An open letter to a first time mom, friend, and sister

I want to write you to tell you to be prepared for change. Change in yourself and change in what you thought things would look like. Just like you could never prepare anyone for marriage or true love it’s impossible to know what motherhood will bring. I wanted to write you not to tell you what to expect but more to connect with a friend going to a country, a state of mind that I love. To ruminate on when I was pregnant, when my babies were born and to re-live the singular biggest change in my life, and think on the things I wish I would have been able to focus on. Just like your pregnancy will be as individual as you are so will your child, even from infancy. Having twins has shown me how different we all are from the very beginning. Take everyone’s advice, condescension, and emotions with a grain of salt and bask in the pride only a mother can know when your child is complimented. No one will love your child as you do, so when you begin to chide yourself on the care you give to the person you love more than yourself, be gentle. If there was one thing I would change about my experience it would be to focus more on what came after birth. I spent a lot of time, energy and worry on the lead up to meeting my first born rather than the moments after he was presented. I tried self hypnosis every night, I read opinion and protocols on natural birth, water birth, birthing centers, hospital births and home births. I toured every major hospital in the area and as well as the major birthing center. I read the anatomy and physiology of the birthing process as well as personal accounts of births. In the end I am glad I was informed; however I wish I would have allowed myself the joy of the presence of my unborn child. I was too fearful to allow myself to enjoy carrying my firstborn child, and to allow my mind to linger on holding my child after he was born. I wish I had done more research concerning breastfeeding and watched real women feed impossibly sleepy and precious newborns. I wish I had spent the money from the self hypnosis on photography for the first few moments or days as a family of three. I wish I would have been in more photos as well. I wish I would have given myself permission to hope and dream and buy baby clothes and imagine my tiny baby in them instead of fearing the worst. I wish I would have bought nursing shirts and packed maternity tights for the days after giving birth instead of thinking I would fit into large pre-pregnancy clothes. Pregnancy is nearly a year of waiting, something I have never been good at. Don’t wish it away. I sometimes imagine myself as an 80 year old woman trying desperately to remember all of the intricacies of pregnancy and of rearing children and longing for a few moments back in that hormonal, stressful, blissful time. It helps me to relish the moments and keep things in perspective.

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