A Letter to My Son

Before my son was born I started writing in a baby book.  I plan to give it to him on his eighteenth birthday.  I used it almost like a diary.  I wrote about my pregnancy.  I stuck in pictures of my scans.  I recorded when I first felt him kick (17 weeks and 3 days).  Morning sickness.  I wrote about my engagement to his father.  I then wrote about childbirth, the first few challenging weeks of breastfeeding, his colic.  I recorded his first smile.  I recorded the date his first tooth appeared.  I included lots of photos of him, of me, of his Dad.  It is all developmental leaps and happy smiles. 

And then I stopped.

Because his Dad and I are separating.

There is lot to record.

I want to record his first foods.

…but it seems irrelevant because his parents are separating.

I want to record the first time he sat up.

…but his parents are separating.

I want to record the first time he clapped.

…but his parents are separating.

I want to record his first day at nursery.

…but his parents are separating.

I haven’t written in the book for the last four months. 

…because his parents are separating. 

Our separation is the elephant in the room, omnipresent, always there, looming, dominating, watching, making everything else seem false, irrelevant.  How can I write about him clapping, or his first day at nursery when his parents’ separation will change the rest of his life forever?  How do I address the massive change?  What do I say?

I have decided to write him a letter.  I will give it to him when he is 18. I need to explain the gap in his book.  I need to tackle the elephant.

To my dear son,

Happy 18th Birthday. 

As I write you are upstairs in your bed asleep.  You are eight and a half months old.  Your eighteenth birthday feels like an age away. I don’t know what the future holds.  I don’t know what will have happened in the intervening seventeen years, but I do know that I will be proud of you.  I do know that I will love you.  I love you more than life itself.  I will always love you more than life itself.  You are my reason for getting up in the morning, my reason for working, my reason for eating, my reason for living. I would do anything for you.  I would do anything for you now and I can’t imagine ever feeling any different.  I will always do anything and everything for you.  You are the centre of my universe.  You are my whole universe. You always will be. 

I have given you your baby book.  There is a gap.  I don’t yet know how long the gap will be.  I know that I haven’t written in it for just over four months.  I don’t know when I will be able to write in it again.  Maybe once I have finished writing this letter.  I don’t know. I haven’t forgotten.  I just can’t write about what feels like the little things when I haven’t written about your father and I separating.  I know that your firsts (teeth, foods, smiles) are anything but little things and I am really sorry. 

Your father and I decided to go our separate ways nearly three months ago on 15 February 2015.  I am so sorry.  You were less than 6 months old.  I feel so guilty.  I feel so sorry for you.  You will never have a childhood like the one that I had.  Your childhood home life will not be one where your parents love each other and support each other.  This eats me up inside.  I feel so guilty and crushed that I have failed to give you the wonderful childhood that I had.  I have failed you and I am so sorry.

But then staying together would not give you the childhood that I had.  Your father and I don’t love each other.  We don’t laugh together. We don’t joke together. We don’t put each other first.  We are not happy.  We live parallel lives.  We are not together.  We are together out of convenience, not passion, not love, not admiration or respect.  Convenience won’t get us through the hard times.  Convenience didn’t get us through the hard times.

I don’t really know how it happened.  I don’t know whether we just fell out of love, or whether we were never really in love in the first place.  If I’m honest I think it is the latter.  We had a few really bad arguments.  You don’t need to know the details.  We realised that we just don’t love each other.  I don’t think we ever can love each other again (if we ever really did).  You can’t spend the rest of your life with someone you don’t love. You can’t spend the rest of your life with someone if you are unhappy.

There is one lesson I want to teach you in life and when you read this letter, I hope you will know exactly what I am going to say.  The most important thing to strive for and to fight for in life is happiness.  The most important thing in life is to be happy.  If money makes you happy, then find a job where you earn a fortune.  If travel and exploration makes you happy then travel and explore.  If reading makes you happy then spend your days in a library.  If making someone else happy makes you happy then do it.  Figure out what makes you happy and fight for it. 

Your Dad loves you very much.  He is really proud of you.  He is really proud to have a son.  His son.  We both want what is best for you.  I fear that we won’t always agree on what is best, but we do both want what is best for you. 

I hope that we can create a stable childhood for you.  I wanted us to separate sooner rather than later so that we can settle into a new normal.  I want it to be normal for you to spend alternate weekends with either parent.  I want it to be normal for you to have two bedrooms.  I want it to be normal for you for your parents to live in different flats/houses.  I don’t want you to be aware that there is something not quite right about your parents’ relationship.  I don’t want you to grow up with  the arguments, with the coldness, with our distance from each other. 

You are lucky to have two parents who love you immensely, even if we don’t love each other.  You are special.  You are our everything. 

You make me happy.

I love you and I am very proud of you.

