At Home, Cambridge, Massachusetts
I tried to write this letter last night, but couldn’t do it. It’s just so hard to put everything I want to say, everything I’ve thought about telling you, into words.
There is so much I want to say to you and so much I want to teach you.
Your name means “truth” and it is the deepest yearning of my heart that you grow up not only knowing, but believing and living the truth. You have been named in honor of our families. My parents started a tradition by giving their children virtues for middle names. Faith, Justice, Charity, and Valor. Now we add you to the family. From your father’s family, we chose A. for your middle name. This is your grandmother’s middle name and there have been many great women named A. Know what you believe in and understand where you have come from when you think about your name.
By the time you read this, you will know well my many flaws. You will know that I am human and as such, am only a shadow of what God desires for me to be. You, perhaps more than anyone else, will have keen insight into the sins of your mother and this is likely to leave you just as confused as it has done with every woman before you. Most likely you will not know how to reconcile the love and admiration you feel towards your mother with the hurt and frustration I have caused you. Please know that you are not alone in this confusion – it is spans back as far as the chain of humanity exists. Know too that I seek to repent of the ways I sin against you, even when I don’t know how to do so. I bring you into the world and I parent you only by the grace of Jesus, and my only hope in this endeavor is that you will see him before you see me.
Oh, if I could spare you from the ways I will sin against you by keeping you inside me forever, I would. But I can’t. Please forgive me for the things I will do and the ways I will hurt you that you may never explain to me or that I may never fully understand. Forgive me because Christ has forgiven me and because he forgives you.
Your God, the God you will be taught to believe in, is a great and awesome God. Sometimes his goodness is outright terrifying. My greatest prayer for you is that you will know the terror of the Lord’s goodness, rather than the terror of his judgement. I don’t believe it is possible to approach God and not know one of those terrors. May you live in the light of the first. To know this terror is the beginning of true life and true freedom. The world will tell you all sorts of things about how to find freedom in life. But true freedom, real freedom starts with the holy fear that accompanies knowing and being loved by the God who created you, who owns your life. It is a beautiful terror and I pray you know the same overwhelming joy that I have found in this God’s embrace.
You have already been the joy of my heart, baby. Feeling your kicks and squirms inside of me has been a trial, but more than that, it has been a time full of wonder and amazement. These days all I long for is to look into your eyes and meet the shadow I have felt growing inside of me. Your life has taught me, challenged me, and grown me already.
This is it. This is the end of my motherhood project. You are due to arrive in one week, and who knows what day you will actually make your entry, but it is time to draw this recording of my thoughts and experiences to an end. It’s time to come to an end partially because I have little more to say, and partially because a new thing is beginning. I grow more and more aware every day that this story is no longer mine alone. With you here and our stories intertwined it is time to draw a veil onto this world. Motherhood is no longer an abstract, but a real thing with a real person involved. This is now your story, too, and as such it is time for me to step aside and protect your little world.
Thank you for letting me write this. Thank you for helping me grow.
“I know so much more than I did about the woman who wrote it. What began the change was the very writing itself. Let no one lightly set about such a work… The change which the writing wrought in me… was only a beginning - only to prepare me for the gods’ surgery. They used my own pen to probe my wound.”
– Orual in Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.