It was suggested to me that I write my baby a letter before she was born.
I’ve been procrastinating, because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m going to try now.
The first thing I want to tell you is that I have wanted you for a very long time.
Family is everything to me. It took me a long time to realize that, though. I used to be a professor. I spent 14 years trying to get there. And then I realized that if I kept going that route, I wouldn’t be there for my parents when they needed me, and I might never meet your dad, and I wouldn’t have you. So, like my own mother, I gave up a big dream–and I have no regrets. Neglect your career if you have to, but never neglect love.
I don’t want this letter to be all about me. It’s just that I can’t see you right now; I can only feel you wiggle and kick. I did see your face on the 4D ultrasound. You look like your cousin! She’s a smart cookie. I think you will be one too. I have some intuition that you are very sweet. I can’t wait to meet you.
I worry sometimes that I will impose my own dreams and worldview on you. Don’t let me do that. You have to be free to be yourself. I am not religious but your father is. You find your own path. Don’t let me be too aloof and indifferent either.
I was frantic to have you fast so that you could know your grandparents and your grandmother particularly after she got cancer. I never was able to know any of my grandparents. I am sorry that you will only ever know her after the cancer. She was much more vibrant and younger before; I hope she someday fully recovers from the treatment (and I also hope that the cancer never comes back.) Sometimes I wish I’d had you at 24 instead of 34. I’ll be a better mom, but you won’t have me, or my parents, as long. That hurts.
I’ve tried to pick your name carefully. As per Indian tradition, I’m going to let you have your father’s first and last names for your middle and last names. That means you and I will have different last names–maybe I’ll change mine someday. First I thought it was awfully sexist that the woman carries the baby around for nine months and goes through a lot of pain and discomfort to give birth, and the baby takes the dad’s name. Then when I thought about it some more–that’s exactly the reason the father’s name is attached–that way he becomes invested too.
I was worried for you when I found out you were a girl. Your life will be harder and it will be harder to balance your career with family. I hope I can help you steer around some of the pitfalls. Please listen to me; I wish I’d listened to my mom.
Try to marry young–it gives you more life options as far as who you marry, and when you have kids. Marry someone supportive of your career and dreams. It’s harder than it sounds. I hope you are pretty; I mean, I couldn’t care less, but if you are it may make your life easier. I’ve never cared much about my looks. It’s made my life harder and I hope I don’t pass that down to you.
And don’t be scared. Don’t ever be shy or intimidated because you are a minority and a woman. Be outgoing if you can; be social and be assertive. Don’t be like me–be self-confident. I hope your dad and I earn enough that you never feel limited by money or social class.
Anyway, I guess that is enough for now. I am sitting here waiting for you. If you come out, I can cuddle you, so I hope that is some incentive.