“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart, it doesn’t mean a thing.” – Toni Morrison.

Pregnancy in itself can be a challenge to many women. From nausea experienced in the first months of pregnancy to back pain, heartburn and urinary frequency, it can be a very trying period [1].

As our due date draws closer, we take time to prepare for our newborn. We buy clothes, design the nursery and even read books but nothing truly prepares us for the changes a newborn brings into our lives. The first few months after childbirth is usually very difficult. Sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, physical or emotional changes will at one point or another, take its toll on new mothers [2].

As the child grows older, the focus shifts from breastfeeding to toilet training, tackling bullying, etc. Sometimes, doubts may arise about whether we are doing the right thing or not [3].

Relationship struggles

In between all of that, you may notice that you are struggling with feelings of bitterness towards your partner. So much of your energy and love often goes toward your little one and away from your partner — only to be replaced by negative feelings like frustration, resentment, and score-keeping.

However, it is important to remember that one of the biggest gifts you can give your child in life is the model of a functioning, communicative and healthy relationship.

Hope?

The beginning of motherhood is overwhelming in almost every way. You will find yourself surrounded by all of these new responsibilities at once, and you will feel extremely exhausted, but you can take comfort in the fact that it gets better by the day [4].

A mother’s letter

In a blog post, Chaunie Brusie, mom, nurse and writer pens down an emotional letter to her firstborn. She starts by reminiscing about times spent together with her daughter. She also highlights how her daughter’s birth changed her world entirely.

Ugh, Mom, you never pay any attention to me!” my oldest child said in a huff the other day. Her delicate features crumpled on her face as she crossed her arms and frowned at me.

I tried to not laugh out loud as I pulled her in close to me, remembering the months we spent together, alone—just her and me. The days I literally spent just holding her, the hours I spent reading with her, the naps we shared, the classes we took together to teach her to swim, the way she was my entire world and how she changed my entire world.

She continues by saying she sometimes had doubts over her capability as a mother, how she struggled with making decisions, but she also praises her daughter’s strength and maturity in caring for her siblings.

You’ll never know how unfit I feel for this job sometimes, how much I want to hide under my covers, how many times I offer up a silent “Are you sure you meant me for this gig?” to the universe. You’ll never know how I see myself in you, something that frightens me, even as it thrills me.

You’ll never know how I love watching you grow up, how I see everything you do for your siblings, how you bear the burden of being the oldest—and a girl at that—so very gracefully.

She talks about her greatest fear which is losing her daughter.

You’ll never know what rage a mother can feel when someone crosses her little girl, the way my stomach hurts for you when you get nervous, the way I feel what you feel. You’ll never know how my biggest fear in life is losing you, is of you slipping away from me, slowly as you grow.

You’ll never know how every step, every breath, every time I see you think of another, every story you tell, every movement you make, makes me marvel at the gift you are.

Finally, she affirms her commitment and dedication to loving her daughter always

You’ll never know, dear daughter of mine, how you became my entire world, changed my entire world, and will always be my world.

But I am here. Even when you think I’m not. And that’s a promise.”

References:

  1. New motherhood made me feel invisible“, Motherly.
  2. Why being a first-time mom is so hard“, Motherly.
  3. Just Had a Baby? A 6-Week Survival Guide“, Parents.
  4. 7 Common New-Parent Worries“, Parents.
  5. My Dear Firstborn, You’ll Never Know“, Mom.me. July, 2017.
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