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This is how getting into a boat crash led me to becoming a mom

To: My daughter Natalia

From: Diana Hart (As told to Lauren Brill)

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To my daughter Natalia, 

For many years, I didn’t know if I would ever have a child. It wasn’t something I thought about much. But on Mother’s day, 2016, three years before you were born, my whole thought process changed. 

I went boating with friends – a laid-back day trip, where we planned to snorkel and hang out. We stopped for lunch and on the way back from lunch, we crashed headfirst into a channel marker. My body flew from the back of the boat to the front. My friend landed on top of me. At one point, both of us lost consciousness. A helicopter rescued us and transported us to the hospital. There were moments I didn’t know if I was going to survive. 

I fractured my spine, tailbone, sacrum and seven ribs. My lung collapsed and I also sustained a traumatic brain injury. 

When I got to my room in the Intensive Care Unit, I kept telling the nurse, “I want to go home. I don’t want to be here.”

The doctors put a chest tube in my lung, so the nurse explained I wouldn’t be going home anytime soon. 

Frustrated, scared and in pain, the nurse then said to me, “Don’t worry. Once you do leave, you won’t be in the hospital again, except for when you have a baby.”

That comment sparked something in my brain as I thought to myself, “Oh my God, I am going to come to the hospital one day and have a baby. “

Before I could even get over the shock of nearly losing my life, I started to fantasize about my future – a future that included you. 

Suddenly, I was in less pain. I chose to avoid taking opioids as much as possible throughout my recovery, knowing that my body would one day house you, my baby. Every single day, for five months, I went to physical therapy. For two years, I received injections in my spine. From the food I put in my body to the way I stayed committed to my recovery, I did it all with you in mind. 

Then, in May 2018, just two years after my accident, I discovered I was pregnant with you. At first, I was terrified. My body was still a little broken and I had no idea if I was healthy and strong enough to carry a baby. But once I got over that fear, I was overjoyed. 

My purpose in life was no longer my job or my philosophies on the world. I knew when I got pregnant that everything in my life would be centered around you. 

The second you were born, I kept asking questions. 

“How is she? “

“Is she breathing OK?” 

“What does she look like?”

 “Can I hold her?” 

I barely even noticed that they were suturing me up from my C-section. 

When I finally got to look at you, I was crying, as I was amazed by how beautiful and perfect you were at that moment. 

Today, you are two years old. While you won’t read this letter until you are much older, I want you to know that we already have so much fun together. You are my best friend and little sidekick. Daily, we exercise together, go to the park and walk the dog. Also, a lot of painting goes down in our home. 

Every day, you amaze me. You are so creative with your thoughts.  Sometimes, you will take a bunch of rocks and make up a whole scenario about them, like building a house with them or knocking them over and turning them into a little family of rocks. 

You are so inquisitive. I can’t just tell you the name of something. You want to know what letter that name starts with and where they live and what they do. It will be 2:00pm in the afternoon and I will be Googling giraffes, trying to give you more answers.

Loving and smart, you are a perfect little human. Since you came into my life, the way I see the world has changed. Beautiful things are more beautiful and dangerous things are more dangerous.   

Natalia, more than anything, I want you to know that I love being your mom. 

Even on days when motherhood is hard or it’s tiring or on the nights that I don’t get a lot of sleep at all, you are still my greatest joy. There’s nothing in the world that makes me happier during every minute of every day than being your mom. 

On Mother’s Day 2016, the thought of you got me through the toughest day of my life. Now that you’re here, you are absolutely the best part of my life. 

So, while Mother’s Day is supposed to be about celebrating moms, on this day, and every other day, I celebrate you.

Mommy (Diana Hart)
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