I’ve been rehearsing what I want to say to you for years. In just over a month, you’ll be turning three, and so many of your peers are starting to acquire baby sisters and brothers, and I wonder when you’ll start to ask about your own baby brother or sister. I worry that one day, I’ll have to answer the question, “Why don’t I have one of those?”
And so I’ve been rehearsing.
But today I thought I’d write it down. Because, my lovely boy, it’s not a simple answer. Before you were born, I never planned for you to be the only one. I always envisioned you as a big brother. I always thought I would have two because I loved growing up with a sister and I wanted you to experience that too.
And I’m not even really sure how to explain to you why you won’t have a sibling without it all sounding very selfish. And maybe it is. But the truth is, sweet pea, I just don’t think I can do it again.
When you were born, it was hard. Way harder than I expected it to be, and that probably has a lot to do with how sad I was in the year after you were born. You were so amazing, and we couldn’t believe you were actually here with us – but I was still sad.
It wasn’t you. You didn’t make me sad. I loved you so much it left me breathless (and it still does). And looking at your tiny fingers and toes made me truly believe in miracles. But there was a big cloud of sadness hanging over my head that didn’t want to go away.
I missed doing all the things that I did before you were born, and I missed having things in my life that were just mine. But then when I actually took time to do those things again, I missed you and then all my emotions inside would get confusing.
And sometimes, I wanted to do such a good job being your mommy that I got scared. I would get scared that I was doing something wrong, or that choices that I made wouldn’t be right for you. I would worry all the time that I wasn’t doing everything perfectly.
I know that sounds silly because we always encourage you to just try, even if you can’t do things yet – because you’re learning. And I was learning too. But it was hard for me to see that when I was so scared and sad all the time.
There’s a name for what I was going through. It’s called postpartum depression (big words, I know!), and sometimes other mommies have it too. So, you’re not the only one that had a sad and scared mama. And again, please know it wasn’t your fault. You were, and still are, amazing and I love you.
But because I was scared and sad, and because I know now that I will be a much better mommy for you if I can have lots of time to do things that make me happy, you probably won’t ever have a brother or sister.
It hurts my heart, little man, because I know you’d be a spectacular big brother.
I know that you would have lots of room in your heart to love another person, and I believe that a new baby would be so lucky to have you in their life. You would set such a positive example, and you would be so caring, and such a good buddy to them.
So, I’m going to do my best to make sure that you have lots of opportunities to be a big brother, or even a little brother to other kids. We’re going to be there for the important people in our lives, even when it’s hard. I’m going to show you what it’s like to love another person unconditionally (even if you don’t like them sometimes!), by loving you and your daddy that way, every day.
And I hope that that will be okay. And I hope that I never have to ask you to forgive me for it.
Because I also hope that you will learn to love yourself as much as I love myself. I hope I can be an example for that.
Eran Sudds is a photographer, mama, and postpartum depression survivor. She is the creator of the Good Mother Project, and is passionate about making sure other mothers and mothers-to-be know how amazing they are, as both moms and women.
We want to hear your uplifting, inspiring, funny, or touching story about your experience as a mother. Please visit our Storytellers page for more information on how to be published on the Good Mother Project blog.