Dear Brand New Mama,
I know everything feels so new and different. I know there's a lot of talk about how amazing it all is and that you might not feel that way yet. I know that the recovery process you’re going through is not just physical but emotional too. I know how exhausted you are and how hard it is to do everything when you’re so tired. I know you’re wondering if you’ll ever have time for yourself again. I know it feels strange to take on the identity of “mother” overnight and that it now seems to be the one that defines you. I know how sensitive you are right now, and how certain things hurt your feelings more than they normally would. I know that you’re wondering if your body will ever look the way it did before, or if you’ll ever feel sexy again. I know that everyone giving you their advice on how to do things makes it hard to hear your own voice. I know you wonder why no one told you about this or about that. I know everyone’s asking how the baby is but you want to be asked how you are. I know the anxiety you feel when your baby cries in the car and you can’t pull over. I know how you get everything half done, and nothing all done, before the baby needs you.
I know your hair hasn’t been washed in days and that you wonder when you’ll look like you again. I know that seeing another mom have it so together makes you ask yourself why you don’t. I know how hard it is to care for someone else when you don’t have time to care for yourself. I know it feels like people ask if you need help when you don’t need it but don’t ask when you do. I know that the highs feel really high and the lows feel really low. I know that you feel guilty or sad when you don’t know why your baby is crying, because you thought that was the maternal instinct. I know the physical pain and discomfort you’re in and how badly you want to be healed already. I know how you feel when you get judged or shamed for a parenting choice you make that is right for you and your baby. I know you say “good” if someone asks how you’re doing even if you’re not, because it’s easier than explaining how you really feel in that moment. I know your back and shoulders hurt from bending over a changing table and carrying the carseat and moving in ways your body hasn’t before.
I know that isolating feeling when you think you must be the only mom that’s had the feelings you have. I know it’s scary saying how you really feel sometimes out loud because you think people will think something is wrong with you. I know the glance or glare from someone else when your baby is crying can feel judgmental and hurtful. I know you’re wondering if sex will ever be the same again. I know that when you ask another mom if her baby did what your baby is doing and they say no, you think you’re doing something wrong. I know that the sleep deprivation is making you feel and say things you normally wouldn’t. I know that asking for help sometimes feels like admitting failure. I know that you cry sometimes and don’t know why.
But most importantly, I know that you are doing the best you can. And that, mama, is enough. You are enough. You are not alone, you are not the only one. You are heard and seen and understood. I know you, I am you, I feel you, and I applaud you for doing what you do day in and day out with love and compassion and patience. Us brand new moms are all in this together, we have to be. All my love and respect to you.
Your sister in first time mamahood