The rawness of motherhood cracks your heart wide open

These feelings come from the deepest love imaginable, yet can sometimes make me feel like I’m going crazy.

The rawness of motherhood cracks your heart wide open

I brought my third daughter home from the hospital three weeks ago. And just as my heart proved its insane and wonderful ability to expand when I had my second daughter, my heart proved its power again—it is currently full of what feels like all the love in the world.

As mothers our hearts are fragile, yet strong.

They're open and exposed.

They're full and fierce.

I am a sensitive person and I have always felt things very deeply. But as a mama, the feelings I have for and about my children are deeper and more raw than anything I've ever felt before.

Parenting and protecting these little ones can often leave me feeling overwhelmed.

I'm overwhelmed with love.

I'm overwhelmed with worry.

I'm overwhelmed with joy.

I'm overwhelmed with fear.

I'm overwhelmed with awe.

I want to hold on to every single minute of motherhood. But at the same time, I want to move past the scary, boring and lonely ones.

These feelings come from the deepest love imaginable, yet can sometimes make me feel like I'm going crazy.

I can go from wanting to pull my hair out with frustration and exhaustion at bedtime, to wanting to wake my kids up because they're so cute and I miss them while they sleep.

I can go from forcing myself to calm down and take deep breaths after I ask my daughter to put her shoes on for the fifth time, to melting into a pile of mush five seconds later while listening to her tell her little sister she's “so cute” and that she loves her.

I can go from crying because it's been a hard day and no one's listening and I don't know how I'm going to make it to the end of the day, to hugging and kissing on my kids because they worked together to color me a beautiful rainbow picture.

These feelings are nonsensical.


Up and down.

All over the place.

And totally perfect.

Perfect because they're real and they're the truth of motherhood.

So to the mother who feels like she can't make sense of this wide range of wild feelings, I want you to know—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to bottle up the smell of your newborn to keep and sniff whenever you want because you cry thinking about the day that'll go away—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to sit and stare at your new baby's face for hours and hours and not fold laundry or wash dishes, because you can't believe you made this gorgeous human—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who is exhausted at their 3 a.m. nursing wake up call but so, so, so happy—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother whose heart basically has palpitations when you watch your partner hold your child, swaddle them and change their diaper—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who feels like she might explode with excitement while watching her child take their first steps (while sweating because trying to catch it on video is very stressful)—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to jump and scream and clap with pride and joy when they see their child kick a soccer ball at their first practice—I’m that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to give herself a hug when she checks on her sleeping children post-bedtime because today was a tough-as-nails day and now in the still of the dark night, she wonders if she was enough, did enough—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to squeeze her babies tight when they do something amazing like use manners in public or introduce themselves to a new friend without prompting—because they actually are listening to some of the things we say—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who doesn't want those toddler curls to ever disappear or be chopped away, who never wants to forget watching the I-just-learned-how-to-run bounce/run/waddle, who wants to tuck that toddler giggle in her pocket forever—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who leaves a parent teacher conference beaming with pride, wanting to do cartwheels to the car because her child is “kind and helpful and confident”—I'm that mama, too.

To every mother who wants to freeze time and keep her babies small forever—I'm that mama, too.

When you have a child, your heart cracks wide open.

So when you wonder if your heart can take any more, feel any more, hold any more love—know that your wide open heart can handle and hold more than you give it credit for.

It's all part of the magic of motherhood.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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