Week 08 - Maintaining Identity

Dear Baby,

There were moments during your time in the womb—and I know this will be hard for you to believe, especially given all the gushing I’ve done in these letters to you so far—that you were actually the furthest thing from my mind. This is not to say that I ever stopped loving you. It’s merely to say that parents have lives outside of their lives as fathers and mothers, that, though their children will always be important to them, it’s crucial that they maintain an identity outside of their role as “daddy” or “mommy”.

If you were to peruse my own personal journal entries for this week, you would find nary a mention of babies or pregnancy. Instead, you would find me babbling about haircuts and hot dog eating contests, web pages and the World Series. And this, this newfound ability to focus on other things, was only possible because of something I learned about you this week: you’re a person all your own, too. You are you, and it’s important that I realize that, aside from being my son or daughter, you will always be your own person as well. Just as you must accept that there are parts of your dad that have nothing to do with you, I must accept that there are parts of you that will never have anything to do with me.

And it’s better that we both learn this sooner, rather than later. Because, let’s face it, there’s little I could have done at this point to help you grow fingers and toes, or eyelids, for that matter (all of which were forming this week). And there’s little that you could have done to calm my nerves as I worried about your well-being, short of psychically projecting your mellow fetal thoughts out into my panicky adult brain.

It was really quite silly for me to be worrying so much about you when you had already proven you were quite capable of handling the business of gestation all by yourself. So, I let my mind drift to other things. And that’s just that.

But don’t worry—there would be many more moments during your time in your mother’s womb where I would be focused solely, insanely, on you. It’s just that this week I let you have your space. Practice, I considered it, for your rebelious teenage years, when you would long to spend as little time with me as possible.

Love, Dad