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An open letter to my newborn daughter

Dear M,

You will read this when you are much, much older and able to understand. I just thought it all needed to be said in the meantime.

I am home alone, waiting until tomorrow morning when I can go see you and your other Mom, Jen, in the hospital. You are both to stay there until Sunday, when Jen’s incision has healed enough for her to come home. It’s been a rough couple of days for all three of us and I am so tired. At the same time, I have never been happier.

You were born 24 hours ago after a hellacious induced labor and eventual c-section. Jen and I were holding hands in fearful anticipation; suddenly, you drew your first breath and let loose a gorgeous angry cry from behind a thicket of medical attendants. Although Jen was in a cloud of painkillers on the operating table, she immediately started crying tears of joy. I had been crying already, so I just sobbed harder. So happy.

The fact that I’d ended up here was a miracle: I had long ago given up the idea of ever becoming a mother.

When I was in my twenties, I imagined myself having a few kids once I’d become world-famous and rich. I never managed to actually date (except for that one crazy lady) and besides, I dreamt the decade away. In my thirties, bad choices, bad relationships, and a stout case of self-absorption all contributed to one incredibly lonely little lifelette. I thought I had it made, free from all those silly dreams; meeting Jen revealed the error in my thinking. I was so wrapped up in my tiny world that it actually took me a couple of months to realize we were going out on dates. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but suffice it to say I had never been head over heels in love before I met your Mom.

Jen and I have been anticipating your arrival in our own ways: she has been cleaning every inch of the apartment and freezing homemade food. I have been waking up several times during the night to snack on said food for months–hence the 12 pounds I gained in honor of Jen’s pregnancy. I have to admit I’ve been a little scared. I never spent much time around babies, what if I break you? And will my life and career be forever altered like everyone, and I do mean everyone, has been telling me? Oh God, what the hell was I thinking??

After your cry in the operating room, an attendant hurriedly congratulated me and handed you over. Your eyes were open, although obscured somewhat by the ointment that had been applied for some reason I should have read about during the last 9 months. You craned your little head towards me when I spoke and you looked me right in the eye. My heart, my heart had no idea what hit it, actually. I’d say it melted, but that would just not really give you due credit: it vaporized and reformed, it evolved after a short trip to another time/space continuum, it got bigger, better, stronger. In one bright and seamless moment, my love for you became the most exceptional thing about me…

You? You blinked twice and looked towards Jen’s cooing, demonstrating your precocious curiosity and charm.

Although I am two subway stops away from both of you on this starless December evening, I can feel myself stepping up to the task, hand-in-hand with Jen. All my fears dribble away like so much rain water and I am left resolved and firm with this lovely, shining new purpose. Around us are the other thousands of new parents in Brooklyn: we are all joining in a silent paean of welcome and awe: whatever it takes, little one. Whatever it takes to get you started safely on your path, we will do.

I love you,

Filed under: Writing


I am Libby Clarke, an artist, designer and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. I operate under the name Monstress, which actually started out as my zine label in 1997. Since then, it has grown to encompass all my efforts.


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