Right before my son Wade was born, I began to feel a sadness come over me.

It wasn’t anything major nor was it anything to be alarmed by. It was just a grief at the realization that once he was outside of my body, he was no longer just mine.

The process of “letting go”—of allowing your child to become increasingly independent even when it breaks your heart—well, for me it started before my son was even born.

I knew that once he was out, Wade belonged to the rest of the world.

As the time for Wade to make his appearance drew near, I began to mourn the end of pregnancy—the part of my life and his that was intricately intertwined. A phase that went by so fast. A time that I would never get back.

I loved being pregnant. I loved the strange, almost-alien experience of feeling this tiny human start to dance and move inside of me.

I felt so privileged to be the vessel holding him while he was growing and gearing up to be earthside.

But as my due date drew near, I realized I would never be his sole source of nourishment and comfort again. Once he was out, I knew others would want to build their own bond with him and I just was not ready for that.

And then Wade was born and I instantly felt a love like I had never felt before. He was born at 10:17 at night and I was so exhausted that I could barely keep my eyes open— but all I wanted to do was stay up and stare at him. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I know they say nothing in this world is perfect but at that moment, I felt that perfection did exist and it existed in him. He was my everything. He still is my everything. He will always be my everything.

But if I thought sharing him with others was going to be hard before he was born, it was even harder in reality.

I got home from the hospital and for those next few days, I was surrounded by so much love and support and—of course—everyone wanted to have their time with Wade. I will always be grateful for Wade having so much love from family and friends but that didn’t make it easy to let go of him. Every time someone took him, I felt both thankful and sad. Thankful for a break and thankful that he has so much love—and sad to let him go, even if a tiny bit.

All I want to do is be with him but I know that’s next to impossible and it’s not in his best interest. Both Wade and I need him to be with other people that aren’t me because he needs to have his own life. No matter how much I might feel like I’m missing out whenever someone else is with him, my baby is his own person and he needs to have his own life and a lot of times, that won’t involve me.

And I’m growing to accept that.

Wade is only 3 months and I feel like time is already speeding by. I really try not to rush him when it comes to milestones like crawling and sitting up. I want to always be present to him in the here and now.

And I want him to be present to each stage in his own life—not wishing his life away with thoughts of future.

Life is made up of moments—small moments in which we experience growth and change, separation and togetherness.

I love this boy more than life itself. And that love means letting go, too.