Friday, March 11, 2011

A letter to my daughter

Dear Hannah Mae,

In just a few short weeks, we will be celebrating your 1st birthday! Your first year in our arms has been a whirlwind of joy and wonderment. I know every parent says this, but I can hardly believe how fast you are growing up!

I have to be honest and tell you that one year ago, in my last weeks of pregnancy I was miserable. And terrified. I had so much fear and anxiety that you would not be born alive and healthy. But you were! Four weeks and four days early, 4 lbs 6 oz. and all beauty and perfection.
I was in labor for a few hours when it was discovered that you had turned sideways! In a flash, I was wheeled down the hallway to have a c-section. Those last few moments of being pregnant were scary, but there was nothing like the joy of hearing your first cries. You were born crying early in the afternoon of April 27, 2010. But you already knew that.

Some things you may not know…

The sweet innocence and vulnerability that oozed from every inch of your little body didn't captivate me, they paralyzed me. I was terrified of loving you the way my heart ached to love you. Most nights, I would struggle to fall asleep only to wake up in a panic wondering where you were and if you were okay. It is strange to say this, but I found myself longing to be pregnant with you again. My heart felt raw and vulnerable, like it was walking around on the outside of my body with nothing to keep it safe. 

Just two and a half years before your joyous birth, your big brother was born silently into our arms. Our hearts have not forgotten the pain of his death.

But here you were… finally in our arms and I was still terrified of losing you. Dear sweet Hannah Mae, it pains me to reveal the darkness of those early days. I struggled to keep my heart open to you. Almost every moment during that time, the fears crept in to steal and destroy our joy in having you in our arms.

They almost won.

And still, sometimes in the deep of the night when you’re sleeping so peacefully in your room, my mind wanders to the dark places and I’m afraid of the worst happening again.

But God has revealed a deeper understanding of His love to us through this struggle. My heart is open. I love you with my whole heart. If there’s one thing I can pass onto you it is to love now, Hannah Mae. Love now, deeply and with your whole heart. Your Father in Heaven has given us the freedom, the courage and the ability to love fully because we have His love. His full, undivided and perfect love.
It is through His example of perfect love that we can love. He’s not waiting until Glory to love us; He’s not waiting on anything. He just loves us- right here, right now.

There is so much freedom in the Gospel, baby girl. I pray that you cling to the Truth when the fears and doubts creep in. Don't look to me as an example- I am hardly worthy. Jesus has given us a perfect example of perfect love and I can only point to Him. When the fears and the dark of night feel overwhelming, come and sit with me and I'll whisper in your ear what He whispers to me...
Don't be afraid, sweet Hannah Mae. Love now.

Loving you deeply and with my whole heart,


Tonya said...

Beautiful Ebe. Love you!

Open Air said...

I love your letter to Hannah Mae. When you said you struggled to keep your heart open to her it really spoke to me. This week, as I was contemplating the waiting period in adoption, I was wondering how I will possibly open my heart to a baby when I know that any time during the first 2-6 weeks, that baby could be taken away. Like you, I want to keep my heart open, but after loss, it is so, so hard to believe for the good that God says He has in store. "Loving now," as you say, is really the only way to do it.

Kim Hammans said...

Elizabeth this is so beautiful. What a lovely gift you are giving your daughter-- thank you for sharing with us.