Saying Yes to the Mess: a letter to my son

You have been around for seven months and this is the first time I am getting around to writing in your baby book because, well, new beginnings are hard.

Filling out this baby book is particularly hard because it wants a nice, tidy storyline. You know, the kind that can easily be penned on ‘fill-in-the-blank’ lines from prewritten prompts such as:

“When your parents first met, we_____”

“We knew we were ready for you when_____”

“When we found we were expecting you, we celebrated by_____”

Look, I can’t answer these questions. Our life doesn’t follow this script. There are not enough lines in this whole book to do your beginning justice. After staring blankly at the first page for several minutes, I got flustered and ripped it out. In its place, I’ll insert this first life lesson for you:

It’s all messy—life, words, love, hair, bed, heart. All of it.

Here’s the thing, baby boy. When your parents first met, we started down a long, hard road to heartbreak. We were never ready for you. You were, quite frankly, a big oops. When we found out we were expecting you, we lied down in a dark room for hours and cried guttural, ugly, “my life is over” cries. This is not exactly the heartwarming sequence of events I would like to recount on the pages of a book decorated with tiny, smiling clouds and animals, but this is how your story starts.

My love, when your life goes off script (not if, when, because at some point it will) and you find yourself playing an unexpected part or trying to navigate an epic plot twist, own it. If there is anything that life and a love for stories has taught me, it is this: the messy, the mistake, the imperfection of the thing…that is what creates the beauty of it.

Someone asked me the other day if I could imagine my life before you. I laughed. “Oh yes, definitely,” I told her. I paused for a moment and then finished, “…but I can’t imagine my life without him now.”

That is the magic of the mess. The tears I shed the night I learned of your impending arrival were real and warranted. My life as I knew it was over and I had every right to grieve it’s sudden, unexpected finale. But the thing that you think will ruin your life is actually what transforms it. The end of one thing is always the beginning of something else. Saying yes to the unknown, saying yes to the hard thing, even when I’ve had to drag my own feet (or, in this case, grow my own belly) has only ever resulted in various forms of goodness and growth.

Your beginning was complicated and hard, unexpected and initially uncelebrated, but you were an epic plot twist that I owned. You are a change that I still choose to embrace with each new day.

This is the part of the letter where I feel like I should elaborate on all the ways I have become a better person and how you’ve transformed my life and made it so wonderful. Instead, I’m going to admit that I’m still learning and uncovering those things while being very tired, consumed by your spirited energy and trying to take care of both of us.

On really hard days, I remember that the goodness of you, the ways that you grow and cause me to do the same, will only enhance my story. I know that saying yes to you will impact me in ways I cannot yet fathom. I wait with great anticipation to see the beauty of our story, of your story, unfold. I promise to always try and find the magic in the messes you will make.




Photo credit: Ivory House Photography

Hello, Again

The last time I wrote was in July.


Although, not writing since July was a very intentional decision. A surprise pregnancy with my ex-husband who was working half way across the world at the time was too big and life changing for words. It’s overwhelmingness left me unable to focus on anything else, either. So, I stopped with the self-reflection. I just lived with this growing reality (literally).


For me, pregnancy was not a glowy situation. It meant being exhausted, nauseous, and constipated. I had round ligament pains and leg cramps that made me wish I was dead. Because I had a vasa previa (a condition occuring in 1 of every 2,500 pregnancies), I was on partial bedrest for half of it, which only made me feel more gross. I was in the hospital/NICU for 5 weeks, had to give up my drug-free/birth center plan for a c-section, and ended up getting mastitis in both breasts and the flu the week we brought Milo home. I recognize how fortunate I am (because, hey, even worse things could’ve happened), but it was a time full of complications on multiple levels. My support system got me through it. I suppose I should give myself some credit, too. After all, I worked hard these past few years to say yes to hard things, surrender to unknowns, be fierce in the face of change, and expectant of the good that will come. One day, maybe I’ll look back and think life was preparing me for this all along.

But today is not that day. Today, yesterday, tomorrow…these are the days of working a full time job while sleep deprived. Of feeling like your body belongs to everyone but you. Of having 2 hours free and feeling absolutely paralyzed about whether to spend it cleaning the kitchen, grabbing dinner with a friend, finally taking the box of clothes that has been sitting by the door for a month to the consignment store, going to a yoga class, actually writing in the baby book, cutting your fingernails and shaving your legs, working on your side hustle that is one day supposed to be your dream job, or playing with your baby that you don’t see all day (and then second guessing whichever one you chose to do). Yes, these are the days of feeling like a shitty friend because you always forget to call or text back. Of falling asleep at 8 pm on a Friday night with a bag of m&ms and spit up in your hair. These are the days you don’t know what is happening. You just live with this growing reality (literally).

Any time I go to my phone or computer seeking insight on how to achieve some sort of balance for ‘these days’, I am overwhelmed. The mommy blogs, podcasts, forums, Facebook groups. AH! There is too much information available for the infinite number of ways there is to do everything related to raising a person. Additionally, it seems like I always see a raw, relatable essay on the messiness of newborn life coupled with a perfectly curated Instagram feed or I’m supposed to follow someone’s post partum workout journey with their portion controlled containers to “get my body back” but also be super feminist and body-positive about the changes I just went through. I don’t have a point to make here other than it’s annoying.

I don’t understand how having a child changes everything, except that it does. I have this inner resistence to the lack of control I have over this change. In some ways, I had just gotten to know myself and now I’m afraid of losing myself completely in a world that revolves around someone else. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not yet. Not like this.

But it did. And now I have a 13 pound chunk of cute, rolly flesh that smiles at me every morning in complete obilvion to the fact that he ruined and enhanced everything with one swift many tiny kicks.

I’m only 4 months in and learning that this part of life is about holding and balancing just as much a paradox as all the other parts. There’s the feeling of intense pain that comes when he latches onto my cracked, sore nipples but then there’s the feeling of peace that settles over me as I watch him sleep on my chest. There’s a lack of freedom to live life the way I used to, but an abundance of wonder at all the new feelings and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m not happy, but I’m not unhappy. I sleep way less but find more energy to do what I need to. Which means, I suppose I can understand how one can work for a sculpted core but be proud of the stretch marks on it. Or write about the hard and messy, but capture the clean and beautiful.

And no matter how contradictory or confusing life becomes, no matter how unaccomplished and unbalanced I may feel, I can always remind myself that I grew this…


to this…


exclusively with my body. That is power.