My best friend had her first baby—a precious baby boy— right at the beginning of the pandemic, right before we all truly grasped in what ways this season would shake all of our lives.

She got her nine months of sweetly growing belly pictures, prenatal appointments with her partner and without a mask, maternity pictures with a photographer allowed to come closer than six feet. She got her baby shower with her friends, the freedom to run to Target to buy one more swaddle, the late nights Googling the 'best nursing tank top' instead of 'signs and symptoms of covid.'

Essentially, she got the pregnancy she wanted, the one most women dream of, and then it all came to a full stop.

The moment she left the hospital, she was thrust into her home. Isolated, alone and postpartum. Experiencing all of the highs and lows that new mamas feel, but without the support system so many of us had when we had our babies.

As I think back on those weeks and months, that equally hard and desperately lovely newborn season, my heart breaks for my best friend. My heart breaks for all of the mamas bravely having their babies right now, only to turn around and have to do the newborn phase alone.

Mamas, I know you want to show off your baby, you deserve to do so—and you're allowed to be so frustrated that you can't.

Mamas, I know you want to sneak out for brunch with your partner, just to remember that you still are that couple you were before that little one showed up—and I'm so sorry that you can't.

Mamas, I know that for nine months you were carrying this bright new life and joy and hope, and now you've been forced into the strange, foreign and occasionally lonely and forgotten place of those exhausting postpartum weeks—and I'm so sad you have to walk them alone.

Mamas, I know you'd love fresh lactation cookies or a homecooked meal—and you're allowed to be grateful for the takeout everyone sends while you still long for lasagna or a casserole.

Mamas, I know you want to sneak out for a pedicure or a coffee, just to show the world that there's still a woman, a you in there, even while you embrace the new mamahood you now own—and I'm so sorry you don't have those ways to go take care of you.

Mamas, I know you feel awkward and uncomfortable in your new mama skin—and I'm so sad you can't sit with the girlfriends who can look at you and tell you "we know and you're going to feel okay again."

Mamas, I know you long for family and legacy to wrap their arms around you, to remind you of who you are and who loves that baby—and I'm so sorry that you can't be loved like that, in the ways you need, right now.

To my best friend, to all the mamas walking into the newborn postpartum season: You were strong and brave to get this far. I know you felt all of us cheering for you. But now, in these weeks and months, I want you to know that we're still cheering for you.

We still see you. We still want to love you in all the ways we can. You're allowed to grieve the things you aren't getting in this newborn postpartum stage of life. You're allowed to be frustrated that this doesn't look anything like you thought it would. We are here for you. And we are desperate to hold your beautiful baby.