The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Child of Mine

I was teaching a prenatal class in Ottawa yesterday to six expectant couples. During the morning break I was sharing The Letter Writing Revolution with them. One mom-to-be asked, "Do thank you notes count?" to which I replied "Sort of but not quite." I chatted enthusiastically about my blog and about the lost art of letter writing. I asked if any of them had every written love letters to their partners and in response I received some shoulder shrugging. I talked about my Letter to a Soldier post and of course, the post on Love Letters. One of the dads-to-be promptly added the url for my blog into his Blackberry and announced that he was going to write me a letter. I am expecting him to. I don't take statements about letter writing lightly.

I think that when I return next week to teach their second and final prenatal class, I am going to suggest they start a project to not only contribute to the revolution but to also enhance their relationship with their unborn child. I am going to recommend that they start by writing a love letter to their unborn baby. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I kept a pregnancy journal which kept track of the many details of those 40 weeks + 5 days that I would have otherwise forgotten.

Photo by Marlys Symingon
My husband wrote a letter to our unborn baby who we lovingly referred to as Cletus the Fetus. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Dear Cletus;

"Okay, okay....I know that you probably think that we are pretty weird for calling you "Cletus" but it was kind of funny at first and it has become somewhat familiar over the last few months. I am writing this to you to let you know what all was going on in my life while I eagerly waited to meet you. Both you mother and I (that still sounds weird to say) have a feeling that you are a boy. It probably does not help that your nickname is a boy's name but for the record we really do not have a preference either way. For me, I really like the idea of having a son to do all of those father/son things together but I also really like the idea of Daddy's Little Girl, as well...........

.......I am not sure how I am going to be as a father but right now I am not the best at saying mushy stuff but I hope to get a little better with it as time goes on. I have never been very good at expressing myself but I will give it a valiant effort, just bear with me, okay? You haven't even arrived yet but you have turned our lives upside down. Every spare moment I am thinking of you and how much I want to meet you. All of the sudden I notice every baby and wonder what you will look like. Will you have more hair than them or be bald as a cue ball? Mind you, with the amount of heartburn your mother is having you had better have a full head of hair (it is an old wives tale). Will you be a happy baby? Will you have chubby little cheeks? Will you have your mother's stunning blue eyes? I mentioned before how deeply in love I am with your mother. I thought that it was not possible to love anyone more deeply until I heard about you. I know that it is probably a cliche but I honestly would make any sacrifice for you without any hesitation and I have not even met you yet! Anyway, I could go on forever and not get any closer to explaining how much you have brought to our lives already. I know you will teach us many things about love and life and hopefully we will teach you what it means to be loved and how to love.

So, take care, little one. We are anxiously awaiting your arrival but take your time and just come when you are ready. Know that you will be greeted by two very nervous but very loving parents that promise to always be there for you."

Love Dad

My husband with our daughter, Meredith (2004)

I may share this letter with my class and then gently encourage them to spend an evening each writing a letter to their baby.........their hopes and fears, their excitement and their wishes, what is going on in the world as they write, what their dreams are for the birth and the weeks after and of course, their feelings towards this baby that is still on the inside. Then, I am going to ask them to write a letter every year on the eve of or on a day close to their child's birth day. Imagine when the child is older and receives a box of letters that have been written over the years out of love for them......the first one being written even before they were born.

If you are expecting a baby and reading this, perhaps this is something you can consider. If you know someone who is pregnant, an interesting shower gift would be to give them a decorative box, beautiful pens and paper to begin a tradition of writing letters to their child. These letters can be given at the child's 18th birthday or graduation or for Christmas one year. As they get older, the letter can be written in the days leading up to the birthday and they can receive it as one of their gifts. This can be an annual tradition of receiving a handwritten letter from one or both of their parents. This inexpensive gift would be far more valuable then anything you could buy in a store. Guaranteed.


  1. wow! what a great idea! I think I'll sit down right now to write a letter to our baby - I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child! :) thanks - Auramarina

  2. I was so excited to sign in and find today's entry..and what can I say...totally moved by the picture and most certainly by all of Tim's letter (the last sentence 2nd para did it!). My one wish today tho' is that I had known you in my youth, Julie....and my children might have had that box of letters today. Great homework idea for your class. Love TLWR!

  3. oh wow... thanks for the tears... they were nice ones. I haven't put pen to paper for a long time but I am getting pretty close ;) I am sure my first will be to you!

    PS Incredible photo of you... we were planning to do these the last weekend and then ... well you know!

  4. Your daughter Meredith is beautiful. How old would she be now?

    -Zane of ontario honey


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