I Didn’t Want You


I Didn’t Want YouToday is my daughter’s fourth birthday. Every year, I reflect on the previous year we had together and the differences she has made in my life and those around her.

Every year, I think back to how much I didn’t want her. 

I thought about her today, just as I do every day. I thought about how every part of her little being consumes my heart and soul, every day, for the rest of my life. From the very first day, she was a bombshell, which is defined as “an overwhelming surprise or disappointment.” Since the moment of conception, the moment those little two lines popped up, the moment my water broke walking up to my office eating a chicken nugget. She was four weeks early. She was always a surprise, and to me, a disappointment. 

You see, I wrote these words three years ago as we approached her first birthday. I read them year after year and I think about how much I just didn’t want her. I didn’t want anything to do with her. 

“I thought of you today. Just like I thought about you every day since the first day that I found out you were growing inside of me.

I thought about you, I thought about how you were stealing my freedom. I thought about how you were advancing my career at a pace that I didn’t want. I thought about how you were stealing my happiness. You were taking away my time with your Daddy. I thought about how your grandparents weren’t ready to lose me, and I wasn’t ready to lose them. You were taking away my timing. I thought about you. Every second, every moment, I thought about you.

I thought about how sick you made me. I thought about how awful I felt every. single. day. for 17 straight weeks. I thought about how exhausted I was. I thought about how sad and bitter that I was. I thought about my depression. I thought about how hard life was without my medicine. I thought about the fact that my responsibility was now to keep you safe, even if I didn’t want to. I thought about how much I just wanted you to go away… I thought about how much I wanted to take both of our lives all the time…

I thought about me a lot. I thought about how selfish I was.

When I thought of you today, I thought about how wrong I was. I thought about how hard it is to believe that I once didn’t want any part of you for a very, very long time.
I thought about you today.

I thought about how beautiful you are. I thought about your two little teeth popping up when you laugh really hard. I thought about the first time I ever heard you laugh, the first time you ever laughed at all. It was just me and you, and I did something weird, and you laughed. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my entire life.

I thought about from the moment that they placed you in my arms that you literally put shackles all over my heart and made it yours.

I thought about how you were only content being held in my arms. I hated putting you in that ice tray looking bassinet, because that isn’t where you belonged. You belonged with me. I thought about watching you lay there and look at me. I thought about how I couldn’t believe I didn’t want you.

Is there any way to define the love a mother has for their child?

Today, I thought about how long, short, rewarding, fast your first year of life was. I’m overjoyed that I have been blessed to have you for a whole year of life. I am so sad that it is already over…

I thought about no matter what I do, you will never fully feel the abundance of my love. I thought about how much I’m going to keep messing up and how much you don’t deserve that. Your beautiful little soul deserves all the greatest things in life and I hope that as you grow, that you will see failure is necessary to achieve success. I hope that you learn that you will makes mistakes, but that you can learn from them, grow from them, just like I have.

I thought about the little coos when you were a baby. I thought about the first week of life when you were somehow curled up in the bottom of your bassinet and it scared me to death. I thought about when you first tried to stand, crawl, walk, talk. I thought about how your face lights up every single time that I get home from work and how it makes it all worth it. I thought about waking up at 1am, 3am, 5am every night to pump milk for you, even when you were sleeping.

I thought about all the prayers I have prayed, the tears we have cried, the frustrations, the confusion, the sacrifices, the heartache, the happiness, the unrefined joy. I thought about you today.

I thought about how thankful I am that I didn’t take you. That I didn’t take me. That I did not indefinitely separate us for the rest of eternity. I thought about you.

Do you want to know the moment that I finally started to feel a mother’s love? The week before you were born, when I was triaged for preterm labor and they were monitoring me and all the sudden there was blood everywhere. I had never in my life felt panic rise in my chest so fast. You were fine. It was all nothing and everyone was okay. Sometimes I wonder if God did it just to show me that I could actually love you.

As I keep writing, I have realized that I can’t pack your first year of life into a memoir without writing a literal novel. I can’t write down every step you take as you run through the house chewing on some random object you found or happily screaming just to hear yourself. I can’t notate every bite of food and how much you love mac n cheese or prefer to hold your food yourself, even when I’m trying to feed it off a spoon because you can’t eat it with your fingers. I cannot narrate every giggle when Daddy “gets you” or chases you around or tackles you on the bed or throws you up in the air to practice your Olympian moves. I can’t put into words the warmth of waking up with you in the crook of my numb right arm every single morning or watching you crawl over to daddy and laying right against his back when I get ready for work. As much as I would love to share all of these special moments and thoughts and memories with the world because everyone deserves a bit of sunshine that is Harper… I can’t. 

I want to keep you as my bitty girl forever, but I can’t. You will grow. You started growing over 600 days ago, and I wasn’t ready then, and I am still not ready now. But it’s different. I wasn’t thankful for you back then. I wasn’t happy seeing you grow like I am now. I am in awe watching the wonderment in your eyes as you learn every day, as you discover new things, grow big and strong. I am so thankful that you are happy and healthy.

I thought about you today, my girl. I thought about how you are one year old. I thought about how valiant and magnificent you are, because no one has conquered my heart quite like you have.”

Today, I feel the same. Today, we are celebrating her fourth birthday the most magical way that we know how: at Walt Disney World with her favorite princess. Today, I will look at her, and my heart will swell, and my eyes will brim with tears because I will remember that I didn’t want her. I didn’t want to know unconditional love, unrefined joy, the power of stretching and growing beyond your limits. I didn’t want tea parties, bedtime stories, great-great hugs, or butterfly kisses. I didn’t want hide-and-seek, sassy attitudes, bedtime prayers, contagious giggles, ballet, or cuddles. To think, I didn’t want this. I didn’t want the most life-altering and happiest days of my life. There is no love like being a mommy.

There is no love like what I have for you, sweet girl. There is no prayer of gratitude like I have for the last five years, for being able to keep you, love you, and watch you grow. 


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