’re so lonely.
I promise to not leave your house without helping do the dishes or the laundry or anything else that’s piling up. I will never utter the words “chores can wait” unless I intend to take care of them while you wait.
I promise to bring you a bag of burritos without asking so you can feed yourself for the next couple days. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself.
I promise whether you breastfeed or formula feed, for however long, your baby will be okay.
I promise to protect you from negative opinions as much as I can and support every parenting decision you make. I also promise to support you when you change your mind.
I promise to respect the nap schedule you worked so hard to establish.
I promise to remind you of all the ways you were as a baby, not to compare or to criticize, but because my days with you were so precious that they’re still so vivid. I want to relive the memory of you as much as I want to soak up the new memories with your own baby.
I promise to tell you that it goes by quickly if that kind of thing feels encouraging to you. I promise not to say it if it doesn’t. It’s true whether you hear it from me or not.
Most importantly, I promise I will likely break a lot of these promises. I’m human just like you and humans forget and make mistakes and act out of fear or anger or worry. So much worry. I want you to forgive me if I don’t support you the way you want me to. I’m asking this not so I can free myself from guilt, but so you can be free to forgive yourself as well. There will be times you’ll feel like the worst mother in the world and that you’re not cut out for this. It’s important for you not to dwell on the so-called mistakes you make everyday and realize that while you won’t be perfect, you’re the perfect person to raise your child.
Your love for your child will be so immense you won’t be able to believe that kind of love ever existed before. I promise to remind you that it has.