Dear Baby #3,
I really wanted to share my thoughts about your becoming a part of our family and this world soon. I contemplated on how to pen my feelings; would I write an open letter or an essay type piece? I settled on writing to you instead of about you. Technology is beyond anything that I could have imagined as a child in middle school with a typewriter so I’m confident that you will, indeed, come across this letter at some point and I want you to know that even at this stage you were…you and loved.
I found out about 3 months ago that I was pregnant with you. I was just finishing up the Insanity Workout program and my weight had plateaued; the scale wouldn’t budge below 140 lbs/63.5 kilo. I was eating clean and doing the workouts to the max. Along with that, I was unable to nurse your brother as my milk had suddenly disappeared. I fought discouragement for weeks but as I entered my last week of the program I was forced to admit that it had not worked for me and that I had to find yet another way to lose the extra 15 pounds which, indiscreetly, sat around my middle section. Feeling a bit defeated I decided to ditch my regular scheduled workout time and go for a mani/pedi instead. This mani/pedi visit it what led me to you. I walked into the shop and not 1, but 2 women asked me was I pregnant. I almost cried. I was aware that I hadn’t lost the weight from your brother but to assume pregnancy was just hurtful. I sat in the chair coming up with all types of plans to get the weight off: running outside every other day, running the stairs in our building 3 days a week, and tossing in Pilates for my rest day. In the midst of my mad planning it occurred to me that I could actually be pregnant. The sudden lost of breast milk, the bloating, maybe even the inability to lose weight. My heart sunk and I all I could think about was racing out of there and heading to the pharmacy to get “the test.”
I walked out of the pharmacy, gripping the bag with “this test” that could change my entire being, praying that I was not pregnant. I just wasn’t ready. Your sister, Mila, is 2 and will not be 3 until October and your brother Aaron will be 1 next month. You see love being pregnant with you meant that I would have had 3 babies and 3 caesarean in less than 3 years. It meant that I would be in this “little baby” season for at least another 3 years. Parenting is hard. Parenting abroad, without family and a reliable support system is even harder I’m presuming. All of your siblings were born here but I’m confident in stating that my parenting experiences would have been different and a bit easier if I were in America, close to or in SC. It’s just your father and I all the time. I’m exhausted. The idea of having another child scared me terribly. I hope that you will, one day, understand these emotions.
I will admit that after initially finding out about you I hated talking to new moms or people with baby fever who were overly enthusiastic about my pregnancy. The bitter parts of me wanted to tell them “have 3 babies, in less than 3 years, and then let’s see how, naïvely, excited you are.” I’m ashamed, really. I tried to avoid the mothers that have been unable to conceive as they have desired. The talks of my fertile uterus made everyone involved uncomfortable. My forced smile and overly theatrical gestures of excitement made me feel both guilty and rushed. I also wanted to stay clear of those who weren’t excited about you. I couldn’t understand their feelings. We can’t use them as sitters and we don’t need any help financially. Their emotions upset me the most. I didn’t need anyone to validate or negatively influence my already warped emotions.
In my attempts to be in a better place, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to consolidate my feelings/fears into bullet points and this is what I have come up with:
- I fear that I have, in ways, decreased you and your siblings quality of life by having you all so close together. I saw it immediately after having Aaron when I realized that Mila was going to have to miss out on park visits and one on one time with mommy for while. If debilitation didn’t keep from doing the things that I wanted to do for her then your brother’s needs did. We are back into a pretty good routine now but I do think that she will have to grow up a bit faster than only children her same age will. As will your brother when you come. His expiration date in the crib is 20 months. Will he be ready to render his bed to you? Will he be ready to share me in August with someone who will need me far more than his older sister? I believe that Mila knew about and was ready for Aaron when he arrived. Aaron seems a great deal different from your sister. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet, but he’s different. My inability to nurse for the amount of time that I desired also leads to guilt. I was forced to stop nursing your sister at 11 months as I stopped producing milk because I was pregnant with Aaron. I had to stop nursing your brother at 8 months because I pregnant with you. I will feel extremely guilty at the first sign of an ear infection as studies have found that formula fed babies chances of getting ear infections are higher than those of breastfed fed babies. Luckily for you, I will be able to nurse you until you are two if we so desire (I can admit now though that I won’t want to do that past 1 year).
- I often think about the fact that I have been pregnant my entire marriage as I became pregnant with your sister 6 months in. So my weight and hair growth has fluctuated my entire marriage. My mood as well. I’m so exhausted most of time and am usually on auto pilot so I wonder how good of wife I really am. Your daddy says that he’s happy but I will tell you now that children change the dynamics of a marriage. Mostly in great ways but there are some areas that will need special attention to maintain a healthy relationship.
- I’ve spent the last almost 4 years trying to figure out who I am as a wife and as a mother. You can’t get married and just think that you can do, well, you. Same as becoming a parent. I’m afraid that I will get lost. I already feel lost. Like I’m no longer “LaAisha.” While trying to be a great partner to my spouse and the best parent that I can to my children I have found that I have pushed other personal desires to the side. I fear that I will wake up one morning, still a teacher, with only distant, blurry memories of wanting more; yet, with a strong and very present feeling of discontent and resent for my lack of pursuit.
- I wonder about my emotional ability. You will be born in the United Arab Emirates. Same as your sister and brother. Again we are miles, lands, and waters away from our family. There are no such things as mommy and daddy time or just mommy time for that matter. Hence the auto pilot I am assuming. That has to have an effect on my parenting and I’m sorry. I’m very sorry. I am trying to get onto the road of recovery however. I even took a day off work last month just to rest and regroup. I will probably boast of this day for years to come as it was so needed. We are also seeking a nanny. Someone that can help your father and I care for you guys and our home. I think that this will help me in becoming a better mother and wife. I was stubborn about doing it all on my own before but I will tell you that being overly and, at times, unnecessarily independent has its price.
I think that sums up my biggest fears. The others are bit superficial such as hoping that I lose all the weight that I will gain with you along with the leftover weight from my pregnancy with Aaron.
I am happy that you are coming. Despite my roller coaster of emotions and wavering mental state, I do feel blessed about being able to bring you here in August. I know that your being here is God’s will. So while you may not have been in my plans, you are a part of a plan that far exceeds mine. Walk boldly and unashamed in this for the rest of your life. Know that your father has been excited about you since day 1 and that he’s in love with you already. Your sister often points to my stomach/you and ask “what’s that.” The conversation usually ends with her pointing to her stomach and saying “baby.” If she and Aaron understood they would be excited about your joining our family too. Baby #3 we love you deeply. Thanks for allowing us to become a part of you.