Your devoted Mummy.

a letter to my son

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  1. May 7, 2015 / 9:14 pm

    Such a beautiful post, I’m sure your little boy will appreciate this letter when you choose to give it to him. I think being a new parent is always tough let alone when you’re going through such a massive life changing event like you are!! Please don’t think you’ve failed him, I’m sure you are doing your very best to be an amazing mum and that is all you can do!! He will grow up feeling loved, what more could he wish for! xxx
    Emily White recently posted…Liebster AwardMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 7, 2015 / 10:18 pm

      Thank you Emily for your really kind and supportive words. I really appreciate it. I wish I could give him the childhood that I had with parents who love and support each other and I wish I didn’t have to work full time so that I could spend more time with him. I need to focus on the positives though. the time that we spend together is really special and I have to make it special. He has loads of people around him who love him and that it what is important. He won’t have two parents who love each other, but he will have my parents (who love each other and me and him) and both of his parents love him more than anything.

      There are lots of people in this position. Blogging helps me reach them. Thank you. xxx

  2. May 7, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Such a beautiful and honest post. I mirror your sentiments exactly. For a long time I battled not being able to give my son the childhood I had with parents who loved and supported each other. But now I believe I am giving him one even better. One where he is loved immensely by so many people and only surrounded by love. My ex and I separated when he was 15 months old and so he has never really known us together. Neither will your son and I think it’s a good thing. Having 2 separate loving parents will be his normal x #wineandboobs
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    • thesingleswan
      May 7, 2015 / 10:12 pm

      Hi again,

      Your positive story is really good to hear. thank you so much. I just want him to be happy (and of course I want to be happy myself) but there are times when I doubt myself and wonder whether I should just stick with it so that he can live in a bigger house and see both of his parents all of the time. Both my head and heart are telling me that it is the wrong decision. I also think it is a good thing that he will not know us together. We can create a normal with his parents apart. Take care and I look forward to hearing from you soon. xx

  3. May 8, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Your post really touched me. Our hearts can break as parents at times and we can experience guilt about things that we cannot change and even things that we know are for the best. I can see why your writing stopped. Often when we cant address the key issues then we cant address anything at all. I hope your letter helps you with that and you can now go on to record those other important things. Wishing you all the best with your situation. Be kind to yourself.

    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 10:29 am

      Thank you for your supportive comments. It is really nice of you. Blogging has really helped me and the blogging community has been fantastic. I have met so many people through blogging who have been trough something similar and who have given me encouragement and support. tHank you

    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 10:27 am

      Yes, I should have put #PoCoLo too. xx

  4. May 8, 2015 / 9:53 am

    What a beautiful letter to your son. I think that it doesn’t matter how big the gap is in his book as long as you keep it for him. You need time to deal with what is happening as well.
    I will say that my parents split up when I was young, not as young as your son, but I can honestly hand on heart say things were so much better after. And I was lucky because my mum found my stepdad who loves me like this own. So now I have even more love in my life.
    It sounds like your son had two brilliant parents who love him more than anything – I hope that your and your sons father both find happiness and can fill two homes with happiness and laughter for your son.
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    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 10:26 am

      THank you so much for your comment. It is really nice to hear really positive stories that have come out of separation. That is the vision to create two happy homes. He is a lucky boy! xxx

  5. May 8, 2015 / 9:56 am

    This is beautiful and so honestly written. I absolutely think you have done the right thing, happiness is key. Your son will thank you for that when he is older, I promise xxx

    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 10:25 am

      Thank you so much. Happiness is the most important thing. I hope you are right that my son will thank me when he is older. I am sure there will be challenging times ahead, but I am confident that there will also be happy times ahead. xxxx THank you for your support #wineandboobs

  6. May 8, 2015 / 10:02 am

    Such a beautiful letter to your Son. I think it’s important for children to know why Mum and Dad separated and you did it in such an honest and open manner, that it’s obvious the both of you solely had his interests at heart. The first year is the hardest for any relationship and many do fail, you are both brave to acknowledge you weren’t happy and dealt with it swiftly and honorably. x
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    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 10:23 am

      Thank you Donna, I really appreciate your comment. It is a tough time and I have had great support from the blogging community. xxxx

  7. May 8, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    Your letter is beautiful and expresses how much your baby is loved despite his parents splitting up. I think it’s an eloquent way of explaining the gap in his baby book and I’m sure that when he’s older he’ll already know how much he was loved.
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    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate it. I hope to start writing in his baby book again soon. There are so many milestones that i am not recording. It is a shame. xx

  8. May 8, 2015 / 6:23 pm

    Lovely post, you can tell it’s from the heart. I’m sure your boy will appreciate it all when he’s older xxx

    • thesingleswan
      May 8, 2015 / 6:36 pm

      thank you! It is very nice of you to say. xx

  9. May 8, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    I think he would love knowing what you feel about the subject. It is nice that you didnt tell bad things about his Dad which speaks highly of you! I wish that things will be better. Sending your hugs. #pocolo
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  10. May 9, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Wow! Beautiful. I remember those days and it gets better and better when you consult your head, but ultimately follow your heart. You are on the right path, in my opinion, to happiness.

