A Letter to My Unborn Son

May 05, 2020

Today, May 7, is National Child Mental Health Awareness Day. Each year, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. For Quell-advocate and volunteer Dan Van Wert, the anticipation of the birth of his upcoming son inspired him to write the letter below in the Fall of 2015. We are proud to share it with you today.


Dear William,

I don’t know what to expect upon your birth, except that everything will change. I haven’t always adapted well to change in the past, but I believe this will be different. My life has been far from perfect. I’ve endured a lot of pain, sadness, and disappointment. I know I can’t always shield you from experiencing these emotions, but I will do everything in my power to protect you from harm, even with my own life if necessary, and I’ll try to give you the happiest childhood possible. I will always support you and be in your corner throughout your life. I will love you no matter what. I am excited to teach you to read, to write, to play baseball, to cook, to ride a bike. I want to see you grow and develop your own sense of humor, to see what things spark your interest and passion. I will support you in whatever you choose to study and pursue as a career. I will love you if you are straight. If you are gay, I will love you just the same.

I will try to help you appreciate the little beautiful things in the world: the light of a fire, the smell of honeysuckle, the nostalgia of music. There are so many beautiful things for you to see, experience, and remember.

Most of all, I hope to teach you to be a good man, to make friends, and to love them with all of your heart; to be kind to the people around you and help them when they are having a difficult time. You will have classmates, teammates, friends, and you will undoubtedly meet people who you don’t understand. But treat them all with respect, and try to see that everyone is trying to do the best they can.

There are a lot of things that are up in the air. The future is uncertain and never turns out in exactly the way you expect, but we will figure it out together as we go. I know that I will be a better man for having met you, and will love you for the rest of my days and beyond.

Your Daddy

Are you interested in sharing your story with The Quell Foundation? Email liftthemask@thequellfoundation.org to learn more.