The next few weeks for you are going to crawl at a turtle’s pace and yet you will be at the finish line before you even know it, holding your sweet baby in your arms. The first 48 hours of motherhood will be spent learning the curves of your baby’s lips, the intoxicating smell of a newborn, and that parents genuinely do get excited about poop-it isn’t just a joke.
As you may have already realized, while everyone tells you what pregnancy and motherhood is like-you just don’t get it until you are on the other side. While your experience will be unique and your own to navigate, there are a few common themes and slices of wisdom I want to share with you today that you may find helpful.
Take this entire letter for example-you didn’t just say, “BFF will you please tell me just a few of your thoughts on new motherhood please?” but here I am giving it to you anyway. Luckily I know that you and I both know this comes from love, just like (almost) every other person who offers their own point of view. While it may feel critical, generally people who give it are only drawing from their own struggles and don’t want you to face the same thing. Don’t let it get to you. Use the advice you connect with and say, “Oh that’s an idea” to the things you don’t and move forward.
Mother’s guilt is a beast. Don’t let it win.
We have always joked about your ability to feel guilty over anything; in fact I’m sure you have felt guilty for feeling guilty. You are an exceptional person. You are thoughtful and intentional. You are one of the rare souls who truly cares. These phenomenal traits of yours will seamlessly translate to your personality as a mother so when you are feeling guilty that you aren’t doing this or providing these or accomplishing that, know you are doing your best and there is nothing to feel guilty about. I promise.
You will view your husband in a totally new light.
You know the advice everyone has given you…to enjoy your last moments as just the two of you before the baby comes? It is because all of us who have been indoctrinated into parenthood know how much you miss your partner; even if they are sitting two feet away from you on the couch. There will be weeks, maybe months, where you don’t have the opportunity to connect on an intimate level because you are so busy trying to survive. But in the midst of the moments trying to figure out why the baby won’t stop crying you will glimpse over at your husband washing your breast pump parts and think he is the sexiest man alive. You will watch him as he hovers over a sleeping baby singing an barely recognizable version of, “Hush Little Baby” and a tidal wave of thankfulness for him will overwhelm your heart. One day you will get your groove back as a couple, but until then, capitalize on those moments.
Your friendships will mean so much more.
Motherhood can be lonely and isolating. You will have days where your new role has a crushing effect, making you question your decision to bring another life into this world. Friends will simultaneously be your anchor and your lifeline. A simple telephone call to a friend or a happy (literal) hour will lift your spirits in ways you can’t understand–yet. Soon enough though, you will and come to appreciate your friends in ways that you never did before.
You are almost there friend, just a few more weeks.
I know it isn’t possible for me to be more excited than you, but it feels that way. Welcome to motherhood and I’ll meet you on the other side.