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.
A version of this story was originally published on Oct. 26, 2017. It has been updated.