Last night, your diaper bag arrived.
It’s a thing of beauty, this diaper bag. I wish I would’ve ordered it with your older siblings. But I was a newbie mother back then, and I had no idea what motherhood would actually entail. I thought I needed to get the cutesy diaper bag with theme characters because that’s what a good mom would do. Never mind that it was basically flimsy and not functional; it was the most popular one on the baby registry, so I had to get it, right?
The new diaper bag is like a gleaming, shiny representation of what I hope motherhood will hold for me this time around. It’s a backpack version, much more practical and functional and designed for actually living life on-the-go with a little one (because I know better now). It’s design is adorable, with modern-day black and white and cool brown leather details that make it look more like a work of art than a diaper bag.
I love this new diaper bag so much I took pictures of it and sent it to my friends, the only ones who know about you, baby. But when the diaper bag arrived in the mail last night, despite my thrill and excitement and swooning over its beauty and all that it represents, I shoved it under the bed, out of sight.
Why did I do that to you, baby?
I hope you don’t think I did that because I’m not excited about you, or because I don’t want to celebrate you by buying baby supplies for you right now. On the contrary, I would fill this house to the brim with stuff for you.
But I have to admit, I’m scared.
I’m scared to hope for you.
I’m scared to get excited for you.
I’m scared to dream about you.
I’m scared to buy anything for you, because I know that if I lose you, I will find the very thing I bought for you, just like I did before, buried in my closet where I tried to hide it, and the hurt will rip open my heart again just when I think I’m beginning to heal. Like the maternity shirt I bought the first time and the little outfit I bought the second time — I can’t describe what it felt like in those moments, baby, sitting alone in my closet wishing so much I was able to use what I bought for you.
But you had already left.
This time, baby, I’m trying so hard to protect myself. Not because I don’t love you, baby, but because I love you so much. I love you so much that I am afraid to lose you with every fiber of my being.
I admit that my fear has caused me to do weird things during the short time you and I have been together. It’s caused me to speak only in terms of “if” and “maybe” and keep you a secret from almost everyone. It’s shushed your father when he tries to talk about you, tries to express his excitement over watching you someday crawl on our floor and keep up with your big siblings. It’s caused me to cry in the middle of the night and in the car and while chopping vegetables in the kitchen because try as I might to stuff the fear down and pretend it’s not there, it just keeps bubbling over.
It’s caused me to fear hoping for you.
As scared as I am every day, baby, there is still that one little part of me that refuses to give up hoping. Hoping for a heartbeat at our next check-up, hoping that someday soon, I’ll feel like I am able to be excited about you, hoping that I won’t wonder if I will meet you, hoping that you will make it safely here to my arms, hoping that you will be healthy and that I will hear that first, beautiful cry that I have imagined so many times, despite my attempts not to.
I need you to know that you are loved, baby, no matter how long you are with me.
And I need you to know that even though I have to hide that backpack under my bed for right now, I still can’t help but sneak a glance at it every now and then — and smile a secret smile of hope.
For both of us, baby.