One of my oldest and dearest friends is due this Monday with her 1st child, Oliver. She and I have had a lot of conversations about the crazy/rude things people say to expectant parents and about parenthood and I wanted to write her a note for her to be able look back on. I remember how anxious I was in the days before Zoe (and even with my 2nd, Finn) and I wanted to send her something to help put her at ease and put a positive spin on this motherhood "thing". Being a mom isn't easy, but I truly think focusing on the joys and gifts of motherhood is the way to go instead of trying to scare people who have already decided to be parents.*
Here's the letter:
I've been thinking a lot about you and Justin lately. I've been thinking about this great adventure you both have been having these last nine months and how very, very soon your adventure and your family will expand. Today you are just five days from your due date and since your son could be joining us any day now, I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you a few things.
When people see an expecting couple, they like to give their two cents... as you know. They like to tell you "Just you wait!" and "Your life will never be the same again!" Sometimes people just laugh like the joke is on you: "You'll see!" In a way, this is natural... we want to relate to each other, we want to commiserate and share our life experiences. I think that people don't always hear themselves as these words are coming out and they don't realize how negative they sound.
After 2 kids and almost 3 short years of motherhood, here's my take on it:
Just you wait.... until you see your son for the first time. When you get to kiss his forehead and feel his skin against yours. Just you wait until you hear his first cry, his first coo, his first hiccup. Just you wait until you hold him in your arms and you are overcome with joy and emotion at this embodied miracle. Just you wait until he looks you in the eyes and you him. Just you wait until you get to share him with the world and feel this extreme sense of pride. Just you wait until you get to see your husband be a father, your parents be grandparents.
Your life never WILL be the same again. It will be even busier. As much as you and Justin love, adore, and respect each other now... that will grow exponentially as the two of you learn to parent this little man you are bringing into the world. Every time I look at my husband holding our children or playing with them, I fall in love with him even more - and there was a time when I didn't think it was possible to love him more than I did.
As a mom, you will face things you never imagined and even the things you imagined won't be exactly what you thought they would be. You will experience love unlike any love you have ever felt in your life. You will become fiercely protective. You will be more empathetic. You will relate to other women, other mom's, your mother more than you ever have before. You will laugh when your son laughs and sometimes you will cry when he cries. Even more now than ever, you will be inspired to do more great things and make a difference in the world. I'm especially excited about all this because I think you are such an amazing woman and I know that you will just thrive in your newest role .
You'll see... that you will become an even stronger person. You will learn to manage your time like a pro. You'll see that as nice as sleep is, that there is nothing that compares to holding your child and getting to know their personality and being there for them when they need you. You'll see that it will all go by so quickly... it will seem like the first year goes by much faster than these last nine months have gone.
Now, I'm not saying that you won't face stressful days. You and I both know that I have cried and not known how I was going to get through the day or do all the things I wanted or needed to. But those are fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things. When you face those stressful moments, remember the joyous ones and look to the moments you will get to experience as a mom: his first words, crawling, walking, watching him with Louie, seeing who he resembles physically and personality wise. Those things more than make up for the crying and the multiple feedings and the crazy diapers.
I am so excited for you and Justin. I think that you two are amazing people and together, an awesome team. I know that your son is so very lucky to have you two as parents and I am so looking forward to seeing you be a mother and getting to know the person Oliver will become.
I love you, sister. If you ever need me - I'm always here.
* - Not to say that I don't think it's OK to warn my daughter about how hard it is to be a mom so she doesn't end up being a mom before she has experienced life and is emotionally and physically ready.