I was still pregnant with my second baby when Katherine asked me to write to you today. I was so excited to have been asked. And then, as the final weeks of my pregnancy passed and I began to think of what my life would soon be like, fear and doubt crept in and I thought “Who am I to give advice? What can I possibly say that will make any difference?”
But here I sit, two days shy of my daughter being one month old, and the advice that I have for you is the same advice that I have for me, even now.
These are the words I have held onto for the past three years and onto which I continue to cling.
Finish each day and be done with it.
The beauty of each day is that it ends. No day, not even the worst of days, lasts forever. When the day ends, put it to bed just like you do your child. Then, do your best to let it go in whatever way you can.
You have done what you could.
What you can do each day may vary from one day to the next. It’s okay to have days that are bare minimum days where everyone is fed and that’s the biggest thing you do all day.
Some days, it may be a sweeping accomplishment just to be out of your pajamas before your partner walks in the door. There will be other days where the stars will align and you will be showered and loads of laundry will be done before you finish your second cup of coffee.
(Trust me, though. It’s totally okay if you’re not that ambitious. I am not that ambitious.)
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can.
Maybe you can’t remember if you brushed your teeth today. Maybe there was too much television. Maybe you yelled a little louder than you normally do. Maybe you cried. A lot.
Maybe you had to put the baby down and walk away for a few minutes.
All of this, and more, is okay. One bad moment doesn’t make you a bad mother.
One bad day, or even a string of them, doesn’t define you as a mother.
Remember. Sometimes the goal is just to finish the day, no matter what. Because—and here’s the beautiful thing—
Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow is a NEW DAY. Just like the sun sets each night to let us know the day is over, it rises each morning to give us renewed hope for a different day. A better one.
Every day is a chance to start fresh.
Begin it well, and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Begin each new day just like that. New. With the struggles of the previous day or days behind you.
It won’t always work. Sometimes the day you’re on will be just as bad as the day you just lived. Some days will be clouded with the memories of previous days haunting you from the shadows.
But that day will end and another day will begin and eventually, the days will get better. Brighter.
You will get stronger. Your spirit will get higher and you know you’ll make it through this.
You’re making it through this.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well, and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, attributed
Miranda is a wife, teacher, and PPD/A survivor who has recently added “girl mom” to her motherhood resume. She is not now, nor will she ever be, a super mom. Average is good enough.
The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit 501c3 that raises awareness & advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider making a donation today, on Mother’s Day, to help us continue to spread the word and support the mental health of new mothers.