Dear New Mama,
I love flowers. I especially love peonies. Do you know about these beautiful flowers? They don’t make much sense to me. They grow in these massive green bushes. Before their buds appear they are awkward and kind of ugly. Their buds start out as these long and pointed green pods. The pods give no sign that one day they’ll round out into beautiful buds preparing to bloom.
If it rains or there is moisture in the air the bush will completely collapse. The peony bud is so top heavy that it will fall over without adequate support. Sometimes the eventually round buds are so compact and heavy they snap right off of their stems from the weight.
Oh, but when they bloom! I check on my peony plants daily to await their bloom. All the propping up and fussing and tending result in a magnificent moment of deep beauty when then buds release and open. Peonies have magic and history, they come in a lush collection of colors and shapes. The beauty of the peony is altogether arresting and simultaneously tender and fragile.
Peonies are a constant reminder to me of what motherhood looks like. After giving birth to my son, Isaiah, I couldn’t recognize a single beautiful characteristic of this thing called motherhood. I looked around and saw so many other women who were held up and flourishing. I wanted to be beautiful, like them. Hell. I just wanted to feel okay.
Had I failed at being a mother? Wasn’t I supposedly born endowed with what I needed for motherhood? Did failing at a being mother mean failing at being a woman; at being a good person?
I wanted to be good at this motherhood thing, but try as I did I felt so unable to hold myself up. Eight years ago I found myself so awkward, heavy, and kind of ugly. I felt like the slightest emotional wind or rain could topple me over, or even snap me right off of my stem. I wilted without support.
You might feel the same way. You might feel like there nothing good on the other side of the weight and heaviness of what you are suffering through. You don’t feel beautiful. You don’t feel lush and full of magic and history.
I am telling you now, sister, you are simply waiting to have enough sun, support, and hope release.
You are striking and fragile. You are full and soft. You are arresting and powerful.
You, dear one, are more than these fleeting moments of heaviness that seem to point to nothing worthy at a all. You are moving through. You are transforming. One day, without notice, you’ll erupt into splendor. You are worthy of all the propping and fussing and tending. You are mysterious. You are mother.
You are waiting to bloom.
The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.