Dear Little One,
When I was pregnant with you, a lot of intense changes happened to my mind and body. Some were expected (like constant nausea), but others… not so much. Some of the most drastic changes were to my hormones and general mindset. I achieved a sense of calm that I’d never known before.
People can shove quotes at you like “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” or they can talk about how you should “ignore the haters” and “just focus on loving yourself” or whatever all they want, but it rarely changes how you feel and react. That’s far too deep down to be affected by banal platitudes.
During my first trimester, before anyone except your father and the doctors knew, I suddenly gained a peace and clarity I’d never realized I’d been missing. I knew that nothing could really affect me because there was something so much more important.
And yes, feel free to quote this song, because it was totally me, even if I didn’t vocalize any (or maybe much) of the smugness.
Specifically, I had (still have) this coworker who was always a pain. I was technically his superior (“team lead”) but had exactly 0 power or authority. Every damn day, he’d come over to my desk and argue about some tiny little detail – usually, something that he’d gotten wrong, often claiming that the rules had suddenly changed (spoiler: they didn’t). But once I became pregnant, he just… couldn’t get to me. Nothing he said could elicit a rise from me. He would argue until he was red in the face and I would just remain this immobile wall. Eventually, he stopped (or drastically reduced) arguing with me because he knew I wouldn’t budge.
All I could think whenever he got argumentative was:
“You can’t make me mad because you don’t matter. You’re not important enough for me to care.”
Throughout my life, I’ve generally been very easily affected by people’s words and actions. Teachers and other authority figures would say things like “Oh, just ignore it, they’re just doing it to bug you.” I would try (and usually fail) to hide that it bothered me. Regardless, it didn’t change how it felt inside. I hated it. I hated how it made me feel and I hated how easily I could be baited into reacting. But now?
None of it mattered. They didn’t matter.
I suddenly had this solid base of emotional strength to stand on; a never-ending well of calm to pull from. With it, I was able to stand tall. I could fight anything and anyone. To some extent, that’s never left me.
I am a stronger, fiercer, and more self-assured person than ever before. I know who I am and who I need to be because of you.
I don’t know if you’ll ever truly understand how you’ve changed me. I hope your father and I can instill some of that same strength and fierceness back into you, but I don’t think we’ll have to. I think you already have that in you. I think all we have to do is stand back and watch you turn into the amazing person we know you to be.
You are strong.
You are fierce.
You are you.
Most importantly, you matter.