This week’s article is a little bit of an open letter of all the things I wish I could tell all mothers-to-be; the things I wish I would have known, I guess. You may be a long-time mother and still enjoy this letter — or maybe you have a friend, sister, neighbor, cousin etc. that might benefit from reading this.
B’sha’ah tovah — you’re expecting!
It’s exhilarating, frustrating, hard, joyous all at once. It’s every emotion you never knew could be matched together, all of the oxymorons and opposites all vying for space with every kick in your growing belly.
Your life as you knew it is about to change forever. Once your baby is born, you will never be the same. Your marriage will never be the same. The world you live in will somehow look different than it ever has. Your life will be harder than it ever was — and better than it ever was.
But the first thing that you should know is that, with this birth, there will also be a loss, a death of sorts of the maiden that you were. And, of course, the birth that accompanies it — of your baby and of you as a mother — is a joyous event, but that loss is still a loss, and, as such it ought to be grieved, to be mourned. Don’t feel guilty; don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. Give yourself that space to mourn, to feel the loss.
I’m going to be honest with you, mother-to-be: motherhood is hard. It pulls and stretches and pushes in all of the hardest places. It takes every mental, emotional and physical muscle we have and pushes them to the brink. It’s a grueling daily gymnastics of patience, love, listening and hugs.
It can feel thankless at times, endless, too; like you’ll always be stuck building block towers with people too small, not yet smart enough to hold a normal conversation.
And that’s normal too.
But it will pass. It will.
And the best way to enable it to pass as well as you possibly can, while turning yourself into the woman you dreamed of being and transforming your babies into young men and women in their own right is to start right at the beginning: with you.
Make sure you eat well, make sure you drink enough water, get enough sleep and that you’re getting to work out — or at least walk! — regularly. Carve time to spend by yourself with the little things you enjoy — a book, a bath, a chat with a friend — regularly to recharge yourself. Take care of your basic needs.
And allow yourself some extras, too.
Remember that you can’t nourish others if you’re starving for nourishment yourself.
And the next place is: your marriage. The home that you and your husband are building together.
Having children can strain even the best of relationships — confusion about how to do things, sleep deprivation, crying babies and money worries are hard. Do your best to help your babies sleep well so that you and your husband can have regular time together, date nights in or out of the house. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel like something is off. Let your husband be your hero especially during this tough time. Trust him to take care of the baby in his own way – even if that’s not necessarily your way.
And when you’re with your children – enjoy them.
As best you can.
And if it’s just one of those days, and you just can’t — remember that that’s okay too.
If you’re just feeling down all the time and can’t seem to ever enjoy them, talk to someone. Postpartum mood disorders are more common than you think, and if you have PPD, it’s not your fault.
Remember to put things into perspective, and that our thoughts aren’t always true.
Be open to learning new things, to taking classes, reading books, speaking to professionals.
Allow yourself to trust your intuition and to block out the noise of what everyone else is doing.
Be who you are, become who you want to be.
And, above all — don’t forget: you are the best mother your children can ever have.
Wishing you hatzlacha on your journey,