Dear first-time mom,
I remember being you. Filled with life for the first time. Anticipating the arrival of my very first child, transitioning into the role of motherhood. I remember the determination I had to succeed. The knowledge I absorbed. The fear I had that I wouldn’t be able to be the Mom I had always longed to be, not to mention the fact that I had to push this new life out.
I’ve been exactly where you are now. I know the feeling of nausea combined with gratitude. I know the feelings of flutters in my belly for the first time. I know the fear you have before an ultrasound, or while the midwife is searching for the heartbeat. I’ve been there.
And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I find myself here: A “been there done that” mom.
My youngest “baby” is potty trained, speaks in full sentences and has been weaned from all things baby. All the furniture I once found annoying and bulky has vacated my home. Now, I am a mom of children I have to raise. On the cusp of the teenage years with my oldest, and complete with my family. My baby days are gone.
Most of the time I have peace about it. Logically, I know we are done adding to our family. Sometimes it just takes time for my feelings and my hormones to catch up, and sometimes I find I’m in the grieving phase.
It’s funny, in the end of pregnancy we long for nothing more but the ending, sick of the discomfort, excited to meet our fresh new life, and just d-o-n-e cooking that little one. But on this side of the fence, it’s so hard to look back with experienced eyes knowing how fast it’s all gone.
I remember being you, and finding “been there done that” advice kind of annoying, because this was my baby and I was going to do it MY way after all. Please understand not all “been there done that” moms offer you advice because we are pushy and think we know-it-all, but rather our hearts are yearning for the very days you’re now in.
Never once in those days did I imagine how hard it would be to be a finished “been there done that” mom whose baby days are behind her. I never recognized those well-meaning mommas were giving me advice out of love, and also out of experience and sadness that this phase of life has moved so quickly.
I know first-hand how much things change. I gave birth four times in eight years, and rules and guidelines changed in between each of my children about certain things, so I am grieving that my “current” knowledge isn’t current. My knowledge is growing to be outdated, the same as moms who did this before me did. That’s hard.
It’s hard to know we’re done. It’s hard to know that though my head and heart is full of experience I must let you figure it out yourself, just like I wanted to when I was a first-time mom like you. It’s hard to know my turn is done, as I watch you with rose-colored sunglasses on begin on your journey.
So please, remember that us “been there done that” moms always mean well when we offer advice. It’s coming from a place of genuine love for the role. By all means, ask us—we can then happily answer knowing we aren’t annoying you with our unsolicited advice. It makes me so thankful when people search for advice from me, because that is a reminder that I am indeed a “been there done that” mom, but also that I’ve done well enough to be considered trustworthy for advice.
The greatest compliment you can give us “been there done that” moms is respect for where we are, as we try not to step over our well-meaning bounds.
Do us a favor: enjoy every moment. Someday without you even realizing, you will join our ranks. Though it seems like forever when you’re in the thick of it, it is gone all too quickly.
A been there done that mom
PS—Don’t forget to give us snuggles when that baby does come. No one knows better than us how nice to is to have someone else hold your baby so you can eat your meal while it’s warm, or shower, or just give your arms a rest.