A Letter to Myself as a New Mother


Tonight, we put to bed an eleven month old. Tomorrow, we wake up with a one year old.

It's a strange feeling. Remembering where we were this time last year. A two, waiting to become a three. Curious as to who this little stranger was going to be. So much has changed in the past year, it's like our lives have been struck by lightning. Electrified.

In a rare bout of nostalgia, I've been wondering what I would say if I could pass on any words to myself, as I was a year ago. A letter to myself as a new mother...


L,
Are you sitting down as you read this? You should be. Don't convince yourself that you should be up - you've just been through something seismic. You've earned a sit down. Rest. The cleaning/ cooking/ work emails can (and will) wait. 

Take the time to drink in this new little person. Remember how he looks, how he sounds, even how he smells - like cinder toffee, how deliciously strange - it sounds like a cliché but this little bundle won't be like this long. He's a wanderer, your Little M. Curious, off on his own little mission of discovery for much of his days. Those precious, snuggly moments are fleeting. 

You're confused and that's OK. Honestly it is. I know you've 'done the reading' - absorbing every piece of literature put in front of you. You've memorised the complex dance of clothing, layers and temperatures for perfect baby sleep. You planned out how your routine would be, unwavering from day one to create the best atmosphere and the happiest baby. But newborns and routines, they don't go together do they? You're starting to doubt. The advice now seems contradictory, complex and confusing. Trust your instincts, L. You know more than you think. If he's not crying, you did your job. Hell, even if he is - chances are you've done your best. Sometimes babies cry and there's not a damn thing you can do. 

You're lucky. Being your own boss means you can be around him longer than many other mothers can. But there will be guilt. Guilt when you're working that you should be with him. Guilt when you're with him that you should be tending to your business. Unless you work out a way of cloning yourself, there's no perfect solution - so let the guilt go. If you can. When you can. It's not easy, but you'll be all the happier for it.

So much seems new and totally unmanageable. The feeding, the sleeplessness, the (shudder) colic. It all seems like an unscalable mountain right now, but hang in there. None of these things are a life sentence. Yes, you will hurt. You will cry with him. You will be so tired you hallucinate. But these things, that seem like they control your life? They get easier. Some will disappear altogether. 

When they do disappear, and they will, they'll be replaced with moments of wonder. Seeing the world from his eyes is, literally, the most fun you've ever had. The sheer, uninhibited delight he will experience at seeing things for the first time. You'll feel it too. His enthusiasm is contagious - allow yourself to be swept up in it. Relax, put off the to-do list, enjoy being spontaneous.

You can do this, L. You can. This fierce, crazy love you have for this tiny guy will carry you over any obstacle. You are his, he is yours, you'll figure each other out sooner than you think.

Oh, and one last thing. You know how people keep telling you to sleep when he sleeps? Do it. Just do it. Like, now. Go.