There may be days when you think, I can't do this.
Days when you don't feel good enough, when you look around and feel inferior to every other parent on the planet. Times, maybe, when you feel like a failure, when your eyes search your baby's face desperately for approval but none is forthcoming.
There may be mornings when you want to cry out the tears that are pushing at your eyes, but you'll fight them back, determined not to show your pain. And then there may come the nights when you fear you'll never sleep again, as the minutes tick by into hours and yet still your child screams.
Sometimes you may suspect that perhaps your baby doesn't even like you, that their preference is for anyone else who comes into their orbit—however brief or tenuous that connection might be. There may be days when you wonder, Will it ever get easier?
And then there will be the day when your heart will leap at the sight of that first smile. The day when the sound of your baby's giggle will dance joyously in your ears.
The day when you will be engulfed in a tidal wave of pride at that tentative, wobbly first step. The day when a lump will form in your throat and silence you. You will find yourself unable to reply to that mumbled, “Mama," the most beautiful word ever said.
Then, there will be the days when you will laugh uproariously at an enthusiastic game of peek-a-boo and want to weep at a determined and angry refusal to eat lunch. The days when the fallout of an epic tantrum will be negated by the feeling of two little arms around your neck.
The days when your child will steadfastly and determinedly refuse to cooperate with you around the simplest of tasks, like getting dressed, but will sweetly and politely crawl on to your lap, book in hand.
There will be the days when you feel the tension rise when a repeated, “No, no, NO," is ignored, but an outreached hand looking for guidance will bring your smile back. And there will be the days when you will feel rotten then wonderful, in short, swift succession.
But every day you will feel the love. The pure, infinite, limitless love which beats in you like another organ. The love that is embedded in you, attached to your soul, which can never be removed, no matter what. The love that is now part of your identity, the relentless, all-encompassing love that you have for your child.
And on those days when you doubt yourself—because they will surely come—remember this: You were born for this job. They have chosen you and there is nobody else in this world they would rather have by their side for their journey to becoming them.
And one day you may even realize: you're amazing.