I heard a lot about how hard it is, but not as much about how wonderful it could be.
Dear non-mom, not pregnant former self,
One day, you're going to become a mother.
You kind of know that, you kind of feel that. But you can't really fathom it yet. You know that's what you want but you don't know if you'll get it when you'll get it or how exactly you'll get it.
The thought crosses your mind now, here and there—random, fleeting thoughts like, I love him so much! Won't it be so cute to see him with our kids one day? as you admire your boyfriend (who will later become your husband) or Awww! She just told her mom she looked beautiful! I want a little human to tell me I'm beautiful one day! as you watch the woman you babysit for interact with her kids.
You feel it in your heart, but you don't feel it quite in your bones just yet. That kind of aching, beautiful love comes only with motherhood itself.
I wanted to tell you a few things about this #momlife you'll one day embrace.
Let's just get this part out of the way first. I feel like you should know that it's hard. It's really hard. You will—at times—wonder if it is ever going to work if you will ever get pregnant. And if you do, you'll wonder how exactly you will be able to do it; to be a mom. And if you don't, you'll wonder what your other options are and how you can get them moving.
You will—at times—be more tired than you could ever imagine. You will—at times—feel overworked and overlooked. You will—at times—want to escape, want to remember what life was like when you weren't tangled up with so many other people's lives.
But you know what else?
This is what I want to tell you the most.
You are going to LOVE it.
You're going to love being a mother. You're going to love hearing "mama" and "mommy" and even "moooooooooom!" Because these variations of your new pseudonym means that you are theirs and they are yours.
You're going to love taking care of tiny humans who look at you like you are Wonder Woman. You'll actually enjoy changing diapers (maybe not all the time, but most of the time), you'll enjoy drying your kiddos off after a bath, or gently placing a band-aid over a scrape. Because that reminds you of your greater purpose in this life: raising good people.
You're going to love the way it amplifies the love you have for your partner. There's nothing quite like watching the love of your life hold the other love of your life for the first time. That moment is absolute, pure magic—in every sense of the word—and never really goes away. Through this bond of parenthood, you two become a team, a crew… a family.
You're going to love the new sense of passion and purpose motherhood brings you. The transformation to 'mother' is ongoing and fluid and never-ending, really. We are constantly growing and changing and adapting to new parenting challenges and stages. To be a mother means to continuously evolve into better and stronger versions of yourself.
You're going to love how strong and capable you feel. You won't feel this every day, my friend. And that's because there are a lot of days that feel redundant, relentless and repetitive. You may question how capable you are when you can't find the keys because you left them in the freezer and you're now going to be late for preschool drop off (again). You may question your strength when you are crying in the shower after a day of feeling like a failure, trying to wash your mistakes and imperfections away.
But you will feel at your most capable when you can buckle three kids into their car seats and drive five hours to New York to visit your parents by yourself. Or when you bring your newborn to the doctor for their very first well visit and hear that your baby is strong and that you're doing a good job. Or when your toddler finally tries a bite of a new food after you've tried (what feels like) a hundred times.
You will feel your strongest when your child looks you in your eye and says, "I love you, Mom. You're the best." Or when your partner tells you how in awe they are of you. Or when you take a step back and look at your life and realize, This is exactly what I've always wanted.
So what I want to say to my former self and to all the women yearning to become a mother—you will get there. No matter what, your journey won't look the way you envision it at first. But that's okay. There is beauty and strength and resilience in the path that's specific to you.
To all the expectant mamas waiting to meet their little ones—oh, my heart jumps for you! You are in a very special moment in time. You are going to love this sisterhood of motherhood.
And to all the moms who are in it with me right now—you rule. You are an inspiration to me and you are everything to those kids of yours. They are loved, they are cared for and they are happy.
You are doing it.
And it's pretty great, right?
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- Mama, the relentless exhaustion of motherhood is real—but it's not forever