Dear future, mother-self. From my current, non-mother-self
Here’s what I don’t know.
I don’t know what it feels like to push a human through my vagina. I don’t know what it feels like to have a hollow abdomen with disorganized internal organs. I don’t know what it means to love something or someone with an all-encompassing and innate capacity. I don’t know what it feels like to be sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, emotional, hormonal, and excruciatingly vulnerable.
There is very little of your experience, if any, that I can relate to. I reverently admire your bravery in facing this part of your journey head on. For pillaging through the vastness of the deeply unknown, and intimidating uncertainty.
What I do know… What I know more deeply and more unwavering than anything – is that you are powerful. Stronger, bolder… you are more than I am, and ever have been. So much more. This transformation has increased your capacity as a human-being, as a soul… everything you are – you’re infinitely more-so now.
I also know that you are infinitely more humble. And that there will be times – more often than not – that you will forget how truly powerful you are.
I know that you will feel like a failure. I know that you will doubt yourself, your choices, your abilities, your instincts. I know that there is nothing that you will want more to be amazing at, to succeed at – and also nothing that you will feel you fall more short of.
I know that in the birth of a human infant – is also the birth of an infant mother… one that needs equal amounts of patience, compassion, acceptance, love, and nurturing. One that deserves to have time to adapt, understand, and learn without judgement or criticism. Find the people that will hold space for you in this way – and cultivate an environment to hold this space for yourself.
I know that you will worry. You will worry so much more than you ever have (which, I might add, is an impressive amount). Please, don’t spend every waking moment think your baby will die. Because honestly, what a waste of both your lives. If you do not curb this now, you will not curb this ever, and your child will be made fun of profusely when you send them to school covered in bubblewrap and pillows.
Let the words: This Too Shall Pass mean more than they ever have. Acknowledge that each moment, no matter how incredibly challenging – or incredibly blissful… is entirely temporary. That motherhood is the combination, the unity of each of these passing moments accumulating to create the experience you have embarked on.
I trust you. I know that you innately, instinctively, intuitively know exactly how to show up for this infant. I trust you completely and entirely. I know that there will be so many opportunities for you to thrive… and also that you will learn from each fall, stumble, and hiccup.
I know that you will laugh harder and more passionately than you ever have. That you will love more deeply. That you will cry harder, yell louder, smile bigger… that every passing moment will mean more. There is nothing that you will ever have invested in so much. Which is crazy, because when you invest in something… you invest. This is why this is sort of unfathomable for me. There is more at stake now than ever… and all these things that seemed so big before – these things that are so big for me. Will not be big for you at all. And not because they’re smaller – but because you are bigger.
That’s what took me so long to figure out. That’s why I needed to cry, and mourn the loss of my life, career, and ambitions. Because I thought you were going to make them small. I thought you were going to deem them unimportant… they wouldn’t be worth your time or attention anymore. That you weren’t going to care.
But it’s not exactly the case is it? They will only seem smaller because you have grown such an incredible amount in a short period of time. Your capacity is so vast… these things will take up the same amount of space… but your atmosphere is so much larger now … they won’t carry the same ratio. I think this is cool. I think it’s cool that you’re capable of so much.
So please through all this – remember that even the days that you feel small, inadequate, incompetent, un-valuable… you are still so much more than you ever have been. You are incredible. Even on your worst day, you are amazing.
I admire you. I love you. And I have unwavering faith in you.