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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Body Language (11/25/10)

TITLE: A New Mother's Letter to Her Child
By Jamie Jones
11/27/10


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When you’re pregnant, you’re told so many different things by everyone you see that it sometimes morphs into an information overload. Your mom will remind you not to hold a new baby too much, because if you do they will never want to be put down. Your sister will tell you to hold them as much as you can and soak it all in, because those newborn days will progress at the speed of light. Then, the complete stranger behind the counter at the gas station will tell you that the best advice she can give you is “Always go with your gut and don’t pay attention to everyone’s know-it-all advice, because only a mother can know what’s right for her baby.” This may be spectacular advice, but again, it is still advice.
Eight weeks ago, I was that pregnant lady listening to complete strangers tell her how to raise her child. Sometimes I listened with ears wide open, as some days I was desperate for guidance. Other days, it was a struggle to maintain a friendly expression and not roll my eyes the way I did as a teen. Still I kept trudging through with my extra forty pounds, smiled and said “thank you” as any polite woman will do.
One word of “advice” I received back then was “Don’t miss her hunger cues”. Even the books devoted to educating clueless pregnant women about babies said this. From what I read, this is what I know; I should look for signals in your body language to tell me when you’re hungry. Crying is the final cue which means I’ve missed all of the other cues completely. Well sweet Sarah…I’ve looked, and looked, and looked…I’ve watched, and watched, and watched…and I’ve got nothing. I have no idea how to read your tiny body’s language. Every time I feed you, you’ve already made me aware of your hunger through your cries. I look at those eyes as you gulp down the formula and silently wonder to myself. Am I doing something wrong? What is it I’m missing here? I cry a silent tear and attempt to pull myself together again.
I never knew that motherhood could be so emotionally overwhelming, but it is the little things such as misinterpreting your body language that can get me bawling in a moment’s notice. My desire to care for you perfectly has existed ever since the second pink line appeared on the stick, but everything I have done since your birth has been the opposite of perfection. I wanted a natural childbirth, but you were born in an operating room via cesarean section. I wanted to breastfeed, failed, and now have to feed you man-made formula that everyone, even the companies that make it, admits isn’t “best”. Your life so far has been full of opposites.
Today, however, as I watch you lying on the floor for your daily dose of “tummy time”, I am deciding to make a change. I will no longer be so hard on myself. I will not lie awake at night agonizing over feeding you formula. I will not get mad at myself every time that I yet again miss your hunger cues, and find myself rushing around to mix your bottle before your screams grow loud enough to awaken the neighbors. I will not over analyze everything I ever do, because as I watch you now, I’ve realized one imperfect thing.
I wanted to be a perfect mommy. I’m not. I wanted to always get it right. I won’t. You will be a formula fed baby. I don’t understand your body language. However, there is one thing I can give you that can never be a new mommy’s “oops.” The one thing I can give you every day of my life…more important than breast milk, more important than following any of the advice I received…is my love. My love is not perfect, but it is true, it is yours, and it will always be here. I love you…more than I dreamed, more than I imagined I could, more than any silly idea of being perfect. My imperfect love is what you get. I hope you’ll love me to.
When you’re grown and carrying a child of your own, I will try my best not to offer unsolicited advice. Though, if I say anything, it will be this: Love is the only thing you need to take care of your baby. Everything else will be just fine.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull12/02/10
A very nice letter, and one that I can identify with. As a young mother, I was flooded with advice, and found myself on my knees so many times, just pleading for God's guidance. God is good, and I am proud of that little baby girl, and she has reached 60 yrs. in age.
diana kay12/03/10
a lovely piece and full of things that many can relate to....including me.:-)
It is a long article and if you space your paragraphs it will make for easier reading. Look forward to reading more about how this young mum gets on..... remember that in babies crying itself is a form of langua.ge so dont worry if she cries
Dolores Stohler12/03/10
Wow! What a wonderful take on body language! I'll bet every mother can indentify with your article. We mothers want to do everything right but often haven't a clue. The problem is that each child has a different personality and is not an extension of us. I have four kids and nine grandkids so I know this to be true.
Lillian Rhoades 12/05/10
If this is a true story, what a great keepsake for your child to have when she becomes a mother! Without reading the title, I would not at the beginning realize this was a letter. Perhaps, some sort of salutation would correct that. Ex. Dearest...

Did you mean to use "I" and "her" in the first sentence of the second paragraph. I was somewhat confused about that, as well, as in another section where you used "I" and "Your." As someone has already noted, space your paragraphs for easier reading.

Sounds like you've learned an invaluable lesson to pass along to your child. Keep writing
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/05/10
This is beautiful. You are so right it is tough beings mother and it takes time to learn your baby's cues but love is the best thing you can do. Every parent makes mistakes and learns as the child grows. This is a beautiful love letter.
Nancy Bucca 12/06/10
This is a piece I think every mother can relate to. I remember well how much I relied on other people's well meaning advice those days, regret taking their words way too seriously, and by God's grace have learned that every mom makes mistakes. All we can do is try to listen to that "still small voice" and go from there. Thank you this message!
Brenda Rice 12/08/10
Your letter is full of familiar things to all mothers I'm sure. I would suggest using a space between paragraphs to make reading easier. I enjoyed this. Thanks.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/09/10
Congratulations on your placing in level 1. You did a great job