Today you became a mother.
I know you have waited a very long time to become a Mom. No matter how many months or years you have longed for this, no matter how many tears have been shed, no matter if this is a natural birth, a c-section, an adoption, or foster care, today, everything changes.
You have become a Mother.
I know that you are nervous. Even scared.
You should be.
Advice is usually given by those with no experience, but I’ve been around the parenting block a time or two…or seven. I shouldn’t say anything. I have made enough mistakes that I have learned to keep my mouth shut. But today, I just can’t be quiet. I have something to say to you, New Mom. It’s important.
You don’t have much time.
From the very first moment you look into the face of that little helpless child, you and I, and all mothers throughout the time continuum, are on the same path. We are mothers.
I am getting a little choked up here, because I know what is in store for you.
Becoming Mom is going to hurt you.
It’s going to turn your heart inside out and tenderize it.
Today, when you become Mom, you will never be the same.
You’ll look into her eyes, and instantly, every fiber of your being is going to go haywire. All synapses will fire at once, flooding your brain in chemical Mama Love, and you will feel the primeval maternal instinct that swells from the depths of your soul, erupting into a force that wants to nurture and caress that baby, while at the same time, you’d fight a rabid saber tooth tiger just to defend her.
I don’t know if you have ever felt this way before, but today you will.
In your world yesterday, you may have been an attorney, a pharmacist, a highly skilled professional, a construction worker, a student. It doesn’t matter.
Today, you will talk baby talk.
And she will open her eyes, and look up at you, and she will smile.
So you’ll do it some more.
Today, you will begin to clean up messes that you never knew could exist. You will be aghast. You will be drooled on, cried on, sneezed on, puked on, leaked on,
perhaps simultaneously. She will look up at you, crying, needing you so much. You’ll bathe her, and she will smile. Or she might scream because she is afraid of water.
But when it is over, she will smell just right, and she will curl up in a towel and breathe softly on your neck. She’ll hold on to you and her small hands will be warm and sweet as she clings to you.
She will feel safe with you.
You’re her mom.
As she grows, she will begin to crawl, and she will start to discover the world.
And she will break your stuff.
All of it.
And you won’t even mind, because those tiny little hands
reaching up to find a place to grab onto in this world
Are also reaching for your hand. Wanting your help and your guidance
And your love.
Your love is going to mean more to this little person than to anyone else in the world.
You’re the one.
Love her with all you’ve got.
Tell her every day, show her every day.
Love her whether she is graceful or awkward, special needs or typical, healthy or frail. None of that matters as much as the very important fact that love heals everything. If you are broken, her love will heal you. If she is broken, your love will heal her. She is just what you need, and you are just what she needs.
You are perfect for each other.
Put down the phone, and play blocks.
Close the laptop, and have a tea party. Eat cookies together.
Cancel the meeting, and instead, sit on the couch with a blanket wrapped around you like a tent, and read Go Dog Go for the 373rd time.
Look her right in the eyes and tell her she is worth it.
Let her style your hair till it’s tangled up in knots and barrettes, and she tells you that you’re the Most Beautiful Mommy in the World.
You will be.
Sing her to sleep at night. Try to be patient.
Be her model for compassion and kindness and forgiveness.
Forgive yourself. Because you will both make mistakes.
You will not get paid anything for this. You will get no raise, no promotion, no street cred. You will spend your money on her. All of it. She will need diapers and formula and snacks and braces and school uniforms and sports physicals and auto insurance and oh dear, college tuition.
You will be the one she needs when she scrapes her knee, drops her sucker, loses her laptop, gets her heart broken, and crashes her car. You will also be the one she wants when she needs a hug, loses her first tooth, wants to serve tea, makes a friend, learns to read, starts to drive, graduates.
If you do your job right, then someday,
She will leave you.
She will walk away, or drive away, or be carried away.
No matter when that happens, it will be too soon. When that day comes, your heart will stretch and break again, erupting and overflowing with Mama Love and
You will cry.
If you get the precious gift of being her mother for just one month, or just one year, or five years…or even eighteen years…don’t let it pass you by.
Those tears that I shed for you today, New Mom…They were tears of joy.
Congratulations, My Dear.
Today, your life is going to change.
And that is a beautiful thing.