Welcome to the second project on obafuntaydotcom, The Letter to my unborn child project. If you missed the preview, you can view it here, just so you have an idea what we are up to, as much as the project title, speaks for itself.
Ever thought of writing a letter? Better still, a letter to your unborn child?
What would you name him/her? Why not give your unborn child a name now and write him/her a letter? Yes! Right now! Doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.
What do you think?
Today, we’d be reading Eris’ letter.
Hang in there.
I never saw you coming. The announcement of your arrival was as much a surprise to me as it was to your father. I imagine you, my beautiful Ifemjibilu; that which I live for. Tiny thing, growing within me, wondering at these new surroundings. If you’re anything like Mommy, once those fingers are formed, I bet you’ll be reaching out to poke things. Fired up by curiosity, wondering what this sac of fluid is, listening to the sounds being made outside your enclosure, grateful for the rush of food when it comes. “Ugh, mom you eat some vile things! Veggies! Ewwww!” I bet you hate them too. Tomatoes are nasty, they say they’re fruits technically, but you and I know better. Phtooey we say! Say no to the tomato patriarchy! We’ll picket, I made you a sign.
Ifem. Nwa m oma. My beautiful thing. We already have secrets. I whisper my curiosities to you at night, wondering if you hear my confusion. Can you feel my questions? Daddy is such an oddball. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands when you and I waddle into the room, filled with hormones and pissed off at his face. It’s hilarious, we laugh at him don’t we? But we love him. The beauty of him. I bet you’re as resilient as he is, with that silent strength of someone who knows what they’re doing. You will get your determination from him, your mischief and laughter from me, your irrepressible nature from us both and the questions, ay caramba! I know you have a million; I can’t wait to be completely frustrated at all of them. The bajillion questions will be from Daddy and I. We ask a lot of those. Things like why the person who saw the chicken cross the road, did not stick around to find out why it did. Pertinent questions, you know. There I go, giggling again.
I swing between happiness for a co-conspirator and complete terror at the major responsibility of another life in my hands. I’m not sure I can raise a child. Am I equipped? What do I do? What if I’m a terrible mother? What if I scar you emotionally? What if despite all my best efforts, I fail? What if I fail you Ifem? Can I live with it? Daddy says I worry too much. Pfeh! He has too much faith in me is what I say. I barely remember to eat breakfast. What if I fuck around and put you in the microwave one day? Okay, I’m not that careless. I’m just afraid. Oh and I said “fuck”. It’s called a cuss word. You’ll learn those. You’ll also learn nice words like “Please”, “May I?” “Thank you” and “Have a wonderful day.” There’s so much to learn. I’m afraid I might not be able to teach you right, or love you right. I don’t know. But I will try, you have my word.
Ifem, nne nne m! Nna m! Your gender doesn’t matter, I will treat you the same. You will learn to cook and change tyres and do your own laundry (and mine!) I birthed you young man/woman, you are my slave. Kidding. (No, I’m not.) I am. Mommy’s never serious. (You’re still doing laundry though.) We will do crazy things. Home will be as welcome a spot as school and your friends. When you have your first crush, at 3 or at 25, whatever, tell me about it. You’re having your first drink at 13, because learning about alcohol outside is never smart. I will teach you both good and bad things about the world. I will not shelter you Ifem, I love you too much to pretend that I have brought you into utopia. You deserve to know about the world you were born into. Information will be yours, constantly and unedited for as long as I have breath in me. What’s marijuana? What’s tobacco? Cocaine? Sex? Threesomes? Two girls one cup? I’ll tell you. You have your freedom and freewill baby, live. (I will cry if you do cocaine though, I’ll cry really hard. Two girls one cup is just gross, don’t bother.)
You will learn about death. Early. So it doesn’t take you by surprise like it took me, like it takes us all. Nothing will prepare you for it though. I could tell you a million times about death, yet the grief will still stab at you. Like a thousand serrated knives with poisoned edges. You will hurt, you will be inconsolable and I will not be able to help. Death is the one thing Mommy cannot do anything about, no one can. I will be there though, I will hold you. I will cry with you, field your questions albeit helplessly but I will never offer you cliche words. I won’t ever offer you cliches, not in your existence, not in response to questions, unless of course you’re asking about cliches then you’ll find out that it is what it is and that’s how the cookie crumbles because c’est la vie darling. When you’re older, you’ll see what I did there.
I’m giggling again. I do that a lot. I’m happy, it’s a thing. A lot of human beings strive for happiness. We don’t all get it though. I will teach you my secret recipe for happiness: Laughter; at yourself. Laugh Ifem, laugh at everything. Even death. This is easier said than done but with practice, you learn. Preserve memories, any way you can. Bah, I’ll teach you all this. I would’ve taught you all this, I swore that I would…but you left me Ifem.
My body didn’t want you and you left me, my darling. In the evening of that unremarkable Saturday, I sat in the pool of blood that was you and I keened for what I had lost. For what I could never again recover. My baby, my joy, Ifemjibilu. My sorrow. I hated my body for what it did, I hated myself for possessing this body, I hated the Fates for allowing this miscarriage, I hated you for making me love you then leaving me. I woke up and you were gone, I took a nap with you inside me and woke up alone. Keduzi ka isi rapu m? Ife nne ya, why? I held those bloodstained sheets to my chest, I clutched at my stomach, my tears on an infinite loop, inconsolable. Unable to wake your father, unable to move. He found me in that position, he took me to the hospital. The doctor said words, the nurses said things, I never let go of the sheets, I never let go of you…my giggles were gone.
They will return though. You weren’t even born into this world but I know you. You’ll stay with me until I no longer need you too. All those things I said about laughter, I will have to re-internalise. I will laugh again. Even though they said I could never have another, that you were my only shot at motherhood, I will laugh Ifem. I will laugh because it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. That’s a cliché, I know, but it is what it is and it is all I can muster. I miss you so. I love you, I loved you so hard. Requiescere my darling, I’ll bring you cookies in heaven.
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
I’d like to take a moment here, to appreciate everyone who has taken the trouble of opening post links, reading letters, sharing, writing your own letters and keeping this project going. You guys are awesome!
N.B. The project goes on tomorrow, with @Dam_Xo‘s letter.
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