Hey sister, I see you. Holding your precious new baby, tears of awe and terror streaming down your face. I see you, wondering how on earth you got here and when this heavy, agonizing pressure on your chest is going to go away. I see you, struggling to breathe as you bring baby, once again, to your breast.
I see the way your heart both explodes with love and shatters with grief each time you kiss his sweet head. I see the way you drink in his smell, willing yourself to just be here in this moment, begging yourself to breathe and trust in God. I see the way your eyes have changed, the way you have shifted and morphed into this person, this new role. I see you, trying out your new legs as you walk, like a newborn yourself, into this vastly unfamiliar and foreign new world.
I hear the way you laugh in wonderment as baby searches for your familiar scent and the way you cry in fear as you wonder if you really have what it takes to keep this little one alive. I hear you as you pray, over and over to God, to help you breathe, to help you relax, to help you enjoy this chapter. I hear you as you wonder to yourself if this is as hard for anyone else. I see you comparing yourself to the moms around you, as you assess their smiles looking for a sign that you are not the only one. I hear the way you convince yourself that asking for help is not OK, that you can get through this alone, that nobody needs to know.
I hear your footsteps as you pace the floor with him, singing through tears and grasping for comfort from the hymns of your childhood. I feel you as you pick your exhausted and weary bones up, time and time again in the dark and wee hours of the night. I see the path you are treading in the darkness, back and forth back and forth, from baby’s bed to yours; putting in the thankless and noble work of keeping him both fed and safe. I see how you hold him. How you sing to him and rock him and care from him even when nobody else is watching, even when you are all alone and it feels as if the loneliness could eat you alive. I hear you as you cry out to God, wondering where He is.
I wish I could come back in time somehow, hold you, tell you what I know now. I want you to know that this will not last forever. I want to whisper that God is always, always, always with you, even when you can’t feel Him. I want to sing those hymns with you and promise you that God loves you and He will not waste this. I want to tell you to breathe, to pray, to trust in Him. I want to hug you until you’re forced to give up some of that control. I want you to understand that you are not supposed to have it all together.
I want to hold your hand and bring you outside, to show you that the world is still there and you are not alone. I wish I could dial up your sister and give you the phone, help you find the words to say as you explain the heaviness and emptiness inside of you. I want you to know that your husband loves you so much and that you guys are in this together.
I want you to know that motherhood is hard and challenging and these tears of grief you cry are nothing to be ashamed of. I want you to know that someday you will hold your baby against your chest and great big fat tears of happiness will saturate his head as you feel the wonderment and grace of motherhood without anxiety. I want you to see him now. Today, the way he looks at you and says “I love you momma” in that sweet raspy little voice of his. The way he runs to grab a diaper for his little brother and the way his eyes light up when he sees the snow falling. I want you to see him as he runs and climbs and jumps, the way his smirk makes your heart stop and the way the bond between he and his daddy brings tears to your eyes.
I wish I could send you a picture of him in church last Sunday, as he looked up at his daddy’s arm around your shoulder and reached his chubby little fingers up to rest on your neck too, just like daddy. The way he looked up at you with glowing eyes and as the congregation sang you bowed your head and shed tears of immense gratitude for the love and mercy of Jesus.
I wish you could see yourself now, too. The way you have begun to fill these new shoes. The way your heart explodes with love for your husband and the way it feels to watch your two boys giggling and playing together. The way you pick yourself up, time and time again, and the way your family and friends rally around you and cheer you on.
I wish you could see, even just taste, the life that is beginning to unfold for you. The way your dreams and hopes make your heart beat louder and the way you’ve blossomed as you continue to let go and trust in God. I want you to know that this chapter of your life, the sleepless nights and the intense anxiety, are molding you into the person God wants you to be.
I want you to hear me when I say that the only way out of this is through it and you have what it takes. You were made for this, all of it. None of it is a mistake and you are doing such a good job. I want you to know that you are not alone and the bravest thing you can do is ask for help. I want to tell you to keep singing those songs, to keep looking for God, to cling to what little faith you have left. I want you to trust that someday you will look back and feel so thankful for every single tear you are shedding right now.
I want to come back and walk through this with you. Oh how I wish I could come hold your hand, but I know this is not God’s will so instead, I will sit and watch and wait for you as you stumble your way through. I will stand here and shed my own tears as I watch in wonderment at the way this chapter is unfolding for you.
I will stay here and love you, me, this former shadow of who I am now, and I will make you this promise. If I can, if God so wills, I will take what I have learned, these words and lessons I want to give you, and extend them to the women around me now. I want to promise you that I will not let these lessons go to waste and that together with God, we will try to be even a little beacon of light for some other struggling mama.
I love you.
Carry on, I will see you on the other side.
Love, Me, You, Us.
You may also like: