Congratulations! You’re a mom! You’ve been a mother since the second that stick turned pink, but now your little bundle is in your arms, and everyone else can see that your life has changed. I’m so happy for you. Truly.
And I know you’re tired. I mean, that’s actually the biggest understatement, isn’t it? Tired… That’s like saying Mount Kilimanjaro is a moderate hike. You’ve been through it all lately. The latter stages of pregnancy will have taken a toll on you – mentally, physically and emotionally. And just when you were at lowest ebb, you had to somehow find the strength to endure a labor and birth. And even when it didn’t go the way you expected – even when it was so much harder than you anticipated – you pushed through and brought new life into the world. Suddenly that “lowest ebb” feels like you could have been running marathons…
And now, after all you’ve been through, when you deserve the longest rest and the most attention for your hard work, you find that you get none. It’s all about the baby. And you don’t mind. Not really. Not yet. You are diverted by his tiny little fingers with the paper thin nails that look like they might dissolve any second. You stare into the tiny eyes, so vibrant and full of life, staring back at yours in that way that all babies look at their mothers – as if you’ve always been there. While he is so new to you, you are not new to him. He recognizes you immediately, and he is comforted by you in a way that is like magic.
His tiny little mouth is always working now, whether rooting for his mama’s milk, searching for his pacifier or just dreaming about his next meal. You will laugh to see him drinking in his sleep.
His warmth will press against you and fill you with something you’ve never experienced before. As you hold him, you will feel the deepest sense of satisfaction that he is yours. You made him, you kept him safe, and you delivered him to the world in a precious little package that anyone can see is special. When he is away from you, even if only a few feet or in another room, you feel emptier.
A mother’s love can not be described – it can only be experienced. You have unearthed new emotions that you never knew were inside you. We all know happy and sad and scared and lonely. But there are no words for these new emotions. They are the ones that come on out of nowhere, leaving you breathless.
The overwhelming sense of awe you will feel when he opens his tiny mouth in the sweetest little yawn.
The heart-stopping fear you feel when you can’t stop imagining some small harm coming to him.
That singular joy that only you will ever feel each and every time he does something new.
No one else will ever feel these things for your child. We all may coo and cuddle him, we will tell you how beautiful and precious he is, and we will sympathize when he gets his first runny nose or sneezes or keeps you up all night screaming with colic. But only you will know the true magic of being a mother to this child.
You were made for him, as he was made from you.
They all told you your life would change, and you knew it was true, but you will only understand what they really meant as each new day brings new emotions and experiences your way. Motherhood is more than giving birth. It is a club with millions of members all united by their differences.
Don’t let anyone make you feel you’re doing it wrong. Don’t fret that you’re making the wrong choices. Only you know your life and your situation and what you and your family need.
And yes, you are a family now. All of you, together, forever.
Congratulations, my friend. You are now a mother. And your life has altered in untold ways. But who you are – at your core – the person who made the decision to bring life into the world, to raise it and nurture it and protect it – is who you have always been. You are selfless. And you are beautiful.
You are a mother.