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  • Patty Laurel Was 'Filled With Regret' Because She Didn't Have Breast Milk for Her Son

    The model and blogger says "motherhood did not come easy for me, and I am still learning."
    by SmartParenting Staff .
  • Patty Laurel-Filart, whose birthing story we wrote back in 2016, is an events host, model, and lifestyle blogger at www.pattylaurel.com. She wrote this letter when she was still a new mom to Theo (born on July 5, 2015). In April 2018, she gave birth to her baby girl, Astrid. She has been married to Patrick since 2012.

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    My darling Theo,

    “I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life” was a cheesy song that played at our high school prom. The lyrics sounded so fantastical and fanciful. I was a wide-eyed, naive teenager at that time, but even I didn’t buy it. Believing in a love like that was almost like believing that unicorns existed. And yet here I am today at 33, with a good, heavy load of life experiences, supposedly wiser and more rational than my teenybopper self — and now I am totally owning that line like it’s my life’s mantra. Because in many ways, it is a truth for me and your father. It basically sums up our love story as parents.

    Long before we met you, you were always there — carefully stationed in our minds as the most exciting “what if ” that would trump all the strings of “if”s and “maybe”s that would come along. We carved out a space in our hearts just for you, even before you were conceived. Our hearts were beating for you, even before we heard yours. The thought of you brought butterflies to our bellies and made us kilig beyond words.

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    Patty's shoot with Smart Parenting when Theo was just less than a month shy away of his first birthday.
    PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

    As marvelous and wonderful as it seemed back then, the dream of you pales in comparison to what you are to us right now. And it’s all because our idea of best is nowhere near God’s best! You are God’s best for us, our little Theo. He made every cell, every fiber in you for a purpose. And we hope that even in our own imperfection, we may be God’s best for you too as parents in the years to come.

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    Motherhood did not come easy for me, and I am still learning. But day by day, God’s faithfulness is revealed. I was faced with many challenges early on, the biggest of which was getting hospitalized again just four weeks after you were born. Being away from you for almost a week was the most painful experience of my life. More than the excruciating pain my body had to endure, the emotional longing to be with you and the depression was more than I could bear. After being practically bedridden and in immense pain for a whole month since you came into this world, I had to undergo surgery and end my breastfeeding journey. To this day, I am still filled with regret and shame knowing that my body failed to nourish you with the most wonderful gift: breast milk.

    I remember just saying sorry to you over and over again and crying in disbelief. But you would always look at me with the most loving eyes, almost as if you were comforting me with a “Don’t worry, Mama. We will be okay! I still love you.” Thank you for being so patient and understanding with your mama, my little one.

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    Not only did you survive, you showed the world that you could truly thrive despite these limitations. At every checkup, you showed amazing developmental progress and you’ve been blessed with great health ever since. This is proof that indeed the Lord has been faithful in nourishing you in His spirit! It has been such a humbling experience for me as a mother, and I know now that you truly belong to Him fully.

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    Every day, I see myself in you, sweetheart. First of all, you are such a good-looking little human. With those marshmallow cheeks and a cute nose, you are stinking CUTE. And I would like to take 80% of the credit for that. Your father can contest this, but between you and me, you know who the real winner is. MOM always wins. Hahaha! But just like me, you are incredibly spunky, precocious, and kengkoy with a thousand facial expressions. And then there are traits that mirror that of your father — adventurous and brave. Just like your dad, you like welcoming challenges and pushing yourself to great heights (much to the worry of your mother who catches you in very compromising acrobatic positions!). You are never dismayed by failed attempts and are even motivated to try again despite encountering setbacks. Your perseverance always pays off and I always stand in awe of how you manage to learn something new all by yourself.

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    And yet even if in many ways you are an intricate weave of me and Patrick, you also stand on your own two feet. At just 10 months old, you have a sureness about you that makes me feel mighty proud. You are your own unique person and you know it! With your intellect, skills, and talents, you will be dreaming your own dreams, pursuing your own passions, and fulfilling your own purpose. It is our prayer that all these point straight to Jesus and that as your parents, we will never get in the way of you living your life to serve and honor Him. You are a ball of energy, and we can only imagine great things as you start to direct that energy into living for Jesus and being a champion for others.

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    I thank the Lord each day for making me and Patrick your stewards in this world.  That even in our imperfection, we were chosen out of the billions of people to be your parents. Ultimately, you belong to Him and we trust that the Lord is in control of every little detail in your life. You have taught us about God’s grace and unfailing love just by being you!

    Oh, what an exciting adventure God has prepared for you!!! Your dad and I can’t wait to witness it all firsthand. We love you, Theo Oliver Filart.

    Forever yours,

    Mama (and Dada)

    This letter was originally published in the book Letters to My Children, a compilation of heartwarming notes penned by public figures and celebrities for their kids. The book is published by Summit Books.

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