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There's a lot of sadness in the world right now. Sadness paired with worry. Worry paired with uncertainty. Uncertainty paired with trauma. Trauma paired with loneliness. Loneliness paired with heaviness.

It's a lot.

So, we cry.

We feel through our emotions.

We have our pity parties.

We vent.

We will rise.

But, first, we cry.

And that's okay. I cry for you, for me—for us.

I cry for the mothers who've had to deliver their babies while in medically-induced comas, the mothers who've tested positive for COVID-19 and haven't been able to hold their babies right away. The mother whose partner wasn't in the delivery room with her or who couldn't stay overnight with her.

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I cry for the mothers who planned on having their own moms in the delivery room with them—or maybe even a sister, friend or doula—but couldn't because of the strict one-person only policy many hospitals have implemented. For the mama who wanted their baby to meet their grandparents, right away, in-person, but who instead, met them via FaceTime.

I cry for the mothers about to give birth, sitting with so much uncertainty on their shoulders, as the baby in their belly kicks away—blissfully unaware of the chaos of the world they will soon be entering. I've never given birth amid a global crisis, and mama, I am sorry you have to. But I also cry for your strength. You are amazing. You'll forever be changed by this moment right here. And we'll forever be in awe.

I cry for the mothers who are also nurses. Whose heart feels torn. She doesn't want to leave her child to go into work. She doesn't want to leave her patients without her care. She doesn't want to abandon her partner or her responsibilities at home. She doesn't want to increase her co-workers' load if she isn't there. She doesn't want to get sick. She doesn't want to make this unimaginable choice. She doesn't want to fail anyone.

I cry for the mothers who are also doctors. Who go "home" to their empty hotel room or quiet house—the place where her partner and children are not. Who feels pain as she sits alone in the silence, wishing she could hear her toddler's giggles or her preschooler's movie requests—but she's separated from them in order to protect them. Who wishes for the comforting arms of her partner, knowing that would be the healing salve she needs.

I cry for the mothers whose mental load has exponentially increased since her family has started quarantining at home together. For those days you feel you're going to break as you set up your kid's third Zoom call, make the millionth meal, wash that load of laundry again, settle another sibling squabble and constantly refresh Instacart, trying to place an order.

I cry for the mothers who are trying to create some semblance of order or balance in their families' lives while keeping up with her full-time job. For your strength as you do the impossible—homeschooling while brainstorming, taking calls while taking lunch orders, emailing while entertaining.

I cry for the mothers who have lost someone they love. The ache in your heart, heavy as it has ever been, as you mourn without your extended family, as you wonder when you might be able to plan a memorial service, as you consider when you might be able to gather together to honor the incredible human you lost.

I cry for the mothers who are the healthcare workers at the bedside of the loved ones we are losing as they take their final breaths. I can't imagine the pain and heartache you are feeling. I cry for the weight you'll carry with you, for many days ahead. For the selflessness inside you and the heroism you may not have ever asked for or expected, but has been placed upon you like a badge of honor.

I cry for the mothers who are the hardworking grocery store and delivery employees who want to be safe at home, but also want to keep their steady paychecks. Who wonder if they've already been exposed to the virus as they stock the shelves or drop off a package and worry about what their plan will be if they get sick.

I cry for the mothers who are also teachers. Teachers who miss their students desperately. Who long for answers—when and if school will reopen, what the future of education now looks like, how to keep students engaged virtually. There's so much uncertainty, around school specifically, and I cry for the anxiety or worry you must feel.

I cry for the mothers who've lost their jobs. For the mother who doesn't know where their next grocery load will come from. The mother who doesn't know what her families' health insurance will look like now that she's been laid off. The mother whose savings is dwindling as she dips into it more and more to cover the bills. The unfairness of it all is maddening.

I cry for the mothers without any support at home. The single moms, the moms whose partner is deployed, the moms who are living separately from their partners working on the front line who are quarantined with their children all alone. Who shoulder each and every responsibility on their own—work, grocery shopping or ordering, meal planning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bath time, bedtime, work, homeschool—without help or assistance. Single mothers, without any financial assistance sometimes, either. I cry for your exhaustion. I cry because of your strength and resilience.

I cry for the mothers who have to continuously say "no" to her kid's requests—"Can we go to the park?", "No", "Can we go see our cousins?", "No", "Can we go to Grandma and Grandpa's?", "No." The mothers who are consoling their children's broken hearts over missed graduation ceremonies and senior proms, while their hearts break simultaneously. You yearn to give them these experiences, to celebrate these milestones, and yet, you're not sure how to do that now.

I cry for the mothers who have canceled important plans. For the Disney trip you spent years saving for. For the first birthday you planned months ago with so much precision and creativity. For the canceled concert you looked forward to, the girl's weekend that you've postponed, the baby shower you may never get. I know the joy these events can bring, and I am sure the heartache feels monumental.

We cry because it's all too much. It's overwhelming. It's fast and furious. It's all so brand new, so foreign.

But, then, after we cry, we dry our eyes. The tears flow into our bloodstream and we power up. Power through. We dig into our reserves and we find our power. Our light.

We are mothers, and yes, we cry.

But then—we forge ahead. With a newfound strength, confidence and resilience—that, no, maybe we didn't plan for any of this, but we're sure as hell going to get ourselves and our families through it. No matter how many tears we shed first.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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