A letter to first time moms

San Clemente Family Photographer-4959 I’ve always felt that the benefits of hindsight were grossly unfair; probably even more so now, as a mother.

I remember feeling so handicapped when Hooper was a baby; like every outing was now some sort of huge undertaking. Even going to the grocery store felt like an ordeal. I had all (or most) of the gimmicky stuff — the diaper bag, the stroller that I’d whip out to wheel him into a restaurant from the parking lot, an assortment of pacifiers that I never ended up using (the list goes on).

It isn’t until the second, or better yet, the third, comes around that you see just how easy you had it with one. How nothing that you thought was a big deal was, well, a big deal. How all the things you said no to – “no, sorry, can’t go on that camping trip because we have the baby” – were as doable as they’d ever be.

I recently visited a friend who is a first time mom and those early days – and all the emotions surrounding that time — came flooding back. The drastic change of going from none to one, feeling like breastfeeding owned me, the resentment I felt toward Willy.

If you’re a first time mom, or even a mom for the third time around, these words are for you:

It’s okay if you don’t goo and gaa over your child immediately. Sometimes the best relationships are the ones that grow with time. Or better yet, over a few consecutive nights of good rest. Or even better yet, when personality comes into play.

It’s okay if you hate breastfeeding. It’s not as romantic as some make it. And it’s not that people lie or try to portray it as something more glamorous than it is, it probably has more to do with the fact they’re in a different time or place than you. And that’s okay, too. It wasn’t until Sonny that I can say I truly love breastfeeding and am not overwhelmed by the commitment it entails. It also wasn’t until I grew into my role as a mother that I learned it’s best not to judge. And freeing, too, to let said judgments go.

The distance you feel from your husband is normal. It most likely stems from resentment, which is normal too. After all, our lives, our bodies, our priorities as women change tremendously. The role of a mother is one you grow into. What once felt like a burden now feels like a privilege. So if you don’t love all your new responsibilities and you feel bitter about the unequalness of it all and the mere question from your husband of how the night with the baby went makes you quiver with disgust because you wish you could bite off a chunk of the bliss that comes from his ignorance, that’s okay.

And if the time it takes your husband on the toilet is the same amount of time you’ve been longing for to sneak in a shower or rub lotion on your dry legs and you’re resentful because of it, you’re not alone.

If you want to punch the little old lady who comes up to you in the grocery store and tells you to ‘enjoy every minute’ in the face, know you’re not alone. Also know that by the time you’re her age, you’ll have forgotten all the hardships and be telling new moms the same thing she’s telling you. There are seasons to motherhood and that sweet little lady is simply in a different season than you.

And perhaps the best advice ever given to me, from my own mom no less, is that it’s all temporary. All of it. Even life. So if what feels permanent today and never-ending, know there is an end and that a change will come. Our troubles today will be traded for different troubles tomorrow. Same with our joys. And so find some sort of peace in knowing that none of it – not the good or the bad – will last forever.

10 Responses

  • For first time mothers like me it is all way easier to handle since there are blogs like this one. It gives some perspective and reality. It’s so good that internet is helping us to share more and in a honest way.

    Perhaps that’s the reason why I am aware of my good luck. I am first time mom and I take it eaaaasy. I have all the time for me and my baby, I live in a nice city, I have a good husband (who empathize as much as he can, and he can do it a lot), I am surrounded by plenty of mothers and babies, women breastfeeding everywhere… So when my daughter cries more than the usual and I start to get impatient; I have less problem to get relaxed again.

    My baby is 4 months old now. And now is when I truly enjoy breastfeeding. Now is when I am falling in love with her every minute, more and more. I still say no to go to the lake because is far. Because I prefer to be able to go back home quickly if Fauna needs to sleep and she doesn’t manage out on the streets. But is not a big deal to reject certain things that before you wouldn’t.
    What I am trying to say is that in the begging I felt overwhelmed by the changes. But I was aware that not more than the average. So, when someone asked me about how I feel into motherhood and I was already going to talk about the negative little things that are unavoidable, I could stop, take perspective and say: I am actually doing great.

    So thank you Ashley, for your blog and for your honest way to be. I truly appreciate it.

    PD: I actually found your blog while pregnant, when you were almost finishing yours and already impatient because you were in your 41 week. I loved your writing at the first sight.

  • Can I just say THANK YOU for being real. For validating my resentment towards my sweet, blissfully unaware and eager-to-help husband. I have felt SO alone with this feeling. What is wrong with me? Is this normal?? Ah, and so so guilty for feeling this way. So THANK YOU for helping me feel like I’m not the only one who’s not swooning over every. single. thing. About becoming a mother. This has been the hardest adjustment, like, embarrassingly hard, but how refreshing it is to run across such brave and raw words that are literal answers to my prayers.

    • Oh yes, they know not what they do or don’t do, don’t they? So blissfully unaware. My MIL always says “I love my husband… but he’s still a man”… She put words to my same thoughts.

  • Thanks for this Ashley. It was something I needed to hear today. It is my first week back at work and it has been a bit of a struggle.

  • Wow, I could have written this myself, just not nearly as eloquently. I couldn’t agree more. (But I never did finally have the kid who nursed well enough for me to enjoy breastfeeding. I hated every second of it with all three!)

  • Thank You, this is such an honest post. Its good to know we mothers all share similar struggles and joys and that its not weird or strange or even wrong to feel the way we do. I can say that I went through all the emotions described here when my tot was just a babe and looking back over the last year and a half its incredible just how quickly and how much has changed.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *