Many of us can say that we have been there, mama. Sleepless nights. An overflowing diaper pail. A to-do list that never seems like it’ll get done. The list goes on and on. Some days, you feel more of a mess than you do a mother. Some days, you don’t feel much of a mother at all.
You are exhausted. You feel worn out and worn down. You haven’t been outside since the day you brought your baby home, not to mention the daily check-ins from loved ones have waned. You awaited this moment from the time you found out you were pregnant, but now you question if you were made for this motherhood thing. Your eyes go from twinkling to teary in a matter of seconds. You yell at your husband and then instantly regret it, even though you never apologize. The nights roll into days, and you roll out of bed in the same pajamas you wore on Sunday. It’s Wednesday now. Amidst breaking down between cluster feedings and sore breasts and trying to sleep when the baby sleeps, you can barely pull yourself together and the world feels as though it is bursting at its seams.
Becoming a mother is both calming winds and raging waters, soothing songs and rushing storms.
Truth is, the postpartum period is hard, and we don’t talk about it enough. It is full of fluctuating emotions, baby blues and sometimes even depression. It is full of frustration when your baby just won’t latch and that feeling of failure when you supplement with formula instead. It is full of fear, angst and mom guilt. Honestly, it is flat-out overwhelming at times. But it also comes with joy, cheeky giggles and cuddles—lots of them.
Becoming a mother is not either-or. It is both calming winds and raging waters, soothing songs and rushing storms. It is feeling achieved one moment and wishing you could reset the day in another. When you gave birth to your child, you also gave birth to a version of yourself that has never existed before. A bleeding, swollen, sensitive, emotional, stretch-mark-ridden but trying mother. You deserve to be seen and heard. You deserve to be held and comforted through what feels like the most unbearable trials of motherhood.
I wish someone had told me how uneasy and lonely postpartum could be, but mama, I am telling you now. It is challenging, and some days, you will not want to get out of bed. When your baby finally sleeps, you will have the option to choose between eating, taking a shower or folding those clothes that have sat in the dryer since last week. You’ll sit and cry instead. You will hurt over lost friendships and wonder why you feel so deserted, but it does get better.
They don't see the mess. They just see their mother.
In those moments when the night stretches long and the tears form a river down your cheeks, remember to give yourself grace, because your child doesn’t see the mess. They don’t see the woman who sometimes sits in the shower and cries from fatigue. They don’t see the darkening bags under her eyes. They don’t see the woman who winces in pain at an achy postpartum body that just gave birth six weeks ago. Or when she looks in the mirror with disgust and disappointment at her reflection. They don’t see the mess. They just see their mother. The woman who nurtures them. The woman who nourishes them. The woman who wraps them in the warmth of her unconditional, unwavering love.
So to the mama battling the postpartum period, the mama unbecoming to become again, you may mourn who you once were. That’s OK.
You may crawl on blistered hands and bruised knees, wondering if you are doing it right. That’s OK.
You may weep and talk to the moon on nights when your little one is going through the four-month sleep regression. That’s OK.
But through your grief, you will find a groove. You will find a rhythm that comes with ease. You will stare down at that sweet baby and wonder how such a tiny human can be so full of life. And you will spend every day falling in love, over and over again.