We sat at the island in the kitchen sipping coffee. It had been over a year since we had seen each other. She and her husband had been blessed with their first child. Her daughter was now eight-months-old, and I couldn’t wait to hear all about this precious child.
There was joy in her eyes as she spoke of her daughter that she had so desperately prayed for years to have. By God’s graces, finally she was blessed with a child.
We laughed as we talked about the plethora of changes that coincides with motherhood, the milestones, our husbands as daddys, and more. Her beloved new title, “Mommy,” suited her well and I was grateful she was finally where she wanted to be.
But as the conversation continued, I could see a transformation happening, one that I knew all too well. Her glow began to fade as dreaded disappointment crept in. This was not despair in her sweet child, but in herself.
“It’s all going so fast, and I’m just trying to be present you know? I mean I only have an hour and a half with her every day after work.”
“I haven’t lost the baby weight yet, I still have twenty pounds to go,” she said looking down and grasping what not long ago was a warm, healthy home to her baby girl. “I mean, when I get home from work, I want to spend time with her and once she is down for the night the last thing I feel like doing is working out.”
As she spoke her posture changed, her expression wilted, and the elation that she first had in her eyes at the pride of her firstborn, diminished with the disappointment she heavily laid upon herself in her new role as mother.
She continued sinking lower onto the counter, her hand literally supporting her weary head, “I just feel like I’m failing,” she said, searching my reaction as if to ask, am I the only one?
I wanted to lift her up and so I had to let her know how I felt, “You friend, are not failing; you are providing for your family. You are doing the best you can. Let go of all of the pressure you are putting on yourself. And you look amazing by the way! You realize you grew a human, don’t you?” We laughed at the truth and incredible miracle of bringing life into this world.
“Thanks, that makes me feel a little better, because I just see so many moms who seem to have it all together and I’m just feel so behind,” she answered.
“I feel terrible, I haven’t printed any pictures. I have none of her on the walls yet. I haven’t even started a baby book and she is eight-months-old.” She retreated to her sapped position once again.
“My kids are six and nine and I don’t have their baby books complete. One day there will be more time, but for now you being with her when you can, that’s all that she needs,” I said. “Can I see a picture of her?”
With this one simple question, pride had returned and took the place of disappointment. Her once depleted posture lifted, as she gladly grabbed her phone. We scrolled through a dozen or more pictures of her beautiful child as she recalled the lovely memories they had shared together.
“She is beautiful and happy and healthy,” I assured her. “You are doing an amazing job with her. You are a great mother.”
She had tears in her eyes as she thanked me.
This amazing woman devaluing her worth as a mother over and over again, as so many of us do for all that we feel we have not yet accomplished.
I am telling anyone reading this today: I’m with you sister. I’m also behind on baby books, photo albums, family pictures, and the list goes on, but you know what I’ve learned through the years? It’s OK! All your children need is you. Keep the memories in your heart (and on your phone) and one day, you will have time to organize them.
The weight will come and go, but the magnificent thing is, your child will see no difference. Your loving embrace and time spent with them is truly all they long for.
The joy we have when we speak of our children, when we first get a glimpse of their faces in the morning, is proof that we love and adore them and my gosh, we are trying, I know we are all trying.
We have to give one another a boost at times, rather than judge and hate on our tribe. God gave us each other to lean on and love on every step of the way. When you see a fellow sister hiding in defeat, give her a hug, tell her she’s beautiful, buy her a coffee, but mostly let her know you see her and you have been there too.
Let go of the standards stealing your happiness and denying you the ability to live in the present.
You are more, beautiful, strong, and loved more than you know.
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29