How desperately I wish you could read this as you stand at the precipice of parenthood.
I know how scared you are as you enter this next chapter of life. How you can’t shake that incessant voice insisting you are not prepared to be a parent. That nagging feeling that you are going to mess up this beautiful life that has been entrusted to you.
I know your biggest fear. The one you don’t dare tell anyone.
The fear that you will be like your mother.
That you will follow in the only footsteps you know, ones that have led to pain—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Fear is a liar.
You are going to be a great mama.
I won’t sugarcoat it, parenthood will be challenging.
There will be moments when you want to cry along with your baby, when you want to have a meltdown like your toddler, and when you wish more than anything you had your own mother to turn to.
You will hold out hope that this amazing little boy who made you a mother will reveal your own to be a nurturing grandmother.
Eventually, you will come to terms with the fact that she is not capable of change, but that you are.
You will do better because you know better.
You will protect rather than hurt. Because you know the pain of what it feels like when the one person who is supposed to be your defender invites the boogeyman in rather than protects you from him.
You will encourage rather than tear down. Because you know what it feels like to look for a kind word but be met with a condescending one instead.
You will show up rather than find an excuse not to. Because you know how crushing it feels to hope that this time will be different just to realize that once again there will always be something more important than you.
You will parent your child rather than have your child parent you. Because you know what it feels like to have the weight of the world on your shoulders at a young age rather than be able to enjoy the carefree years of childhood.
You will finally put up the boundaries that should have been put in place years ago.
Because you will never allow your child to feel how you did, but just as importantly, you realize that you deserve to never feel that way again either.
Unlike the experiences of other women, the commonality of parenthood will not bring you closer to your mother, rather it will stretch the already thin rope of your relationship to its breaking point.
And that’s okay. You can, and you will, thrive at being a role model to your son without the support of your mother.
When you look at your son, you will realize that your past does not determine your future.
Because you know the cycle ends with you and you will choose to learn from, not repeat, the past.
I wish I could look you in your tear-filled eyes and tell you all of this, but I can’t because you have to come to these revelations in your own time.
When you do, you will realize that not only are you meant to be a mother, but that you were given a tremendous gift.
The gift of breaking the chains of your past and the opportunity to create a bright future not only for your son but also for yourself.
You’ve got this, I promise.
The woman and mother you will become