My beautiful sister-in-law is about to meet her first baby in a handful of weeks. I am lucky to be a part of her journey. I love being on the receiving end of the texts and phone calls as we discuss little things, like the best baby swaddle, to big things, like how to advocate for longer maternity leave.
It wasn't that long ago I was in her shoes, and I will always be appreciative of the moms who stopped to talk anything and everything baby with me. I remember looking at those moms who seemed to have everything figured out with a slight twinge of envy. Thinking everything from, How does she do it so flawlessly? to, I'm never going to be able to breastfeed in public the way that she does, to even She looks insanely awesome in those mom jeans.
Once I got to the other side, I quickly realized that no one, including the most seasoned moms, has everything figured out. This is why the sisterhood of motherhood sticks so closely together—we need each other. And now as I connect and swoon with first-time mamas about join the sisterhood, I realize I am actually a little envious of them.
Every stage goes by so quickly. Just like that, two years have passed since I was waiting for my own baby to arrive. Each moment, big and small, is imprinted on my heart and I wouldn't change a single thing. I am blessed beyond measure for the days that have gone by and I pray vigorously for the days to come.
This life is wonderful. So wonderful in fact that I would go back and live it again and again, which is why it is with bittersweet envy that I celebrate expecting moms and the amazing moments ahead of them.
So, to all the new mamas out there awaiting their baby:
I envy your childlike anticipation as you count down the months, weeks, days and hours until you meet your baby.
Yes, easier said in retrospect without the pains of a growing belly, the sleepless nights and the constant trips to the bathroom. But during those last months of pregnancy, my heart felt magic that you rarely find as an adult.
What will my baby look like? What will I say to her when we meet? How will my husband react when he sees her for the first time?
Those beautiful mysteries are so short-lived. Write them down. Soak them up. Remember what this fire in your heart feels like because you will want to hold onto it for forever.
I envy you as you feel your baby kick and cartwheel in your belly.
You alone are the only person who will ever know what it feels like to carry your baby; what a joy it is to soak in that sacred intimacy. Yes, holding your baby in your arms is a thousand times better than any wiggle in your belly, but there is a quiet loneliness that comes when they go away, one that I never anticipated. To this day, I feel the occasional phantom flutter and my heart skips a beat as my mind takes me back to the days when it was just my baby and me.
I envy the showers and swooning.
Being pregnant with my first baby felt a lot like being engaged. People treated me like a beautiful, mythical creature, and man, did I feel like I was walking on sunshine during those cherished months.
Yes, people continued to swoon over my gorgeous newborn when she arrived, but I quickly felt invisible to everyone but my baby and other new moms who were in the thick of it too. In fact, perhaps I felt even worse than invisible—I felt like someone who wasn't worthy of the title "mom" to such a precious, perfect human being.
The disparity between how expecting moms and new moms are treated is extreme, and we as a society need to do better.
Just remember that you matter, mama. Your postpartum feelings and emotions are valid and important. Your baby is beautiful and so are you.
Actively surround yourself with a group of women who reinforce these truths in your life and delete, unfollow and ignore anyone who doesn't.
I envy the moment your baby is placed on your chest in what will certainly be one of, if not the most, euphoric moment of your life.
This moment will change you and stay with you until the grave. We only get so many moments that can be summed up as the best moment of our lives and this is one of them. It's going to be fleeting, and yet, you are going to feel it forever.
Whether your baby is coming to you from adoption, surrogacy, C-section, or natural birth, there will be a moment when you hold your child for the first time and the love you are going to wrap your arms around is unimaginable until you experience it for yourself.
I envy those first breaths, first cries, first smiles, first giggles and all of the firsts in between.
Life will come to you like a tidal wave and these moments will ground you as a constant reminder of the preciousness of life. And you know what? They keep getting sweeter and sweeter.
I love watching my daughter's fascination with a flower and the way her face lights up when she learns something new as much as I loved seeing her gummy smile for the first time.
I envy the day you realize you are stronger than you ever imagined.
One of the most defining moments of motherhood has nothing to do with kids —it's the moment you see yourself as the hero you are. Life will undoubtedly throw a lot of uncertainty at you and you'll be faced with situations and decisions that will stretch you thin and challenge you to your core.
But mama, you are strong. When it feels like you are failing, remind yourself that you and only you were selected to be your child's mother.
You are uniquely prepared to handle whatever comes your way, so trust your gut and don't forget to shower yourself and others with compassion. If you are reading this and thinking I'm crazy because you in no way relate to feeling like a hero, then mama, go look in a mirror. Right. Now. You are a warrior and today is a beautiful day to embrace it.
We are all living a moment that someone envies to hold now.
Motherhood is loving today and already missing it before it is gone, and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to experience these firsts with a second baby, but nothing is a given except for the gifts we hold now. Go enjoy it, mama.