Three truths my daughter has taught me (in just six weeks of life)


Tomorrow my daughter is six weeks old. When we were together as a family of four in that ultrasound room six months ago, I was a mother of boys. A seemingly insignificant detail, until the moment a nameless, smiling face remarked, “It’s a girl.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as my husband turned toward me, his own tears shining in his smiling eyes, grasping my hand with an affirmative squeeze that said, “This is exactly what we have hoped for.”

What would he have thought, had he seen past my trembling smile? What might he have said, had he known that my tears of joy were overpowered by tears of trepidation? What might have occurred, had I revealed the apprehension racing through my mind?

What if she is exactly like me?

Not the pieces of me that I’ve carefully constructed, which have led me through the world thus far: my laugh that can brighten a room, my hands that have nurtured tiny babes, my heart that loves without ceasing. What if she were given the dim and guarded pieces, those that linger somewhere within the deepest recesses of my spirit, occasionally rising to the surface, most unexpectedly, like a fog you might awake to on crisp, grey, autumn morning? What if she inherited the child in me, who desperately sought perfection, or the teenager who couldn’t ever quite find self acceptance?

What if she one day found herself standing before the mirror, only able to see a flawed effigy of what a woman is supposed to be?

Oh, what if she were all of these things, and how could I possibly save her?

Four months later, she arrived. No fear or quaking of mine would stop her. While the delicate petals of all that she is, and all that she might be,  are knowingly waiting to unfurl their beauty, her blossoming presence has allowed me to reflect upon all that I am {and all that I can be.} And in our hours of lying together, heartbeat resting upon heartbeat, she has revealed truths in the most purposive of ways. Truths that I must acknowledge, if I am to be a mother to this daughter of mine:

1. I will teach her to love herself only by loving myself.

From the newfound stretch marks that have painted my belly, to the extra pounds that have stubbornly hugged onto my hips; from the anxious thoughts that are ever-persistent in my mind, to my crooked front teeth which, far too many times, have shied away my smile; from past mistakes, guilt and shame, to all of the fears I cannot fully name: because they are mine, I will accept every piece as divine.  I embrace what might grow to be crooked or grow to be heavy, what might come to be broken and pieced back together; I embrace it all with the same unwavering love with which I enfold my daughter. Encompassed by this love so accepting, perhaps she will feel it, too, and always see herself just as I see her now: wonderfully, perfectly made.

2. I must face all that I fear, if she is to be fearless.

The unwritten words, untraveled paths, gifts of reverence left unopened; how is it that I might convince her that the world is hers to seize if I have left so many of my own entrances obstructed? And let me be clear: I will not encourage any further commiseration on feeling as though the life we choose to live is unworthy,  because if there is one thing I need her to know it is that we are enough. Yet I refuse to waste one more minute of my life on doubt or fear of failure. And if she is to see me fail, at least she will have seen me try.

3I cannot prevent the heartache which will one day confront her.

For now my arms and my love are enough to protect her. Even as I write this in the quiet of the night, her beckoning cries can be comforted by my gentle voice, gentle rocking. Yet all the gentleness in this world cannot shield her from that which will, in time, shatter her heart. I will not always be able to stitch back to wholeness what was broken, vulnerable, raw. But I can show her what resiliency looks like. I can show her my scars and my tears, tell her my stories with honesty, and tell her the stories of those who came before us; and she will know that we somehow survive.

“It’s a girl,” I was told.  I did not know how that girl would change my whole world. And with each day that we share, my daughter and I, I am learning to be the girl who is exactly like me.




2 thoughts on “Three truths my daughter has taught me (in just six weeks of life)

  1. Beautifully said and beautifully shared, warming my heart as I get to know you even more fully. Blessings to you and your precious Lyric (and those boisterous, and yes “beautiful” boys), much love, “mom”


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