Hi, Mom,

I distinctly remember where you were seated as I relayed the news of my pregnancy with Sanderling. We were in your home on Cape Cod, dropping the girls off for a weekend of Camp Momar & Doda while James and I attended a wedding in Chicago. It was mid-July. We had only just learned of the pregnancy the weekend or so prior over the 4th of July holiday

We waited to share the news with you in person, to enjoy the full impact of your joy and celebration. We were seated across from one another on the couches in your living room. As the words fell from my mouth, you leapt to your feet shrieking, “I thought it was time for another baby!!!!” before wrapping me in one of your signature overly-ambitious embraces.

Your enthusiasm and joy was palpable. I felt so loved. So safe. So sure. In that moment, with my mother hugging me in her exaltation, everything was going to be okay.

In the early stages of my pregnancy with Sunny, during a weepy, insecure moment over the phone, you sympathized deeply. “Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time, sweetie. Be gentle with yourself. Everything can feel so scary and overwhelming and unsettled. Let your family help you feel safe.”

I reflect back on those words now as I so desperately crave your reassurance. And love. And joy. And promise that it will be okay. That I am safe. That this baby is safe.

I’m expecting your fourth grandchild and it is impossibly unfair that I don’t get to share this news with you. That I don’t get to physically experience your excitement and concern. Your mother’s love.

No one has welcomed the news with the enthusiasm and readiness you would have had available in excess. I’ve even felt judgement, or at best, restrained congratulations, from many. Four must seem excessive. But it’s not their lives, or their business, and yet, it hurts.  It’s hard enough to have to live in a world where you don’t get to share in this experience with me than to also have to face cool detachment from those I love. If you were here, you’d help mediate and soften those hard feelings. You’d help protect me in my most vulnerable state and reassure me that this baby was meant to be. And that it was going to be fucking amazing.

James and I weren’t sure we wanted a fourth child. It was always a possibility after Sander’s pregnancy, as you knew how worried I was about the dynamics of a family of three. Always an odd man out.

But we had settled in to a nice rhythm with the kids, and while pregnancy had been a distinct possibility since the spring, month after month my period arrived. After six months, James and I felt like it was time to call it. I didn’t want this to be an open-ended possibility that could occur at any moment. If it wasn’t meant to be, then it wasn’t meant to be. We were so fortunate to have our three, healthy, growing children. We did not need a fourth. After many a discussion with our therapist, I scheduled my yearly check-up with my midwives and told them I was ready to have a IUD reinserted. At that appointment, I relayed that there was of course the possibility that that month I had gotten pregnant. My period was due on Saturday and it was only Thursday. They did a pregnancy test in the office and it came back “negative.” I felt the weight of that news sink in. I was done with this remarkable period of my life. My IUD appointment was thus scheduled for the following Tuesday morning.

But then Saturday came and went with no period. And Sunday. Finally on Monday, I bought an over the counter test and a very very faint line appeared on the stick Tuesday morning. I called my midwives to have them cancel the appointment. Sudden change of plans.

When James shared the news with his parents, his mother’s first reaction was “Allison knew it! She whispered to me at Courtland’s 4th birthday party that she knew you were going to have four children because of Sanderling’s pregnancy. She was so certain of it.”

It’s comforting to think that you, The Universe, fate, intervened at the last minute and made this baby possible. That this was indeed meant to be. And that James and I, however fucking batshit crazy our lives are going to become, will do this with as much grace and good humor as we can possibly muster.

And even if it’s not some cosmic intervention, I find deep comfort in knowing that you, on some level, knew that this baby was going to be a part of our lives. That while I’ll never experience the full impact of sharing the news with you in person, that you knew. That you know. And that you are jumping up and down in the cosmos shrieking, “I thought it was time for another baby!”

Another baby who will share a piece of her Momar. There’s no greater comfort than that.

143 Your Ashley




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