On Babies and Bravery

When I found out he was coming, I was terrified.

I was afraid for all the hurt and tears and pain that might be waiting for the people I loved the most – my brother, my niece or nephew, my sister-in-love who seemed naively optimistic.  I couldn’t untangle my grief over Jay being arrested with the news that he was going to be a father.

But she knew better.

Bre, my brother’s girlfriend, spoke of their unborn child with nothing but abundant love and hope from the very beginning.  She fought back when I tried to make her see reason and insisted that she would choose optimism.  She stood her stubbornly happy ground until the rest of us came around.

Me, Bre and my nephew.

And of course, we did.  Because the fear was always rooted in love and a deep desire to protect the ones we loved – both here and not yet here – from heartache.  But eventually the love and hope wins out and you realize that you have to let go of the fear if you’re going to make room for the magic.

And oh, Lord, there is so much magic to let in.

My mom and Jude Michael

Jude Michael was born at 10:46 Friday morning. He weighed 7 pounds, 11.5 ounces and measured 20 inches long.

His mother amazed even my mother, a nurse and a woman who has given birth to three children herself and been present at all of her grandchildren’s births.  She was strong and brave, just as she has been since the day she found out she was going to be his mother.

Bre and Jude

I am in awe of this woman.  She endured a pregnancy alone without self pity.  She is always doing, “pretty well, I think.  You know, we’re doing the best we can.”

She humbles me.

When my mom called to share the news with me yesterday, she told me that they had called Jay right after the birth.  My heart exploded in my chest and silent tears instantly poured down my cheeks.  Standing in a kitchen 1400 miles away, I was crushed by the sadness of what had been missed, of what could never be recaptured.  My body ached with longing.  I was at once inside my brother’s heart, swimming in his pain, and inside the heart of a big sister who was desperate to find a way to make things better.

“I think we’re coping pretty well,” Bre said when I asked how she and Jay were holding up.  I swallowed my sadness.  If she could face her life with so much grace and strength, I could certainly do the same as an outsider wanting to hold them up.

I do not know where she gets her strength, but I am both grateful for it and ashamed that she had to lead us.

I could not wish for a better mother for my beautiful nephew.


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  1. Avitable says:

    With Bre’s optimism and the inner strength of your family, Jude is going to be awesome. Congratulations to Bre and Jay and your entire family at the new addition.

  2. briya says:

    Beautiful! Congratulations, auntie!

  3. briya says:

    So beautiful! Congratulations, auntie!

  4. Nanna says:

    Crying now. And oh so beautifully put.

  5. Hockeymandad says:

    Congrats to your family on the new arrival, he’s adorable!

  6. Kat1124 says:

    Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful nephew, Britt.

  7. Lisa says:

    He’s beautiful!! Congratulations to your family!

  8. Becca says:

    He’s beautiful, tell Bre and Jay to say strong!! They are in my thoughts often!

  9. Finn says:

    Amazing what occasions we can rise to. Congratulations to Bre and Jay and your whole family.

  10. I had no idea. I’m sorry for all the pain you and your family are going through. So hard.

    Congrats on that GORGEOUS baby boy and his beautiful and brave mama!!!

    Wishing you all happiness and peace….


  11. She’s found her strength in that little baby.

    Congrats to you all!

  12. Nancy says:

    Congratulations to Jay, Bre and your entire family.

    Children demand the most strength from us and, in return, grant us the most hope.

  13. fogspinner says:

    Congrats to all of you, mostly to Bre and Jay. I’m amazed how the time has flown. Congrats again.

  14. Rayne says:

    That was great Britt. It is hard to get past the hurt and realize the wonders in life but this is a clear sign those wonders exist. Congratulations to Jay and Bre!

  15. Shelley says:

    He is magic! Amazing how someone so small can complete so many people. Congrats to you and your whole family!

  16. Tina says:

    I am new here to your blog, so I did not know about your brother before. But it strikes a chord with me. Although he has not gone so far (yet) my kid brother struggles with the same kind of choices. It’s been painful to watch. Congrats on the birth of your new adorable nephew. It sounds like he will have LOTS of family to support him as he grows up.

  17. Maria says:

    He’s beautiful. His family is beautiful.

  18. Oh wow I am bawling crying over here. Congratulations to you all, especially to the beautiul Jude’s mother, what an amazing person she must be. Your nephew is so adorable, my ovaries ache. Best wishes to you all.

  19. Faiqa says:

    What a strong, beautiful and wonderful woman Bre is… she’s already a fantastic mother. Much blessings and love from all of us to each of you.

  20. Peggy says:

    I know how you feel and I never take saying that lightly. My brother died in a motorcycle accident when his girlfriend was 4 months pregnant. It takes an overwhelming amount of strength and love and you’re family has that. Congratulations on the birth of a beautiful baby boy.

  21. Selma says:

    Bre’s strength and focus are admirable. I am inspired by her sense of optimism. What a beautiful baby. Knowing he is here just makes me smile. Much love and peace to all of you XX

  22. Heather says:

    OMGAH, he is precious. Congratulations on your newest member of your family! :)

  23. Welcome, baby Jude. Happy, happy birthday. Always know that you are loved.

  24. Baby Jude is gorgeous! Bre truly is an amazing woman and from what I can gather so are you & your mom. Many blessings to your family.

  25. anymommy says:

    Now I’m sobbing. Happy birthday baby Jude and welcome to an amazing family. XO.

  26. Amy says:

    Oh welcome to the world little Jude. He is so sweet and precious – congratulations Auntie!! With a momma like his, there is no doubt that he will grow to be a strong, sweet, little boy.

  27. mike says:

    So cute! thanks for sharing this personal story.

  28. Darla says:

    Congratulations!!! He is gorgeous!

  29. Wow! I just found your blog and I’m hooked. So honest and beautiful and complicated.
    Love. Love. Love.

  30. jodifur says:

    Congratulations of becoming an aunt. My nephew is one of my favorite people in the world.

    Children are better the more people who love them. I’m sorry for your brother and your family, but the more people who love this little guy, the better.

  31. muskrat says:

    Babies who don’t stay overnight in your house are awesome!

  32. Sherry says:

    He’s amazing and lucky to have such a good mom. Sending as many good vibes their way as I can!

  33. Bonda84 says:

    He is beautiful!! Congrats!!

  34. Superjules says:

    What a beautiful baby. Much love to you and your family <3 <3

  35. Bre says:

    This is the most touching thing I’ve read. I’m going to print it and put it in an envelope. Jay and I decided to start a tradition and write our children (yes, there will be more) letters before they’re born. This post will be given to Jude with those letters.
    And to all of the heartfelt commenters: Thank you so much for your love and support! My strength comes from God and my comfort from the extensive support network He laid in place for us. My friends, as Bob Marley says “Ev’ry little thing gon’ be all right”. We just don’t know *when* yet but in the meantime Jude will bind us together. Much love and appreciation from our corner of the world!!

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