Wednesday, December 21, 2016

to my last baby on my last day of maternity leave

Dear Etta,

Tomorrow I go back to work for the first time since you were born. I am much more nervous about it than I was with your brother and sister and I'm not exactly sure why. We have been so spoiled being able to spend this time as a family - a time when magic is in the air and everyone is feeling festive and full of love. Your brother and sister adore you and I have loved every second of being able to watch them interact with you.

I would be doing us a disservice if I said the past five and a half weeks have been nothing but pure newborn-loving bliss. We have struggled immensely. You do not sleep. You always want to be held. I am trying my hardest to meet your demands, but unfortunately your siblings need these tired arms, too. However, I know that when I look back on this time I will regret not cuddling you more and not being more patient when you were up half the night. You are my baby and you needed me and I wasn't always the best at being a good mom to you. I'm so sorry.

I regret that I have to leave you, especially so soon, but at the same time - I need to. Not just from a financial perspective but for myself. I really enjoy my career. I enjoy contributing to the workforce. Being away truly makes me a better mom to you and your siblings because I cherish our time together that much more. The 'break' from being a mom helps me to be a better one when I am here. Writing that out feels brutal. The guilt is so strong. But I want to be an example, especially to you and Edith. I want you to know that you are a capable and strong woman. You can be a trailblazer and an earth mover and there is no shame in that. You can choose to have kids or you can choose not to. You can choose to have kids and a career, or you can choose not to. What works best for one person isn't necessarily what will work best for you. But the path you choose is yours and yours alone to dictate. If you want to be a career woman that is wonderful. If you want to stay home to raise kids that is wonderful, too. But the fact is this: you are strong, intelligent, and capable. Don't let the world tell you otherwise.

I love you. I love you so much more than I could ever explain.

Mom

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