If I could go back 12 years to the beginning of this Mommy Gig, there are things that I would tell the “New Mommy” me. Things I should hear and know. Things I’d deliver straight to my heart, like that violent Pulp Fiction through-the-chest resuscitation shot, to help myself breathe just a little in that time where the new Mommyhood first destroyed myself but before I really lived again.
“Dear Past Nikki,
Oh new Mommy. In the beginning it’s hard. It is so very hard. It’s hard. Your feet are constantly moving like a marathon that has just started. You haven’t trained. No one could possibly train you for motherhood. There’s no way to build your muscles. No way to increase your endurance. No way to improve you time other than to start running. It is the way that this is done. You won’t always feel so exhausted that you can barely keep your eyes open at the dinner table. Or catch your head as you are about to visit mashed potatoes. This is off-balance. Delirious. I know you do not care right now. That punching people in the face sounds awesome to you right now when they say, “It’ll get better!” It does get better, Mommy. The secret is that you get stronger with each and every passing day.
Sweet new Mommy, this postpartum depression is not just a biological phenomena reserved strictly for Mommy who grow their babies themselves. You will adore your little one. You are wildly grateful for her. You would give your life for her. There will be some days where you will think you are not up to this and strung out on things you wish you could, but can’t. All kinds of Postpartum “What the hell” days are normal, even for you. Welcome to the land of crushing love with this new little life and breathless with the loss of yourself.
Parenting is relentless. No matter how you got here. There. You will feel like you’ve been beaten, sometimes every minutes or second of the day. It may knock you down, but you will not stay down. You are a woman. You are just at the beginning to learn how very strong you are. Parenting is relentless. I’ve mentioned that. Relentless. Eventually it’ll give you a better version of yourself. Eventually you will consider it a worthy trade.
You will have days that are filled with pain. Loneliness. Unsure. You are dying Mommy. Dying to yourself. Laying down everything that you once knew. You will rise again. You will go far. All the way to the moon. You will. To infinity and beyond. Your life will not always be about diapers, late nights, early mornings, toddler fits, or Mommy tantrums. I swear and cross my heart. You will seek and you will find yourself in the spark of the moment. I know this from hard experience. To the marrow of your bones. You are resilient. Capable. Strong.
I know you are wondering how “Mommying” is so isolating when millions and millions of women do it everyday with more than just one or two children under the age of 5. I know you didn’t think there would be loneliness with it. If I had a genie in a magic bottle, I would wish for a “zoom out” button for you. In the middle of the night. When you’re sitting on the hard floor rocking your crying baby and yet crying yourself. Filled with despair because you want to just stop the crying but are not sure how. You could zoom out and see. You could zoom out over your house. Then out. Then in. Like a Google Earth for Mommy’s. From that high place in the sky overhead you would see that you are one of an ocean of Mommys rocking on the floor in the middle of the night. Know that you are not alone. Maybe in the house you are, but not really. You’d wave at all the other Mommy’s. They’d wave at you through their tears back at you.
It takes a village to raise a child”
I know you would wonder how to find this village. Damn Village! The Zoom Button would sure be helpful right about now. Don’t you think? Remember you must breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. There is a Village within yourself Mommy. There is HOPE! You’ll get there! You’ll find the illusive Village that is lurking about. You are so right to keep on moving til you find your Mommy Tribe.
Oh all the Mommy’s that you will find! Some of them are lost in the wilderness just similar to you. They will point to the way of Love. Hand you a beer. Teach you to laugh at the mess. To not care about what others think of you. You just do not know. The sweaty, miserable work you are doing within the jungle isn’t just for you, Mommy. There is a purpose for all of your lost wandering. You don’t know it. You’re cutting a trail that others will follow to the Love. The Beer. The Laughter. Can you belive it!?
Oh New Mommy. Here are 3 things I wish I could tell you. You are okay! There is both dark and light side of you. The despair and the hope. The hope will win. I promise.
You are not alone. Love is there. You are there. Together you are enough.
Love to you,
Nikki (Future self)