Dear new Mother,
You’ve just had a baby. It’s OK to feel happy, to feel scared, to feel sad. It’s OK to be in shock and it’s OK to feel elated. It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, you must. Please ask for help. “Help” will be your best friend, now and for years to come.
It’s OK to want some pieces of your old life back, the freedom, nights out with friends, holidays and sleep. Oh, sleep.
Your body is different now too, no doubt. It’s OK for that to feel strange. You don’t have to love your stretch marks or your soft tummy or all the other parts that feel different. You may embrace your new body, the different shape and size, the unfamiliarity, the new sensations. You may despise it. That’s OK too.
It’s OK to feel empowered by your birth experience but it’s also OK to feel broken. Perhaps it all went according to your plan but perhaps it was the birth you always feared. Talk about it with someone, take the time to heal. Rest and recover. You did it, didn’t you? It’s a cliché, I know, but your body just grew an entire new life and that’s Mother Nature’s most exquisite work. Truly, you are beautiful, OK?
Oh, new Mother,
It’s hard work, right? Harder than you thought, even if it’s your dream come true? Even if you thought you were ready? I know. Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever done. It’s OK if it’s not all as wonderful as you imagined it would be. It’s OK if some things are unexpectedly rubbish and it’s OK if some bits aren’t much fun at all. It’s OK not to “enjoy every minute.” That’s almost impossible I’d say. You are right at the start, new Mother. You are on page 1 of chapter 1 of the longest and most magnificent book ever written. It’s OK to go slowly, not to rush. It’s OK to pause, to stay at home, to simply just be with your baby. It’s more than OK, actually. I wish I’d listened more to this advice.
I hope you know too that it’s OK if you breastfeed and it’s OK if you don’t, if you baby wear or if you don’t. It’s OK if you follow a strict routine or if you don’t, to read all the books or none at all. It’s OK if you don’t really know what you want to do. There seem to be a million different ways to be a Mother.
It’s OK if your relationships change. They’re bound to. You’re a new Mother now with a new set of priorities and a different type of day. It takes a lot to meet the needs of such a helpless little person all day long. It’s OK to miss your friends and to feel frustrated at missing out, like no-one can possibly understand what you’re going through. It’s OK to feel alone and misunderstood. You’re not alone. I understand.
You may have less time for your friends right now and that’s OK as well. Your partner may get less of your attention because you give all your kisses to the baby now. Those cheeks make it hard not to! It’s OK to feel pure joy and elation one minute then utter sadness and despair the next. It’s OK to feel jealous of those who get to sleep. It’s OK to take naps instead of doing the dishes. In fact, once again, you must! It’s OK to stay indoors and it’s OK to venture out too. It’s more than OK to stay in your pyjamas all day and it’s more than OK if your house is a mess, although I understand it’s not how you want it to be. Everything can feel like a sacrifice, can’t it?
It’s OK if it takes time to fall in love. You’ve got your whole lives for that. It’ll come and when it does, it’ll grow so much that you will be amazed at the capacity of your own heart. It’s OK to struggle with the transformation, to take time to find your place with motherhood. No one starts something for the first time being perfect at it. There are no lessons in how to Mother, just millions of books and millennia of experience. Speak to others…they can help. Find those Mothers who just get you, even if they do things differently. Find the Mothers who will lift you up, offer support, reserve judgement and listen. We all need someone who can really listen. The sisterhood of Mothers is a beautiful one. Really. What a place to be. Find your tribe, your like-minded mums, your middle of the night allies.
You’re a new mother. You grew and birthed a baby and you are a miracle too. It’s OK to feel anxious, to worry, to protect. It’s OK to relax, to use your intuition and to feel totally at ease in this place. Perhaps you finally feel like you’ve arrived in yourself.
It is OK to want a break. You will need one. Take it. Take breaks so you can replenish yourself and your energy. Your love for your child won’t be questioned. It’s OK, it’s more than OK to make time for yourself. It’s OK to be taken care of. Actually, it’s vital. Let someone else make the tea, make the food, rub your shoulders. You don’t have to be perfect, to achieve as much as you used to. It’s OK for the goalposts to change.
It’s OK to break generational patterns, to carve a new lineage. It’s OK to disagree with old methods and to challenge age old advice just because you turned out alright. We are evolving, we are spiritual and emotional beings. Our children are born into a different world and we are progressing towards greatness, don’t you agree?
It’s all OK, new Mother. I guess that’s all I’m really trying to tell you.
I love you,