Dearest Natalie,

From the time I found out I was pregnant…well, I was a pretty freaked out. And not the typical “OMG is this really happening???” freaked out, but the “Holy S*#+, there’s something inside me!!!” freaked out. But after 7 home pregnancy tests and 2 doctors visits (with different doctors), I finally believed you were real. Once I calmed down, I loved you.

My pregnancy with you was smooth sailing. The only issue I had was wanting to sleep ALL DAY LONG (I don’t consider the daily Kit-Kat bar and intense craving for watermelon an issue). Other than that, you hung out in my belly, keeping me company, while never making a fuss. You were born in what we now know is your true nature–quick, fast, and in a hurry. I was supposed to have Cervidil for 12 hours and Pitocin the next day, but you decided when it was time. You were born, from start to finish, in 10 hours and 10 minutes, with me only pushing for 15 of those minutes.

When you came out with your head held high and your lungs on full blast, I thought I’d know exactly what to say and that I’d have that motherly instinct to hold you close and cry. Instead, I kept staring at you wondering how these medical professionals could leave this extremely fragile being with me. What are they thinking!? I stayed in the hospital an extra day because I was terrified (and the pain in my vagina was something no one warned me about).

You proved to the world that big gifts do come in small packages. I never understood how intense this love could be, but I would fly to the moon for you. You’ve made me face some demons in my life that I thought I could bury forever but am open and willing to deal with to be a better person for you. You’ve taught me how the unconditional love God has for His children feels. And now I know how easy it is to throw baby pictures and stories into any and every conversation.

I am honored to be your mommy. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn with you and find my purpose while helping guide you toward yours. I don’t think anyone can ever be fully ready for a baby, but you’ve made it pretty easy. In my motherhood journey I’m working on being the best mommy I can be for you. I’m learning how to love myself so that I can model self-loving behaviors for you. I want you always to know that you can always be yourself no matter who’s around. I want you to do what feels right for you in your life.

MY COMMITMENT TO YOU:

I PROMISE to do my best in everything I try.

I PROMISEto parent consciously, especially in those challenging situations (like when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs in the grocery store).

I PROMISE to allow you to experience life, while not pressuring you to follow the path I may want for you.

I PROMISE to let you mess up and make mistakes.

I PROMISE to take care of and love myself.

I PROMISE to love you unconditionally even when you do something that upsets me.

I PROMISE to show my emotions to model healthy emotional responses.

I PROMISE to occasionally embarrass you in front of your friends to give you funny stories to laugh about later.

I PROMISE to teach you about God and not get in the way of your God-given purpose.

I PROMISE to feed you healthy foods as often as I can to fuel your body and mind.

I PROMISEto be silly and playful with you to show you that it’s okay to be yourself.

I PROMISE to learn from you and admit when I’m wrong.

I PROMISE to put you before work.

I PROMISE to put effort into my marriage to your father to model healthy family values.

I PROMISE to let you be the Natalie you are meant to be.

I PROMISE to do my best to keep all of my promises.

I didn’t know my strength and potential until you came. You have given me a newfound joy and mindset about life that I never thought I’d reach. Parenting has not been easy, but your laugh, smile, hugs, kisses, and the array of silly faces make it all worth it. Trust me when I say I am going to make you proud.

Now that you’re one, I can’t believe how far we’ve come, and I can’t wait to see how far we can go. As I always say, if you didn’t have to be a productive member of society I would never put you down. But I know you’re destined for greatness because you are God’s child.

My love for you runs deeper than I ever could have imagined, and I can’t wait to celebrate you today.

With all the love in the world,

4 Replies to “Happy Birthday, Baby!”

  1. Such a sweet idea! I wish I had gotten around to writing my daughter a letter on her first birthday like I wanted too, but she turns three in December, and time has sure flown by! Maybe I will just have to settle with writing a letter to her three year old self that she can read when she gets older.

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