Dear new mama,
You’ve been at this motherhood thing for 15 months now, and it has presented you with challenges. Breastfeeding. Work/life balance. Postpartum depression. These challenges have often given you all of the reasons to believe that you aren’t good enough, but guess what? You’re killing it. Here’s why.
Breastfeeding was HARD
The first few months, your son was struggling to get milk from you. You were quite literally bruised and blistered, and you were not even making enough milk for him to be satisfied after each feed. This led to emotional struggles, frustration, anger, and guilt. But guess what? You stuck it out, and you ended up breastfeeding for 15 months. You endured physical and emotional pain. You pumped in the wee hours of the morning. You attended lactation meetings and new mom groups. In the end, you did all of those things to create the most beautiful bond with your son. You nourished him with your own body, and honestly, it would’ve been OK if you had quit. But you didn’t. This was your first taste of what it means to be a mother: to do whatever it takes for the sake of your child.
You were beyond fortunate to stay at home with your son for the first year of his life and have your teaching job on hold to come back to. Being at home was hard for you. You felt isolated and a complete lack of mental stimulation. You were chomping at the bit to get back to work. But then the moment came and anxiety kicked in. You questioned how you would possibly leave your little man in someone else’s hands and balance the demands of teaching with those of motherhood. But just like breastfeeding, you persevered. You went back to work and found that you really could do it. You’ve found a way to continue to form relationships with your students, get your grading done, and create lessons for your students while continuing to nurture your son and help him feel loved. I know it’s been hard, but you’re killing it.
A friend of yours once said that when you have dark times, if you work to overcome them, you’ll only end up a stronger human. She’s right, and you’re an example of this. I know that you still have days when anxiety is high and that you just want to feel like the old you. But let’s keep this whole thing in perspective; when your anxiety began at 11-months postpartum, you could barely get yourself out of the house to drive the .8 miles to Walgreens to pick up vitamins. You had to call people to come help you because you felt so physically ill and exhausted from the anxiety. But guess what? Now you are working a full-time job, grocery shopping, running errands, taking your child to playdates, and living a fully functional life. So even when anxiety hits, let this be a reminder of how far you have come. Keep up your hard work, and you’ll continue to improve.
Motherhood has been hard for you. Some people make a smooth transition into the job; others need more time. Maybe you just needed more time, and guess what? That’s OK.
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