Dear new mama
I hope you are well. I know that it’s a lot to take in. You have so much to contend with right now. I’ve been there - twice - myself.
That sweet bundle that you’ve been a champion to grow in your body for the better part of one year is now here; and, while I know that you’re elated beyond words, I know that you’re also exhausted and often overwhelmed.
I see your tired eyes and I understand it. That little bit of a smile amidst the face that is supported with joy, confusion and fatigue all at once.
Soon enough, that newborn cry will transition to a full-fledged wail or scream and you’ll wish for when they can talk so that they can tell you what’s wrong. You so badly want to fix it. Then, when they start talking, you’ll pray for a time when it won’t be just “no!”, or for their speech to not be coupled with a terroristic display in aisle 4 of the grocers.
The child will, inevitably, grow and you’ll see your single gal-pals working on careers or going on trips. You’ll be anxiously anticipating when your bundle can head off to school so that you can have some time with those adults and have conversations that aren’t littered with the question “do you need to go potty?”. I know that.
Once they’ve gotten into their school years, you’ll have moments of sickness or scheduling conflicts and, in the midst of your rushing around or just trying to breathe from your nose, you’ll pray for the days when they’re a little older.
There will be prayers to get them driving safely and hopes to get them growing into mature adults that can have a life of their own - one where they can sustain themselves and your worry can be just a little bit less. Your life with them will be littered with hopes and dreams and these little wishes along the way.
I am writing to you, new mama, because I have done all of that, myself. This week my youngest child - my baby - is starting his senior year of high school. I’m helping with his university applications and we’re doing the obligatory visits with staff or recruiters. It’s going to be a whirlwind of a year and I’m grateful… but, I also cannot help but think about all of the wishes I had along the way. The same little whispers I’m writing about here. The same mumbles you’ll have on your motherhood journey...
You should know that the wishes will come true - and, sooner than you’d like them to.
Standing on the literal and figurative sidelines, I’m watching him grow up and out of my life in a way that I tried my best to approach with objectiveness and understanding.
I want you to know that you’ll have the same little wishes along the way that I had. It’s human. It’s natural.
However, while you wish for their growth, pray that you always remember the steps along the way. Make it a point to laugh - a lot. Those are the moments you’ll reflect on most. Take part in their everything - as much as you can. You’re going to be tired. That’s true.. but, you’ll get your chance for rest later on when they start to grow away from you and into themselves.
Hug them always. Tell them that you love them. Don’t be ashamed of affection and don’t apologize to them for embarrassing them with it.
Be interactive. Show them things. Live experiences together - especially while they’re small and they go with you anyway. Be grateful for the milestones and for the moments you make together.
For, soon enough, you’re going to be on the sidelines of their lives and your wishes will change.
So, sweet, new mama… with your tired eyes and disheveled hair - with the spit up on your shirt and the unrecognized hole in your jeans… Take a breath and don’t be so quick to wish away this time. It will pass swiftly enough on its own and the moment is what needs to be saved.