    • thesingleswan
      May 9, 2015 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment and your words of encouragement. I really appreciate it.


  11. May 9, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    I love this letter. It is sad that you and your son’s father are separating, but it is undoubtedly the right choice for you. I hope your son will understand this, and you have explained this very well. I initially wondered what you separating had to do with his baby book, but then I realized that of course, not living with two parents who love each other may be tough on him. Of course, you too need time to process this separation. I hope you can someday feel at peace and know you did what makes you happy. #PoCoLo
    Astrid recently posted…Five Inspirational Books That I LoveMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 9, 2015 / 6:55 pm

      HI Astrid,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I don’t really feel that I can write in the baby book “15 February 2015 your parents separated” and then go on and record all other things like his teeth and him learning to clap. It feels false recording the little things when I am not addressing the separation and the thing that will change his life forever. I hope that my son is not finding it tough at the moment – he is only 8 months old! He will inevitably find it tough and want some answers in the future.

      thanks again for reading and I look forward to reading about the Five Inspirational books that you love.

      take care


  12. May 11, 2015 / 4:23 am

    What a wonderfully honest post! I can’t really say much, but you have to be amazingly strong! Keep doing what you have to do to keep strong 🙂 I can tell he is so loved and that alone is all he needs, all you need! I hope you can find yourself writing his achievements again 🙂
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    • thesingleswan
      May 11, 2015 / 6:53 pm

      THank you!

      I am glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your encouragement. I don’t feel that it will be that long before I start writing about his achievements again. I just had to get some things off my chest and down on paper (or as it happens a computer screen and then the internet!)

      Thanks for the #wineandboobs linky. It made me laugh!

      Take care


  13. May 11, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    Oh this letter is beautiful. I have written similar in my head, many a time. I wonder if I should wrote mine and say it out loud. I had started to make a photo book on line for my baby and then we separated. I redid it without pictures of his father or his parents and changed ‘we’ to ‘I’ and then stopped. I know that I need to go back and change it back. I need him to see those smiles and know that we were all there for him. When he’s older, he’ll see that the photo’s change to only him and my family but by then, I hope he’ll be cool with it as it will be his norm.
    Hannah Atkinson recently posted…What does it feel like to have a c section?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 12, 2015 / 10:18 pm

      Write your letter! I found it really cathartic. It had been in my head for a while and I needed to get in down on paper (well on the screen anyway). I will be in touch soon! xx

  14. May 13, 2015 / 8:02 am

    A friend of mine said she wrote one thing a day for her children, just something they had done that day, now they are grown they love it. Carry on writing, keep it simple, it would be such a shame to stop. A sad post but positive as you are looking forward. I’m sure you son will understand x

    Thanks for adding this to #TalkaiTues x
    Lorraine recently posted…Comment on Ex wives, family ties and goodbyes. by sixdegreesofharmonyMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      May 13, 2015 / 9:55 pm


      Thank you very much for your comment and I am sorry to add such a sad post to your linky. I will try to be more positive next week.

      I like your friend’s idea of writing one thing a day for her children. That is a lovely idea.


  15. June 4, 2015 / 5:33 am

    What a lovely lovely post. Your son is so lucky to have you and he is going to have a wonderful childhood that he will remember with happiness. You are so brave for having the guts to leave a relationship which doesn’t bring you joy- your son will be happier because of it. I really hope this has broken the block and you can start writing in the book again. Xx

    • thesingleswan
      June 4, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, I reckon I can start writing in his book again soon. Thank you for your support. I appreciate it. x

  16. August 16, 2015 / 7:40 pm

    ….. crikey…. such a beautiful post that’s made me a bit weepy 🙁
    It’s clear to me that you are a wonderful Mother and that little boy is so lucky to have you!! The fact that you didn’t complete his baby book won’t even matter to him!
    I didn’t fill my pregnancy book in for different reasons so Iv made up for it with her memory box, just a few little bits for us both to look through, and an empty pregnancy book which I will explain to her when she’s old enough!
    Our babies know we love them xxxx

    • thesingleswan
      August 17, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks Gemma. I appreciate your comment. I still haven’t started writing in the baby book again. For different reasons this time. A memory box is a lovely idea though. I will give it a go.

      Take care. x

  17. October 30, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    I am in the same situation with my son’s first year photo book. I stopped at 6 months. I hate it. I should be about to finish his 3rd year. I love your letter. Your son will understand x

    • thesingleswan
      November 1, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      Hi Hannah, I hope so. Loads of love. x

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