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May 6, 2016 7:00 AM EDT

My beautiful daughter,

I used to worry that, because I didn’t give birth to you, you wouldn’t feel like you were my child. I’ve been insecure about that since before you were born. I was worried that you’d feel less of a connection to me because we do not share blood and because I did not carry you inside me. That job was done beautifully and selflessly by your Mama, the woman I love more than anyone.

But I’ve realized that, even though I may not have carried you in my belly, I have long held you in my heart. You are still my daughter, born after months of failed attempt after failed attempt to conceive. The physical pain your Mama went through from the needles and invasive tests were nothing compared to the emotional toll we endured through every unsuccessful try. Through six rounds of expensive fertility treatments, we struggled to keep our faith. And then we had you.

I should have known that you were my child, too, from the moment I first held you. Minutes after you were born, you looked up at me with your beautiful ocean-blue eyes. I was overcome with peace and a fullness I had never known before. You snuggled into me, wholly unconcerned with the harsh hospital lights and the cries of the other brand-new humans in the recovery room. You must have felt safe. I placed my finger into your tiny palm, and you gently curled your even tinier fingers around it. In that moment, I knew that I would always do everything I could to protect you.

But I still had my fears. When your birth certificate needed to be fixed after it listed you as having a mom and a dad, instead of two moms, I worried about the path we were setting you on—a life where you’d have to explain and sometimes justify having two moms. I forgot that all that really matters is that you have two parents who love you more than anything.

Related: Why We Need to End the Stigma Around Freezing Eggs

I used to think that being a mother meant never being afraid and knowing all the answers. Now I know that there is a lot of courage in admitting that you’re scared and unsure of the decisions you’re making. In the eight months that I’ve been your mom, not a day goes by where I’m not terrified in some way. Questions ranging from the banal, “Did we overdress you?” to the heavy hitters like, “Did we make the right choice by choosing an anonymous donor?” run through my head every single day, like a song on repeat. But there also hasn’t been a day when you failed to give me the courage I needed to see myself through my anthem of self-doubt.

So, my beautiful girl, on my first Mothers’ Day, while I’m celebrating being the mom who carried you in her heart, please know that, from the very beginning, you were the one who’s taken my hand and shown me the way.

All my love,


Lacey Vorrasi-Banis is a freelance writer. She lives in New York City with her wife and daughter.

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