As I was sitting on the floor of my daughter’s room last night waiting for her to fall asleep, I started thinking about you and how you must be feeling right now, days away from meeting your sweet baby, and I was remembering my first days of having a newborn. I started thinking of advice (solicited and unsolicited) that people had given me, stories they told me, the things they did as mothers. Now, after being several years in to this world of motherhood, there is one thing I wish someone would have told me. I wish someone would have pulled me aside at my baby shower and told me this: You will lose yourself, and find yourself in so many new ways.
Motherhood is beautiful and brutal. There will come a time when you miss the old you. The you before you had the baby, and you will feel guilty that you miss that old life. You will miss the ability to get up and take a road trip on a whim. You will miss your unscheduled life. You will miss the late nights with friends. You will miss your old body. You will miss the relationship you had with your partner before you had children. You will miss relaxing on the beach with a book in your lap. I am here to tell you it is OK to feel this way. This does not make you a bad mom.
With motherhood, comes an identity crisis. Your rough edges get smoothed out by that all-consuming baby love. You develop new edges brought on by lack of sleep, hormones, sad kid related stories in the news, and mean judgmental people. You will see the world through new eyes. Eyes that once saw a harmless playground now see fall hazards, sharp rocks, broken bones and stitches. Oh and the germs, you will see germs everywhere. You become acutely aware of time and how the wakeful nights creep on and on, but the weeks fly by. There will be days that you hide in the bathroom and cry because you are so overwhelmed and frustrated, and nights when exhausted tears stream down your cheeks along with those of your wailing baby. You will realize that some days you rock this motherhood thing, and some days you look forward to putting the day behind you and starting fresh when the sun rises. You become the keeper of ALL THE THINGS: appointments, favorite stories, permission slips, blankies, and Band-Aids, and the carrier of the burden of motherhood. I said it: the burden of motherhood. You will be stretched so very thin. It can be hard to find the strength to pick yourself up under the weight of that achingly beautiful burden, but you will.
She is still in there, the you before the baby, she is just different now. She is stronger in new ways and weaker in others. She will step out of her comfort zone if it means standing up for her child. She will weep at tender moments between a mother and child on television. She will appreciate her own mom in ways she never could comprehend before. She will discover she needs other mom friends and the independent woman she used to be needs a support system. New Mama, I am here to tell you she also needs you to remember her like she was before. She needs you to reach for her every now and then and tell her you miss her and that you love her and that you are grateful that she brought you to where you are today.
I am not telling you these things to frighten you. I want you to tuck this letter away for when the moment comes, in two days, or two months, or two years when you are feeling overwhelmed, sad or guilty for missing the you that you were before the baby was born. I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling this way and that YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! You are surrounded by such an amazing tribe of mamas that will be there for you when you need them. Do not be afraid to lean on them.
As for the advice you will be given by so many people, here is what I have learned: you listen to what they offer, you ignore half it, and you go with your gut. You do what works for you and your baby and your family. Take it one day at a time. Smother that baby with love.
You’ve got this.
Welcome to the Mama Tribe,
Katie Hunnes is an Ohio girl living in the South. She is the mother of a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. She is a sunset chaser, photo taker, and smeller of books. You can find her on Instagram by clicking the link below.
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