Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear Daniel, (On Leaving Your Birthplace)

Hi, Love.

We've all been through a huge transition recently—perhaps the largest one we've been through since you emerged from your cozy, fluid womb environment into this bright, loud world. Papa, Matthew, you, and I have moved into a new house.

We were excited to make this move, and hopeful about the prospect of stability and consistency we would be afforded by owning a home. Like all transitions in life, there have been both happy and difficult things about making this change together. One thing I didn't anticipate fully is how strange it would feel to leave the place where you were born.

You see, Daniel, most babies these days (about 99% of those born in the United States) are born in places designed specifically for birth: labor and delivery rooms, birthing centers, and operating rooms. Mamas and families go to these places to birth their babies and then they come back home after a short stay there, spending a relatively brief amount of time in the rooms where their kiddos are born.

You, however, were born at home in an ordinary, everyday room: the second bedroom of our rented town home, in an inflatable tub filled with water. You were born in the room where you took your naps and where you slept at night after we stopped sharing a bed and (subsequently) a room together.

You nursed for the first time in that room while we were still attached to each other by a pulsing cord. You nursed for the very last time in that room one morning after you woke up calling out to me, "Momma!"

You were born in the room where Papa and I spent countless hours holding you, bouncing you, rocking you, singing to you, and (I) nursing you to help comfort you through your crying. It was in that room that we first realized that you might be dealing with serious sensory issues and that we needed to seek help. 

You had spent the vast majority of your hours up until now in that home, and many of them in that very room where you took your first breaths and cried your first tiny cries. But the time came to say goodbye and move on together to a new place we now call home.

We went back to our old home right before we turned in our keys and Matthew took some photographs of our trio, together one last time in the spot where you were born. You had a sensory meltdown while we were trying to take the photos, and it reminded me of all the times I helped you through hours of crying and meltdowns in that room over the past (almost) two years. The experience that day solidified for me that this place was no longer our home, no longer a secure, comfortable place for you. Looking back on it now, I realize how incredibly appropriate your meltdown was in that moment. All the memories of that room flowed through me, and a couple of them leaked from my eyes.

And then we left.

You are already building new memories and experiences of this new house. I wonder if you'll remember this move as you get older. You had the language to describe it ("old house" and "new house," and also "move" and "home") so I wouldn't be surprised to have a conversation with you about it down the road. My family of origin moved from Texas to Pennsylvania when I was about your age, and I recall small tidbits about that transition, about the old house and the new house.

I look forward to the many years we'll have together in this home: the milestones, the mistakes, the laughs...even the tears. Your birthplace will always be special to Momma, and it's still close by, so we can visit sometimes.

We will ride our bikes there together someday and I will tell you the story of the morning you were born. Right there, in the room behind that big window up there. It was wide open with the curtains billowing, filling the room with the cool Spring breeze as the sun came up.

It was raining.
It was perfect.

Just like you.



  1. This was a great post, Amy. I remember that day so well. And that town house. I remember sitting at the dining room table, both of us pregnant, planning for our births, laughing with our husbands, looking forward to all that life would hold. I remember seeing Daniel for the first time when he was 1-day old in your bedroom. I remember coming to that front doorway to retrieve donor milk from you. I have a lot of great memories of that little place. I can only imagine that your new HOME will hold so many more wonderful memories for you guys!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! I know we both have fond memories of that place...and many new ones to make in the future! The concept of "home" is one I've been thinking about a lot lately, as we've made this transition. It's fun to dream about what we will experience together in this home. =)

  2. Aw, what a big transition. You write about it so eloquently. I still feel bittersweet about leaving Mikko's first home, just down the street. We pass it, and he doesn't really remember it much, though he says he does. But as Rachel says, just think how many new, beautiful memories are to come in your new home!

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! Moving forward is always bittersweet, isn't it? It's funny....

  3. I can't imagine how much of a mess you were, because I'm bawling like a baby reading about it :) Beautiful post!!

    1. Aww Dionna, thank you! I cried in the moment mostly because Daniel was so upset and there wasn't much to do to help the situation. Writing this definitely helped me process my feelings of sadness about leaving that home for this one.

  4. We recently moved to a new house (not far from our old house either). My son's 6th birthday was yesterday, and we talked about where he was born, reading this today is so powerful! You have a gift for writing and this is wonderful. I miss the house knowing he was born in a tub filled with water in the kitchen/family room where we spent most of his young life to this point, but it is time to move on and enjoy the new memories. But it is still important to remember the past and respect those memories as well.

    1. I'm so glad this came to you at just the right moment. It's nice to think back to the day of birth and all the things that happened in those rooms, isn't it? Happy birthday to your son (and to you)!

  5. I reposted your link on my blog (I hope that's o.k.) http://wendyrful.blogspot.com/2012/04/leaving-your-birth-place-waxing.html


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