Dear Charlotte

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Dear Charlotte,

It’s your birthday. At this exact time last year I was nearing my 30th hour of hard labor anxiously hoping you and I both would make it through alive. (Spoiler alert: we do) Frankly, I know you couldn’t care less. Your first birthday is a big deal, not just because you are one and now technically a toddler. But because even though she didn’t mean it, when your sister was born she tore me apart. Physically and emotionally. And when you were born you put me back together.

Having Emily felt like having something inside of me broken, some unknown unnamed body part that remained fractured for five long years. The story of Emily’s birth is long and traumatizing, I still can’t think about it without crying. If you want to hear it some day I will tell you, but today is about you. I know I didn’t trust you or myself for our first nine months. But we made it through, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be with you for your very first minutes top-side my womb. You and I were both not doing well and the doctor was worried that if we didn’t get you out fast and soon that we might lose you. Even though that sounds scary – it was actually extraordinarily empowering.

I found my voice when I found you. I made the decisions and I watched as our medical team listened. I fought for us and I won. You can’t imagine yet how powerful that is. From that moment on you’ve been healing me. You’ve taught me that I am not a failure, that fracture that your sister and our lost little baby left inside me raw and festering was finally closed. Sometimes I feel sad that I am not the same mom I am to Emily that I am to you. She and I forged a different relationship that is really only now beginning to heal. We have you to thank for that as well.

So today I wish you the joy you have given me. I wish you the peace of heart. I wish for you to always feel as whole as you have made me. I hope that your gentle spirit grows with you forever.

One day when you are 10 or 12 or 20 I will give you the hardest longest hug. And when you look at me with a smile or annoyance or love, I will remind you of this day.

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