Connections | Magazine

Welcome, baby! Here’s what we were like before we were your parents

An expectant mom’s letter to her soon-to-be-born baby.

Illustration by Rosanna Tasker for The Boston Globe

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In case we forget, amidst the diapers and bottles, this is how we were before you were born.

We were “Sara” and “Jeremy,” not “Mom” and “Dad.”

We ate takeout sushi once a week, the cheap kind from the restaurant around the corner where they knew our names and orders and noticed when we tried something new. At home, away from judgment, I snuck pieces of raw salmon while I was pregnant with you, then became soggy with guilt as I imagined losing you over a piece of protein.


We traveled. Not the planned, comfortable travel we think of doing with you, but the sweaty, unpredictable type where you rely on the kindness of strangers and the extremes of what your body can tolerate. If you decide to travel the way we did, tell us only when you get home, and promise you won’t do it again. Even if you are lying.

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We were romantic. I imagine your face reddening in my uterus already. Your father will explain the basics to you one day, and the rest you can learn from your friends. Or the Internet.

We fought sometimes, so when you hear us fight, know that it’s not your fault. It was usually about one or two issues, ones I’m sure you can rattle off by the time you can read this. “It’s like my parents have been fighting about the same thing for decades,” you’ll complain to your friends, and you’ll imagine finding someone with whom you agree on everything. Good luck.

We first talked about you on a rainy night in November 2012, seated at an Ikea table I’d found on Craigslist. The matching chair tilted forward and backward under my shifting weight.

“I’d like to have kids with you one day,” I said.


“I’d like that, too,” said your dad.

So we carried the idea of you with us through the jungles of Peru and the small towns of Portugal. We imagined what you’d look like, whether you’d have your father’s musical intuition or my ability to find an anxiety-laden scenario in every decision.

Then, with the help of a fertility specialist (a story for another day), we saw you for the first time when you were only 6 weeks developed. You were a worm on the screen, a thin line of white surrounded by black. “It’s showing off,” the ultrasound tech said, and I laughed, knowing she said that to everyone.

At 21 weeks, we saw you in a way we’ll never see you again. As a doctor, I’ve scrolled through numerous scans, but nothing compared to watching your developing brain inside of me. On ultrasound, we took a live tour inside your skull, from your round thalami, which will help you stay awake, to your corpus callosum, which connects the two sides of your brain. Your frontal lobes, which will mediate restraint and organization, will not develop fully for at least 20 years. We will eagerly await this.

We liked feeling your joints jut out from my belly and watching you calm as we rubbed what we thought was your back. Although it could have been your legs. Or just amniotic fluid. We were never very good at guessing your position.


And now you are nearly here. We await you like a plane landing with a long-lost relative. I imagine resting your head in the nook just below my clavicle, kissing your forehead, and watching your dad clutch you to his chest in love, the way he does to me.

If you can, forgive us for the mistakes we are about to make. Love us with our imperfections.

When you need to, you can talk about us on a couch somewhere.

Sara Manning Peskin is a writer and a neurology resident at the University of Pennsylvania. JJ Peskin arrived in January. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.