To my pre-baby self: be gentle.
As my year being at home with my baby recently wound down to a close and I returned to work (an entirely separate post of its own), I have spent many hours reflecting on what this year has looked like for me. With each new season of motherhood that I enter into I discover new parts of myself, some fitting and others not so much.
My newborn season started off as this insane roller coaster ride, most of the time the scene was me holding on for dear life while everything whipped past me at incredible speed. I spent many of those early days feeling empty, wondering what it would be like to be back behind my desk feeling respected and intelligent, or behind the handlebars of my bike no less than 5 days a week feeling free and purposeful. I craved what I had before, because what I was living in the middle of felt like it was all give and no take. But as time marched on I began this beautiful transformation into a different version of myself, one that I can only thank my daughter for. It was my spring. From that transformation, this is what I wish I had told myself many months ago:
Read the book.
Watch the show.
Call the friend.
Because the chores and the ‘to do’ lists will march on for eternity, but these quiet moments when the baby falls asleep and there is no one else around – they are precious. Although our type A selves tell us that accomplishment is achieved by doing, (whatever “doing” looks like to you) sometimes doing is achieved by sitting and listening to our truest desires.
You don’t have to love every minute.
You don’t have to think that when your baby arrives you feel a state of perpetual bliss. In fact, it’s ok to mourn your pre-baby self, but remember that the journey that lies ahead will one day feel more perfect and meaningful than we can initially comprehend.
Connect with people.
Let your baby cry in public.
We are our greatest critics and don’t let the fear of disrupting other people make you a prisoner to your own home. I’ve gained more faith in humanity since I had my baby than I ever thought imaginable. People are generally wonderful.
Ask for a break.
Just do it.
You aren’t weak, you are simply human; a human who was once an individual person with passions and projects, and whose title has now become “Reese’s mom” overnight. Don’t get me wrong: I love my new title, but want to hold on to the parts of me that make me, me.
People want to help but don’t know the best way possible so embrace the extra hands and take the hour and run all alone; look at nature and just celebrate the awesome work you are doing by raising a child.
Do what feels right to YOU.
I often sought advice and perspectives from people that I loved and respected, but no matter what you choose your baby will be loved beyond measure and really, at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.
You are strong.
You are capable.
You are supported and about to join one of the most wonderful ranks of humans.
Hold on tight….