You don’t get it yet. And that’s OK. You’re navigating other areas of your life right now; graduating college, traveling the world, getting married, starting a new career, dwelling in your youth. All those things are great things. And I’m happy for you. Right now, I’m navigating a different realm of life—motherhood. And it’s not easy.
There are things that I don’t expect you to understand. Because before I became a mother myself, I didn’t even understand them. But now that I am a mother, I wish that I would have extended more grace to my own friends or siblings who entered parenthood before I did. And one day, if you decide to become a mother yourself, maybe you’ll get it then. But in the meantime, here is what I need you to know.
Pregnancy is beautiful, but it is equally hard.
And so maybe I won’t have the time or strength to hang out, or even carry conversations like I used to. I’m getting acclimated to sharing my body with another person that already demands so much of me. My energy is drained most times. I’m frantically awaiting my next doctor’s appointment just to make sure that my baby is alright. My anxiety is at an all-time high, and I can’t think of anything else other than this little human growing inside of me.
My husband was deployed for the first six months of my pregnancy. During that time—though I understand that nobody was under any obligation—I wish I had more random check-ins from family and friends. I wish that when we shared the news with others, more people would have been understanding of our decision to keep the pregnancy between our immediate family for those first six months. Because the person who I wanted to share this intimate journey with the most was thousands of miles away, and every moment I was worried for his safety while also worried about the health of this little being forming inside of me. And though that experience brought us closer than ever, it also crushed me. That my husband didn’t witness the way my belly took shape for the first time. That I felt as alone as I did. That the one human who understood me most wasn’t here to console my worrying mind or hold me when the morning sickness was just too much.
And that’s just my experience. I’m sure every mother who has experienced pregnancy has some story of her own as to why it was hard and maybe even disheartening at times. But while pregnancy is beautiful and amazing and every moment leaves you in awe, carrying is heavy and mothers need just as much support in this time as they do postpartum.
The transition from woman to mother is an entire identity shift.
So that woman who I was before? There are pieces of her that I might not resonate with any longer. Please understand that right now, I’m trying to find myself. This new version. And she doesn’t quite make sense just yet. I don’t know how to love her, but I’m trying. So please be patient with me. And if she is nothing like she was before, I hope that you’ll still love her anyway.
Don’t take it personally.
If I can’t grab coffee—yet again. If I go days or weeks without texting back or if I’m not the first one to reach out at all. I’m sorry. I know I could be better. You may find it selfish of me. But I’m hoping that one day soon, I’ll get back to knowing how to balance friendships on top of working, being a wife and now a mother.
I’m trying to be more intentional. I promise that I try my best to, but most days I’m mustering up the energy to fill the spaces of my many roles. The first few months after birth, I’m running on a couple hours of sleep each night. And then, just when I feel like we’ve got the hang of it, the four-month sleep regression hits. And on another hand, I’m trying to reclaim intimacy with my partner. Because between the loads of diapers, pumping sessions and doctor appointments, we haven’t had much time for each other.
Most days I’m dragging my feet. And if I’m honest, I don’t want to drag you down with me. So I distance myself, thinking that I’m doing you a favor so that you don’t have to deal with this broken, messy version of me.
Motherhood is consuming.
It has become the core part of my identity. I can’t just clock out when my shift is over because the truth is, motherhood is never done. It’s a constant. A constant world of ups and downs. Trying to selfishly enjoy your favorite snack before those little feet come running into the kitchen. Turning down a job because it doesn’t fit your schedule and you can’t afford childcare. Googling even the slightest cough. It is a constant world of tears and laughter.
My family is my number one priority. They are who I wake up next to and end my nights with. And it is so very beautiful. But also so very consuming. So understand that there’s not much of me to go around these days, and even though I still care about you, I may not be as available or easily accessible as I once was.
I still need you.
Mothering without a village is hard. And while I have my few mom-friends that I am so very thankful for, I still need those friends who cater to the woman that I am outside of being a mother. I still need those conversations that aren’t always about playdates or the newest stroller that just came out.
So please don’t assume that I won’t have a babysitter or that my husband won’t be able to watch the baby. Most times, he’s pushing me out the front door and demanding that I have a girl’s day. I still love to be invited out and even if I can’t come, I’ll still know that I’m wanted. And that doesn’t make me feel as lost as I think I am. It shows me that you still see me. And still care about me. And honestly, in the midst of this motherhood thing, that is just what I need.
So to my friends who aren’t mothers yet, please bear with me. Love me even when it’s hard. Check in on me even when you haven’t heard from me in weeks. Be gentle with me as I figure it out. One day, I’ll have this motherhood thing all down. But right now, it is all so new to me. And while it is oh so beautiful, it is so very hard. One day, when and if you decide to become a mother yourself, I’ll be there to return the favor. To be by your side as you enter this beautiful journey that we call motherhood and to be a part of your village, because every mother needs one.