Dear New Moms,
Welcome to the most paradoxical experience of your life.
Exhilarating … Exhausting.
Mundane … Surprising.
Rewarding … Excruciating.
Fun … Boring.
Wonderful … Difficult.
Motherhood is all these things and so much more.
The month of May is a very special one for me as a mother, and not just because Mother’s Day is in May.
May is also the month I began treatment for my postpartum depression in 2009 (nine months postpartum) and May is also the month I began my blog as a source of healing, advocacy, & community in 2010. I believe May 2011 is another milestone for me as I’ve hit a stride, discovered pure joy in mothering, and am pregnant with a second child.
Exactly two years ago I was overcome with despair. I had been battling severe anxiety, depression and insomnia for five months. I still didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hadn’t felt like myself since my son was born nine months prior. I genuinely wondered if this little person would gradually ruin my life.
“On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”
New Moms, life will never be the same.
That truth shocked and startled me to my very core when my son was born. Nothing prepared me for how motherhood would affect my emotions, my desires, my mental state, my ability to function.
I crumbled underneath the weight of it all.
“Not once had there been such eyes,
such a nose,
such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.
When the polar bears heard
they danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
the geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until
morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.”
New moms,I am living proof that while your life will indeed never be the same, your suffering is temporary.
Your despair will evaporate into hope.
Your anger will dissipate into joy.
Your fear will transform into strength.
“So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)
If the moon stays up until morning one day
or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
it’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…”
Today I am a proud, happy, content mother of a two-and-a-half year old, the greatest joy and challenge in my life. Each night as we put him to bed, we read On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. Each night my heart swells.
New Moms, your tears will go dry.
Your tension will ease.
Your burden will lift.
You will enjoy this new identity.
You will think back on the night your baby was born (someday soon) and in the place of pain & regret will be peace & joy
And, mysteriously, it will become increasingly difficultto even remember life before that night.
“For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again…
Heaven blew every trumpet
and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born.”
New Moms, you were born to do this job.
You were created to be your child’s mommy.
You will rock it.
One day at a time.
Grace Parson blogs at Arms Wide Open. She lives in Mexico with her husband and son. Follow her on Twitter at @ourarmswideopen.
Donations to Postpartum Progress can be made here: http://postpartumprogress.org/donate-postpartum-depression-2/