Dear New Mom,
Hi. It’s me, your future self. I come in peace, but even better yet, I come with something maybe more valuable than peace; hindsight. I want to talk to you about this Mr.-Toad’s-Wild-Ride-of-an-experience that we call Motherhood. And I want to tell you that while you really, really may not believe it in this very moment; You got this. (I promise).
I want you to know that regardless of what social media might have you believe, every new mother struggles. I mean that–every last one of them. Regardless of how ‘easy’ or ‘good’ a baby is, it is still a baby. Which makes them 100% dependent and unable to meet their own needs. That is a lot of pressure, even for the rock-starriest of moms. Pictures say a thousand words, but pictures also lie. Remember that the next time you get caught up in a social media scroll-a-thon.
I want you to know that I see you struggling to just make it out of the house so that you can feel like a sliver of a human, despite many, many lost hours of sleep. Has anyone commended you today for even attempting to leave the ease of your nest? I am here to say, kudos to you. The reality is that the tinier the human, the more stuff they require. It may not ever get easy to leave the house with your child, but the load will eventually lighten.
Transitioning, (let’s call it what it is) in to motherhood is a spiritual and wonderful experience, but it can also be incredibly lonely. (Have you noticed that?) I used to wonder why women didn’t ‘warn’ me about matters like this before my baby came. What I have concluded is that I wouldn’t have heard them, even if they had. (Maybe they did!?) I want you to know that you are not alone. Call it a right of passage, if you will.
Perhaps physically you are alone with your baby in the middle of the night, while the rest of the people and pets in your home sleep peacefully. (I’m campaigning to change the saying from ‘sleeping like a baby’; to ‘sleeping like a husband’.) But rest assure, you are in fantastic company. You are part of a Mama Wolfpack, many of whom haven’t truly slept in months, (maybe even years). Thoughts of self-doubt and even feelings of mourning your ‘old life’ (before baby), are completely normal, but ride it out mama, because it will pass.
Speaking of self-doubt, I want to talk to you about the way you’ve been talking to yourself lately–especially the way you talk about your post-baby body. Knock that off. That very body we speak of grew and housed an entire other person. Just marinate on that for a minute. Pretty incredible, right? What is more important than bringing a life in to this world? I honestly can’t think of one thing; not a flat stomach, smooth skin, sexy bikini, narrow hips–none of it. So when your mind wanders to that dark place of self-criticism, (because let’s be honest, it will at times), remember how fantastically capable and beautiful your body is.
The last thing I want to say to you is this: Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being imperfect, but also know that there is no one more perfect than you, to be your child’s mother. Forgive yourself for learning as you go, because that is what motherhood is. Forgive yourself for losing your patience sometimes, because we all do. Forgive yourself for the hard moments and celebrate the beautiful ones. Forgive your messy house, dirty dishes and mountains of laundry that seem to accumulate faster than you can fold. Forgive your husband or partner for also being imperfect, (they are learning as they go, too).
The days are long, but the months are fast. Just as you think you have it all figured out, your sweet baby will change the plans on you. Expect it. Embrace it. Laugh about it. Celebrate it.
Motherhood may not be or look exactly like you though it would, but this is it. You have arrived. You were meant for this. But most importantly, you got this.