You Ruined My Life: An Open Letter To My Daughter

Dear Emery, 

Six years ago I went to sleep at about this time at night with you nestled tightly in my large tummy. I didn't sleep a wink. I cried all night. I prayed all night. I got up and journaled. I was so worried about the next day, my labor day and your birth day, that I couldn't find a comfortable spot in my California King. 

That night I wrestled for comfort in my head and heart. I knew that things were about to change drastically. I new life would never be the same again once they cut me open and took you out. I knew that you were about to ruin my life. And I was right. You did. 

You ruined my life. 

You ruined my "perfect" body. Years of fertility treatments in order to have you brought unwanted weight gain, acne - on my face, neck, chest and back, hormone fluctuations that wrecked my metabolism and made me feel like I was a going literally insane. And a c-section scar that ensured I'd never wear a two-piece swimsuit again. But ruining my body made me come to appreciate my body for the temple that it is. An imperfect body made me realize just how precious my good health is and it made me want to fight to ensure that I do my part to stay healthy for me and for you. Because I want to be around to watch you grow up and grow old. 

You ruined my predisposition for perfection in myself and others. You ruined my ability to "turn it on" for some and to "turn it off". You stared at me with your blue eyes and you ruined my ability for false pretenses because all you wanted from me was me. Not the fake me. Not the perfect me. Not the made-up me. But just the real me.

You ruined my people-pleasing addiction. You ruined everything in me that cried out for applause. You, with your tiny self, looked at me and said, "just look at me, Mama" and so I put the world aside and I looked at you and my world was at peace. Because at the end of my life, if I pleased everyone else but never knew you, then I failed at life. 

You ruined my selfishness. Gone were the days of doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with whomever I wanted. No more lazy days off where I slept late, binge watched tv and/or read the day away. My days now had purpose and the purpose was not about me anymore. I woke up with every feeding, every dirty diaper, every late-night fever, knowing my purpose was about you. Meeting your needs. Feeding your appetite. Helping you find rest. You turned my life from "what about me?" into "what can I do for you?" And I found life in abundance through a life of serving - even in the mundane there was joy to be had. 

You ruined my marriage. Spontaneous date nights were a thing of the past. This new phase of "romance" demanded a plan, a schedule and a budget. All things that my crazed world of "Yes, sure I can do that. Brad will understand" needed. And no more were the fights and arguments that stewed beneath the surface looking for the opportunity to blow. This man who was up all hours of the day and night with me, caring for this colic baby, was now my partner and I finally knew that I was going to stick around "until death do us part." I wasn't sure until then. I hate that, but its true. The back door in my mind was always cracked just a little. But now, there was more at stake than my pride and my need to be right and my "right" to be treated like a princess with romance and nonsense. He needed me to grow up and be a woman just as much as you needed it...and I need it. There was a new "baby girl" in our marriage and it was you. It was supposed to be you. Because I wasn't meant to be his princess, I was made to be his queen. And a great queen serves and gives and bends to meet the needs of her people.

You ruined my life. 

You wrecked me. 

When you were born, my glass house was shattered. 

All the cracks in the foundation were exposed. 

You sanctified me. 

God sent you here to be part of my story - of His purification in my life. 

Anything and everything I "lost" was exactly the thing that needed to go. 

So that I could have life and live it to the full. 

Full of love and grace and truth. 

Full of forgiveness and compassion and empathy. 

Full of purpose and intensity and adventure. 

You ruined my life. Yes, you did. Life as I had known it for 31 years was OVER. 

But it wasn't a life that was sustainable. I was obsessed with me. What a waste of time. 

Thank you for coming into my life. I'm sorry that I still struggle with being selfish. He's still working on me. What He rebuilt in me, since having you, has been the greatest testimony of how we're never done. It's not finished until we see him face-to-face. Thank you for ruining my life. Thank you for giving me such an incredible purpose in living. 

I love you forever. To the moon and back. You're my God-person. 

And I'm already praying for you, that one day, God will send a tiny bundle of heaven into your arms to ruin you, too. 

- Mama 




Jessica Phillips

Jessica is worshiper and follower of Jesus. He rescued her heart at age 6 but he rescued her calling, purpose and direction in her early 20's. Everyday God is still writing Jessica's story. It involves her husband, Brad, her daughter, Emery, their extended families. But the story is a tale of loss of life and dark grief. And the story ebs and weaves and the grief story is followed by weddings and laughter. And what comes next? A Baby! God sends us a baby to shape and teach and grow right in the midst of our loss and realizing that life actually moves forward. We didn't think it would again after he died. But life just did what it was supposed to do...and it went on. And hope is born again. Everything I write is based on this fact: I'm God's child, I'm alive today. So what do You want me to do for You? Because I want my contribution to matter. I want to leave a legacy.