Dear new mama,
It’s going to be hard. It is going to be scary. There will be days when you feel you will never be able to make it. You are going to reach levels of exhaustion you never knew existed. Your postpartum body will feel foreign to you, and you won’t recognize the woman in the mirror. In the chaos of adjustment, you won’t find the time to shower, and you will wonder how many days you can wear the same oversized, spit-up coated hoodie. You will feel gross and unattractive. But you are going to make it.
You will feel like a failure. You will feel worn down. You’ll second-guess every decision. You’ll compare every milestone. From here on out, not a moment will go by that you are not thinking about your baby and his ever-changing and demanding needs. You will feel used, confused, and not yourself. But you are going to make it.
You will wonder what you were thinking. You will vow to never have another. You will cry. You will lose your patience.
You will wonder why you aren’t the mother you always dreamed you would be. But you are going to make it.
Everyone talks about love at first sight, and the overwhelming feeling of a mother’s love, but what if you don’t experience that right off the bat? What if when you first lay your eyes on that tiny, squalling stranger, you don’t feel that magic moment? It’s OK. It will come.
You’ll feel like you can’t talk about the hard and ugly sides of mothering. After all, no one else seems to be struggling as they post their picture-perfect moments. There is no shame in struggling, there is no shame in things not being perfect all the time. The truth is we are all right there with you, just surviving to make it through the days that seem to never end.
It is OK to momentarily grieve the loss of your former life.
Your life will be totally different, and it will seem so wrong that the rest of the world keeps turning. How can everyone else’s life be moving on as if nothing happened? You will feel isolated and alone in this new challenge. But you aren’t. There are millions of moms who are marching this difficult path with you, and though we may not talk about it much, we understand. We are cheering you on.
One day, just when you feel your sleepless nights and aching body will never come to an end, your newborn will give you their first gummy smile. At that moment, a small ray of light will pierce through the thick clouds that have been hanging over you. A laugh will come a few weeks later—the light will grow brighter. They will say their first “mama” and give you that first sloppy, wet, open-mouthed baby kiss.
A thousand little rays of light will continue to break through the clouds until one day you are watching your baby graduate. The sun is shining full force, and you are so proud of the man or woman they have become. They are worth it. They are worth every bit of it.
So keep going, weary mama.
Drink a coffee, get a pedicure, say a prayer, and then get back to it! You are going to make it. Find joy in the little rays of light, bask in the warmth of every precious moment. It may not feel like it now, but somehow along the way you will realize you aren’t just going to make it, you are going to love it.
A fellow mama who sometimes wonders if I’ll make it