A letter to the child I may never have

(I wrote this a few months ago at the suggestion of the therapist I was seeing then.  It helped a lot and I’ll write soon about some thoughts I’ve had about this letter since writing it.)

I have wanted you and waited for you for so long.  My whole life I have imagined what it would be like to have you by my side, what I would teach you, if you would be like me.  It seems like my whole life had been moving toward the day I could finally meet you–until it became clear that I may never meet you, that you may never come to be.

The pain of losing you is greater than if I were to lose any number of people from my present or my past–because you are my future and my purpose.  I don’t just long to hold a baby in my arms–I also long to walk you to school, to help you host sleepovers, to watch you turn into an adult (and a friend?).

The rest of my life feels so empty without you in it.   You gave me hope many times when I felt discouraged in my marriage–that perhaps you were the reason we were together and that you would make all the difficulties worth it, someday.

I know now that I put way too much upon your shoulders.  Sometimes, in the deepest, most secret parts of me I think it may be best that you don’t come, that _____ and I are in no shape to be parents and may never be.  But whenever I think that, I get so overwhelmed by grief and such a strong yearning for you.

You have been the meaning in my life–my reason to keep going.  You were going to be the person I could love and take care of.  Through you I was going to repair so much of the damage of my own childhood.  I was going to do it right with you.

I’m so sorry for all of that.  It was way too much to put on you, way too much to expect from a baby, a child, an adolescent, an adult.

Despite all of that, I do believe that I would have been a wonderful mother to you.  I would have showered you with so much love and acceptance.  I want you here so bad, it often feels like you’ve been ripped from my arms and I can almost feel you there still.

One of the hardest things about grieving for you is that it is such an invisible grief.  I have no pictures, no memories, no name.  Most people have no idea that my hopes for you exist, and those that do don’t have any idea how much I think about you and how much of my  life’s energy goes to you.  I am alone in my grief for you.  I don’t believe that I will ever stop longing for you.

But I want to.  I want to be able to let you go (where will you go to?).  I want to find my purpose and to find my meaning without you.  I want to heal and know happiness.  I want to see children without thinking only and always of you.  I don’t know what my journey will look like.  I am so frightened.  I want and hope to find my meaning and purpose and healing so that my future will be free.  So that if you come I can love you purely–and if you don’t I can be okay–or more than okay.

I have so much love to give.  I have hoped and ached to give it to you.  I know I can still give it, even if you will never come.  I feel like I’m missing so much by not knowing you–not having you to be mine.  Maybe I would be missing out on much more if you had come right away.  And maybe you would have missed out, also.  By not getting to be your mom right now, or ever, I believe I am becoming a better person, and maybe a better potential mom for you or someone else.

But I still miss you every day.

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4 responses to “A letter to the child I may never have

  1. It sounds like you have grown a lot through this process, and that you’ll be a very different mother when your child does finally arrive than you would have been had he/she come immediately.

    Isn’t it amazing how much we can love something that only exists in our imaginations?

  2. What a beautiful and heartfelt letter. So much of it resonates with me – especially the part about grieving something that is so real yet so intangible to others – sometimes even those closest to us.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Thanks for sharing this letter. You will be a mother someday, you know? Don’t forget that. I repeat it like a mantra. Hope you’re doing well…

  4. This was lovely — thank you for sharing it. I can relate to these feelings, the longing and the waiting and the hoping that I’ll be okay (or better) no matter what happens.

    I do believe that we’ll be mothers someday, it is just that our paths are undefined. And the dreamer / optimist in me believes that there might be a reason for this, that there is one child out there who needs *me* and I just haven’t found the right path yet.

    PS
    thanks for your comments on my blog. I’m a little behind but catching up now that the weekend is nearing.

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