Should I be saying "girl", at our age? "Woman" sounds so grown, and I don't feel that way yet. Maybe I never will.
When you told me about the test that you took, the three of them in all, about how you were staring down three pink plus signs, about how you didn't think you could possibly do this, about how alone you would be--and then there was silence on my end, with your tentative, "Jenn?"--I am writing this to tell you what I wanted to say in those moments.
I wanted to tell you that I know that there was a point in my life when you weren't a part of it. That doesn't seem possible now. I wanted to tell you that of my friends, you have been among the most true. I wanted to tell you that I will never forget your kindnesses.
I want to talk to you about that plus sign. I wanted to tell you of the time my sister sat on the edge of my water bed, two days short of sixteen, and told me of her pregnancy. I know you know her son now; I know you know her strength now, and I know that you have that within you.
When you said that you'd be alone--I wanted to talk to you about that. I've been alone and pregnant. I've gone to doctor's appointments and tests alone; I've ridden an elevator to his office on the top floor, where they would tell me whether my child had made it through the night within me, or if she had died. I've delivered a baby that was between life and death for sometime. I've sat in a hospital room alone, sobbing, begging, bartering, multiple times.
This will not be you.
I promise you that I will be there every moment, for every appointment. If I cannot be, I know that you have a network of people that love you as fiercely as I do that will make sure you won't be alone, in the physical sense.
Because you already know that there is the other sense; the sense of being--and there are no words that I can say to promise that I can ease that feeling. If I could, I would do it, but no matter the honesty, you cannot change the truth.
It will be hard. You will think that you cannot do this. You will be shamed when people look to your swollen belly and then your empty ring finger. You've known my shames. None burned so hard as the side-ward glances, the whispers, the forms filled out without a father's name written in, the judgement.
But I wanted to tell you about judgement. That no matter what you feel now, no matter what you will feel when your cheeks are burning and you can't lift the dog food to put in your car and you feel this thing kicking inside of you and you just want it to end--those aren't the judgements that will matter.
The real judgements will happen daily, every time you catch a glance of yourself.
The real judgements will happen the first time your child says, "I love you mommy".
Those are the only judgements that count.
Will people you thought were close to you be some of the ones to bring you pain? Most likely, yes. But you learn who your friends are, and believe me, you will need them, and they will want to be there for you, and you will learn about accepting mercy and kindness, and I know that someday, you will pass those along when you can.
You will feel like a burden. I want you to understand right now, you are not. I want to help you, I want to be there, and I know that others around you will feel the same.
I want you to know that in the dead of the night, when you are lying there alone in your bed, one hand on your stomach, one hand pulling at your hair, your chest heaving with fear and regret and anger, when you are thinking that it is too late in the day, that there is no one that you can call: You are wrong. I am here, and there is no hour, no distance, nothing that will change that.
I am but a heartbeat away; I will always be such, until the day that I die.
I wanted to tell you that there wasn't a lower time in my life than when I carried Little A inside of me. I wanted to tell you that today, there is not a moment that brings me more joy, more love, more happiness--almost beyond what I can physically bear--than when I hear her laughter and feel her head upon my chest.
It will be a path that is not for the weak and weary--and though that is how you will feel--when you are walking it, know that every single step is worth it, a thousand times over.
Mostly, I wanted to say this:
There are few truths without exception.
I want you to know this one:
You are not alone.
I am here.
I will always be here.
I promise you this now, with each reader as my witness.
I will hold your hand and hold your baby and fight your fights and will do so with a heart that is so grateful to have been so fortunate as to have you in my life.
In that silence; that pause; that is what I wanted to say.
Now chin up and face forward, dear one.
All my love, always,