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Community Advocacy Organization

An Open Letter to New Mothers

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Chronicle News Graphic

Dear sister, in the depths of postpartum,

I see you.

I was you.

I am you.

Whether you are having a day of pure adoration, bottomless gratitude, of immense love for this new chapter in life, or you are battling internal conflict, confused thinking "what have I done?" If you are wondering if you can survive this season and hold all the responsibility of taking care of this precious, tiny human, you are not alone. Whether you feel achy, celebratory, tender, unraveled or you feel all of it in one swift moment, I see you. Your feelings, your sensations, and your emotions are valid.

You may be the mom who woke up in a puddle of her own breastmilk this morning. Laundering the sheets each day and wondering, "when will the oversupply regulate? When will the pain of engorgement subside? It will, eventually. You may be the one cringing, skin crawling with each latch, just waiting on the month mark you promised yourself. You may be evading the guilt you would feel if you 'gave it up' now. You may be the one anxiously awaiting your milk to come in, squeezing your breasts each time you are in the shower to check and see if there is anything in there. You may be the mom whose milk never did come in, the one who never had the chance to try feeding her baby from her body. You may be carrying some shame about that. If so, I pray it lifts off you soon.

You may have been the mama with a flailing baby, contorting and squirming and screaming themselves to sleep in your arms last night. You may have been the one crying right along with them, letting the noise machine drown you both out. You may have gotten six hours of sleep last night and still, you feel exhausted.

You may be the mama who says “it's fine” when you know deep down, you need every bit of help you can get. You may be the mother in desperation wondering when 'the village' will come to the rescue. You may be the one who misses her social life, her work life, her love life. You may be the mama who cannot imagine going back to work in a couple of weeks or a couple of months. You may be the mom looking into a toddler’s disappointed, tearful eyes as you reject playtime yet again to take care of the baby’s needs. You may secretly (perhaps, shamefully) wish and want for just one more day as a mom of one.

Yes, I see you, too.

You may be the mom who wept in the rocker, holding your sleeping, beautiful baby, wishing your own mom was still alive to share in this experience. You may find peace in knowing she is your guardian angel, looking over you and your baby, now. You may be aching over the disconnect and fractures in your own relationships that now boldly reflect back to you when you dream of everything you want for your child.

You may feel broken.

You are not broken.

You are healing.

You may be the postpartum mom with a saggy, bloody diaper, wondering if you could ever feel sexy or desirable again. I quietly promise you, you can and you will. It just may take some time and acceptance. You may be feeling like a deflated balloon. You may be horny. You may be unable to imagine having sex again. It is all okay. Remember, normal is a full spectrum. The idea of normal presented to most of us is fake. Ditch the comparisons.

You may be the one whose relationship is hanging on by a thread. You may feel like you are getting to know one another again. You may feel nervous, and uncertain about how much more the marriage can take through sleepless nights that lack passion or intimacy. You may be finding a newfound child-like glee with your partner, giddy over your new addition. You may not know where the relationship will go from here. To the mom who falls deeper in love with her partner when she sees the way he/she looks at their new baby, and to the one who just wants to be alone, remember, grace is sufficient for you to accept and extend.

I won’t say it gets “better." Motherhood changes, though. It gets different. Each phase has its unique challenges and delights.

Your baby gets more practice being human. You get more practice being its mom. You all grow together. You learn together. It gets different!

It becomes the norm. The dance you do with, and around, one another becomes your everyday motion. The past fades a bit. You compare less and less what life was like “before the baby." The reality becomes more radiant, more vibrant. You build around it; you go with it more than you go against it. You experience more vulnerability within it and cultivate more intimacy because of it.

Welcome to this new world: MOTHERHOOD.

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