Friday, September 3, 2010

A letter to my pregnant self

This is a part of a series of guest posts for first time moms that I have put together from a variety of moms with a variety of perspectives. This one is written by Adriel of The Mommyhood Memos. Please stop by her blog to read more of her posts. You can also follow The Mommyhood Memos on Twitter or in her BlogFrog community!

Dear Adriel,

You are becoming a mom. Finally, after 32 long years your dream is coming true! And guess what? It’s going to be even better than you imagined.

I know that right now it seems like pregnancy will never end… but enjoy these last days. Soon—when he’s not all tucked up safely inside of you—you will have to share that precious boy with the world.

Don’t stress about him coming too early or too late. I know you’re concerned about your parents flying in from overseas and being there for Levi’s big debut… But your clever little one will actually be one of the few babies that decide to come on his due date. Isn’t that fun?

{What you couldn’t have known then.}

As his birthday approaches, I want to tell you a few things that I’ve learned since then. I hope you’re taking notes, because this stuff is good.

First of all, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times… but seriously, hear it one more time: life is about to drastically change. Don’t worry, you’ve prepared as best as you possibly can. But just know that you can’t fully prepare for the best parts of life… like this one.

{You were made to give birth.}

The day of Levi’s birth is going to be so incredible. It will be hard work, but you will sail through it. You are much tougher than you sometimes give yourself credit for. In fact, most all women are. You were made to bear children… and soon you will get to see that in reality. You have nothing to fear, nothing to be anxious for.

{There will be a change of plans.}

I’m sorry to break it to you, but Levi’s birth will not be un-medicated, or in the birthing pool, or most of the ways you’re imagining it right now. You know that little inkling that he might be breech and you could possibly end up having a C Section? Well, let’s just call that a mother’s intuition, because… you’re right.

Of course you won’t discover this until twelve hours into labor, but don’t be afraid. You’ll handle it beautifully, with grace and confidence. God knows that you can handle it; He’s promised to never let you go through anything you can’t handle, remember?

{Remember to look beyond yourself.}

In those moments when you’re first told the news, remember to tell your midwife that you love her and you’re not mad at her for misinterpreting Levi’s position correctly in time to move him. She will be feeling incredible disappointment and failure in that moment… and she, too, will need some reassurance and encouragement.

She’ll later tell you how much your sweet attitude and response meant to her. Because as much as everyone tells you this day is about you and your sweet boy, the reality is that many others around you will also be effected by this miracle of life and how you bring your son into the world. Birth is holy, treat is as such.

{Prepare to behold glory.}

The surgery itself will go quickly and smoothly and the doctors and their teams will do just as great as your midwife would have done. It will be different, but no less amazing. They’ll take wonderful care of you.

More importantly, be prepared to meet the most gorgeous being you’ve ever laid eyes on. (And on that note, no need to worry about your baby being cute or not… He is seriously as cute as they come... everyone says so.) You will look at his face and finally know:

This is what glory looks like.

And even though you won’t get to hold him straight away like you had always envisioned, when you do finally hold him any of the disappointment from the change of plans will feel small and petty as it melts away in the wonder of that moment.

{Be anxious about nothing.}

And about breastfeeding... Yes, you’ve heard all the horror stories and you’re prepared for the worst. Your willingness to try as hard as you can and your commitment to persevere through those first few difficult weeks as you try everything in your power to make it work is noble and wonderful.

But guess what?

You are one of the lucky ones who finds breastfeeding a breeze. So let’s just forget those worries now. No need for them. During those first moments of holding your dear son on your chest, he will easily find his way and begin nursing naturally. It will be as if you’ve always been together.

The ease of breastfeeding will be grace to you amidst the mixed emotions that come with your unplanned surgery. Enjoy it and give thanks for it.

{Let yourself be taken care of.}

Now about going home... You’re going to need to stay in the hospital for five days due to a mild infection. As much as this doesn’t sound ideal to you right now, please know that it is. We all know your inclination to try and be superwoman, but this is not the time. You really do need to take it easy and let others take care of you. Being in the hospital will gently force this upon you. This, too, is grace to you. Embrace it and enjoy being served. Receive.

You do need to be warned, however, that in Australia husbands aren’t allowed to stay overnight with you in the hospital. I know this is different to home, and it understandably hard, but you can handle this. During those five long nights you will enjoy some precious moments with your son, just the two of you. Do you best to look on the bright side. Your homecoming day will come soon.

{Don’t stress about your recovery.}

You know what they say about recovering from a C Section, and so it’s no surprise that you will be frustrated by the prospect. But this is another area that’s not as bad as you might have been led to believe. Within a few days of being home you’ll be ready for some short day trips, and by week three you’ll be able to drive again. Yes, there’s some lingering pain and you have to be careful, but you most certainly won’t be an invalid and you won’t even be housebound… so let’s just dispel that fear right now so that you can enjoy the afterglow of your son’s birth.

