Your journey hasn’t stranded you in the dark, I promise. It’s just thrown a plot twist your way. I skipped ahead. Brighter days are coming! How do I know for sure? Because I’ve been in that same darkness and come out on the other side. Some days, I fought harder than others. Some days? I didn’t fight at all. But more often than not, I fought. For myself. For my sanity. For motherhood. And now? I fight for others. I’m fighting for you, right now. You got this because you aren’t alone.
There is no shame in getting lost in the dark.
It took me a long time to figure that out for myself.
Know that you are loved.
Understood. Valued. Supported. Believed. And never, never alone.
We see you, struggling so hard. We feel you, with the weight of so much on your tender heart. We are here for you, even when you can’t look up enough to see us back. We stand together, we hold you close, and we promise you, that with this community of acceptance and love we offer you, you will survive. Just call on us, we’ll pull you through. Even when you feel you disappeared, we see you.
Our babies shine light on love we never knew we could feel; motherhood can also hurt in places we didn’t know existed. Undiscovered places suddenly come alive with pain, sometimes within a minute of feeling that surely, our hearts have grown three sizes. This morning, my knee hurts–an old breastfeeding injury. No joke!
Please know that whatever you feel, whenever you feel it, we are here for you. It is safe to tell us. We will not mock you, and chances are, we are kinder than that critical “voice” in your head.
Share your joy, love, pain, and let it go. Let others see it. Practice early and often, because the only lesson I know that applies to all mothers is that there sure are a LOT of feelings involved in this Mom thing.
I have the wisdom of being 17 years out and being able to look back and “know” what might have helped me, a bit, possibly:
1. Please mama, say yes to help, any and all help – so hard, because we are usually the helpers to everyone, trust me, say yes I need help.
2. Honor your sleep, my friend, you are so tired, you cannot keep going, please lay your head down and get 5 hours of connected sleep (that means in a row, at night) so your body and mind can rest, see #1 for help.
3. YOU are the right mom, YOU are the best mom for this baby. YOU were meant to be together, if it means you need some help – therapy, medication, support groups – do wonders, go get help. www.postpartumprogress.org lists all the resources, just reach out, or see #1 and ask someone to do it. YOU can do this. I see mamas do it everyday. You can do this.
YOU? You moms? You’re good moms. Each one of you. Each of us. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes anxiety and a racing heart get in the way of recognizing the truth. Sometimes guilt over just about anything steals the joy we think we should always be feeling.
That joy is OURS. We can own it. We’re allowed. We should. There is no guilt. We did not do anything wrong. It is not our fault.
We’re allowed to feel happy.
Just breathe! This DOES get better.
No matter what you think, YOU ARE ENOUGH!
And also…it’s OK if you don’t have all those gushy mushy lovey feelings coming out of every pore on your body for your child.
It’s not a prerequisite. You’ve just met!
Red, tired eyes? Tear-streaked face? Spit-up- or drool-covered shoulder? Leaky boobs or formula stains on your sleeve? Hair that is frizzy – or greasy – beyond belief – and has only been in a bun for weeks? An anxious brain that won’t shut off – or a foggy one that won’t turn on?
And – ahem – who even knows what’s going on down there?!
You’re a new mom. You’re in the thick of it. You’re likely terrified, and sad, and happy, and angry, and tired, and ecstatic, and all of the feelings all at the same time.
But I promise you’ll get better. I promise life will get better. I promise you’ll be able to shower, and sleep more, and claim some of your time back for yourself soon.
You’re an incredible mother – and if you feel like you’re not, and that scares you or makes you worried or upset or sad?
That shows even more that you are.
You are not alone. I’ve been there, others have been there. I am here for you to have a shoulder to lean on and a warm embrace.