I was 21 when I got pregnant with my first son. He was a big surprise. I was just starting my third year of undergrad at the University of Toronto and Jason and I had been dating officially for just over six months. (Yes, shocking, I know.) In other words, it was a highly inconvenient time to get pregnant. It was also a tough time that pulled us and our families in very different directions. Anger, confusion, and depression were my daily companions — anything but happiness.
It was then that my mom and dad decided to start calling the fetus “Little Blessing.” This infuriated me beyond words because, in my angry eyes, the pregnancy was more of a ball-and-chain or a lifelong prison sentence than a blessing of any size; and yet they persisted. Mom or Dad would call me every day and ask cheerfully, “So how’s Little Blessing doing?” I pleaded with them to stop, to respect my feelings about the pregnancy instead of always trying to put a happy spin on things, but they refused. Finally, they agreed to shorten it to L.B. so that it no longer felt like a verbal slap in the face every time they said it aloud, but even the initials continued to rankle me.
As these things have a way of happening, calling the baby “L.B.” gradually started to feel normal. “What did the midwife say about L.B.?” “Have you felt L.B. kick yet?” I even started using it myself. Of course I still couldn’t think of it as a blessing in disguise, so I told myself that it really just stood for “Little Bean.” I could handle that. By the time L.B. was born in August 2009, I felt genuinely excited and maybe even happy, but still unconvinced that it went so far as a “blessing.” As usual, I found my parents’ enthusiasm for life rather exaggerated. (That’s just how they operate, which works great for them.)
Jason and I registered the birth online and chose his name. A couple weeks later, his birth certificate, health card, and social insurance number arrived in the mail. I stared at the surreal piece of paper, proclaiming to the world that I, Katherine, had given birth to a son. It still seemed impossible. Then I looked at his health card. Right there, at the end of a long string of numbers, were two letters: L.B. I burst into tears. How those particular letters were randomly selected to be part of his health card number I couldn’t imagine, but there they were, permanent and meaningful.
I guess my parents were right all along. He was meant to be my little blessing from the very beginning, even though I didn’t believe it. Now I know for certain that he is.