{Love: madly, deeply.}

Be prepared to love like you’ve never loved before. You are going to have moments where you’re singing to that little boy, or even just looking at him from across the room while someone else takes a turn holding him… and it will feel as if your heart will explode with a deeper love than you’ve ever experienced.

You’ll begin to understand the love of God in a deeper way, you’ll fall in love with your husband in a more profound way, and of course you’ll love your little boy enough to honestly want to give your life for him if need be.

It’s a fierce, strong, solid love that’s decorated with sweetness and laughter and more kisses-on-the-toes than you ever dreamed possible. It's a love that will drive you to miss him when he's tucked up safely sleeping. A love that cause you to gaze at his photo when you can't look at his face before you. A love that feels eternal and timeless and extravagant and pure. A love that begins to define you anew.

{You will step onto a roller coaster.}

But along with those highs there will be things that stretch you at the core of who you are as a woman. Insecurities will be revealed that you don’t even realize are lurking under the surface of your smile. There will be moments when fears that are new and foreign to you will seem to come out of nowhere and corner you in the dark.

You need to know that you can handle all of it. You are as ready as you’ll ever be. With the help of your husband and God and the loved ones around you, you will learn to ask for help, you will learn humility, you will learn patience, and you will learn to trust yourself more than you ever have yet.

{Having a child will grow you.}

As magical as it is, being a new parent is difficult. There will be times when you don’t know what to do and times where you second guess yourself. In those moments you need to try and remember that you’re the mom… you really do know what’s best, even if your emotions are telling you otherwise. You might sometimes feel like you’re grasping at straws, but the good news is that you and your son and your family will all learn and grow together.

I also want to warn you about the times when you’ll want more than anything to trade jobs with your husband. There will be days when you want to call in sick… or at least take a lunch break or sign off at 5:00pm. Those days are especially difficult because the reality is that you simply can’t.

But the sooner you figure out how to get some time for yourself to refresh and recharge, the better you’ll be able to handle those days. You’ll work it out. Just be deliberate. And in the meantime, know that having those days and those thoughts doesn’t make you a bad mom.

{You are the expert.}

And lastly, I can’t emphasize this enough… Every child is different just as every mom is different. Trust yourself. Go with your gut. Listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t work, just try something else. There are no “rules” that you have to go by.

Parenting is—and should be—fluid and organic. One lesson learned will flow into the next. Listen to the advice from others, read the books and websites that you need to, but when it all boils down, remember that you’re the mom and you know what’s best.

{Wash your brain in this truth.}

You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. This needs to be your new mantra.

Make sure that you don’t try to be perfect or you’ll make yourself feel miserable in your failed expectations. But do remember that perfect has nothing to do with great.

Sear it into your mind… carve it into your heart… write in on your hand… post-it note it around the house if you need to: You’re a great mom.

me xx

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MamaBear said...

i love this! it's so very true!

Kerry McCullough said...

Hi there! I'm following you from The Mommyhood Memos. I love Adriel, so I'm sure I will love this blog, too!

Mine is Stop by any time :)

adriel, from the mommyhood memos said...

Cameron, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog! What an honor it is. I'm so glad to have "found" you in blogland and hope that some of my other bloggy friends become your bloggy friends too.

Tomica Bonner said...

That was really good! I should have written one of these.

Please join me at I'd love to welcome you to our new community.

The Planet Pink said...

Oh so true. I needed one of these letters for my last birth. :-)

theboredmommy said...

This is so perfect. I got teary eyed several times. Nice job, Adriel!!

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Beautifully written Adriel. I just loved everything you said and how beautifully you said it. I hope many Moms to be read this and remember it...just lovely:)

Amy Sullivan said...

"Having a child will grow you". How true, how true!

So glad you posted here. It has been awhile since my last visit, and I forgot how much I like Ingenue Mom.

Lindsey said...

WOW! How great, love this!

ElissaM said...

this was amazing! What a great way to record your birth story...definitely made me think about my births again. What a strong woman you are Adriel! I am happy to find this blog by the way:-)

Kerin Lee said...

Also following from Motherhood Memos. Hope you follow back, I think we'd be good friends :) :)

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Great post... I wish I'd done this... like 7 years ago when it was a little fresher in my mine ;)

Cari said...

I LOVED that letter. The reflection puts it all in beautiful perspective.

classycareergirl said...

What a beautiful letter! Great advice to new moms and to pregnant moms. I am neither yet but someday I will come back again to read this post:)

P.S. Love your maternity photo!

Amy said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this post! It was great for me to hear this as a first-time pregnant woman. Thanks Cameron! (I gotta hop over to Adriel's place to give her Kudos too.)

flyrish said...

Beautiful post, Adriel! I'm all for reiterating "you're a great mom." We have to have confidence in ourselves and our mom intuition. Great reminder!

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