Letter to my unborn child
I’m laying here with my hand on my stomach. Tiny bubbles escape and find their way from deep inside my body, drifting leisurely to the surface, exploding lightly against my hand. Already I can feel the rippling effects of your movements on my body, my emotions, my hormones, spiraling to every facet of my being. I sigh. One day I would need to tell you about your mother. Psychologists and doctors would have me reframe it, but sometimes complex matters are best explained by simple truths. Genetically speaking, I know that your eyes will never be brown like mine. Your egg did not generate from my ovaries, you are my sister’s gift. What is a mother? If motherhood was characterized by sacrifice, unconditional love and unsurpassed generosity, then you already have one ‘helluva’ mother. That leaves you and me. We need to find our own definition of what a mother-child relationship may be. A few years back I went hiking in the bush. Climbing sturdily against a rock was a gigantic tree, its rugged roots exposed to the elements. The tree was thriving against all odds, grabbing on to life for whatever nourishment it could possibly find. You remind me of that wild tree. Not all trees grow in picture-perfect manicured gardens. Some trees stubbornly and defiantly carve out their own place in the world, against all known conventions. I can make you only one promise, namely that this is not an easy life. Late at night I wonder if I haven’t created too much of a burden for you, having to deal with the complexity of an unusual family situation, and older parents who may not have the energy or be as much fun as a younger parent. Already you may have inherited loneliness. Growing up, you will have to manage being an only child. You will face the challenges, temptations and dangers of childhood without sibling support, and having parents that are generations away. And yet, it seems that together we have chosen this. I think I prefer it so, this uneasy life, as opposed to having a life without you. Your loving mother, Mandi.
- Mandi Axmann