I saw you standing there, in front of my crazy gaggle of children in my huge jumbo cart. I saw you with your tiny little pink onesies in your basket. You were carrying a basket because you didn’t need anything larger to cart around children. Or 3 gallons of milk. Or a box of diapers and a bag of pull-ups. It was just you.
I’m due in November, you told the checker. It’s my first.
I looked on, mama-to-be, and I had thoughts swirling around in my mind. All of the things I wanted to say jumbled into one large mess. All of the things that I wanted you to know.
I want to warn you, mama-to-be… your life is going to change. Forever. You will never be back to this existence. You, with the basket. Not worried or thinking about the little pieces of you that are in the world. You will not be the you you are today.
I want you to know that motherhood is a ride. A wild adventure. A way of life. A beautiful mess. Your comfort and joy. Your emotional trainwreck. Your happy place. And the place you will lose your sanity, if even just for mere moments.
I want to tell you that I’ve been there. But not in a condescending way. In a way that you need to know that I’ve been there. And I’ve survived. And thousands upon thousands before me did, too, and thousands upon thousands will continue to stand the test of parenthood.
I want to share with you that though pregnancy might feel hard, your first pregnancy can seem like the most magical of times when you look back on it. But that being a mom gives you a little bit of magic in nearly every single day. In a way that makes you wonder if you would have found that magic anywhere else.
I want to let you in on the secret… you will suddenly find that this tiny little being has changed the way you think of the big huge world. And that you will at one point wonder how you lived without this part of you for so long.
I want you to understand that no one wants to wake up every single time the baby cries. No one is thrilled to be moved from slumber by a helpless newborn. No one actually enjoys 3 months without a normal night’s sleep. But you will do it all anyway. Because that’s what mamas do.
I want to warn you, you will go out less. You will sleep less. You will care less about what others think. Until you won’t. Until someone’s opinions of your mothering or your child unearth emotions you never knew you had. And then, you may want to punch someone in the throat.
I want to tell you to never forget that there was a time where you weren’t a mom because it will slip away in the day to day memories. And remember always that there are many women who don’t ever want to be mamas. But that isn’t a judgment on you. But it might mean that your friendships will change. And adversely, you may become friends with people you never would have before because of the bond you share as moms.
I want to tell you that you might feel like motherhood is the very best thing you’ve ever done but it might not always make you happy. And I want you to feel like that’s okay. And to remember that nothing in life makes you happy 100% of the time.
I want to be real and tell you that it doesn’t get easier just because they reach a certain age. Or stage. Three months… six months… six years… sixteen years. Each stage has its wins. Each stage has its battles. But it just all becomes so familiar to your life that you know life would feel so much harder without them.
I want you to be ready for the day that you first yell. Or disagree. Or scold. Or take away. And know that there are more ahead. And know that you are not failing your child by loving them hard.
I want to you to be ready to be mean. To lose your temper. To lose yourself, at times. To be, sometimes, not the mom you thought you’d be. And when those moments come, know that you are in a sacred club. A secret bond. A place where we all know that we all have those days. And that our little pieces have those days, too.
I want you to remember to get swept up the first time you feel like you are completely knocking it out of the park. Completely have a handle on the feeding. Or the sleeping. Or the behavior management. Or just all the parts of mothering. Because those moments will come. And though they may be fleeting, they are meant to be celebrated.
I want you to know that you will be filled with more contentment than you ever thought possible. Just by holding a sleeping baby on your chest. You will believe that there is more good in the world than you ever knew. And that, will make you wonder why life has to be so short.
I want to warn you, mama-to-be… you will love this little human in a way that you never knew existed in the universe. You will try every cliche you can think of to explain this love. And you will find yourself wishing for a word that is as fierce and profound and deep as the love a parent has for their child. But you will know, there are no words that are enough.
There is so much I want to tell you, mama-to-be. But mostly, I just want you to know that it’s a ride. And if you hold on tight, I promise, you won’t fall off. But you will likely have the time of your life.
I wanted to tell you all the things. I admired your hand resting on your bump. And took note of how fresh-faced you looked. And decided I’d let you enjoy your basket. But just one thing… I had to say…
You’re gonna have the time of your life, I told her, as a mom.
I sure hope so, you said.
Me, too, mama-to-be. Me, too.