New Mom, please be kind to yourself

New mom be kindDear New Mom,

Not long ago, you gave birth to another human being: a precious, but demanding bundle of needs that has turned your world upside down, and in the process, unsettled every idea you had about yourself, your purpose, and your path.  You likely feel raw and maybe a little bit lost.  Maybe there are days you spend in a cocoon of sweet love that is different from anything you have known before. Every mom would like to remain there. Please try to remember that it is okay to have days when that love lurks in some inaccessible corner of your heart because you are just too tired to feel anything but desperate need for rest and normalcy. Be kind to yourself when you feel like this.

We are so good at being nurturing towards others but not ourselves. When you are in pain, try to tread gently and carefully, just like you do when walking into your sleeping baby’s nursery. Ask: what do I need now? How do I care for myself in this hard, hard moment? You are not weak because you are struggling. You are human. You are also undergoing one of the deepest, hardest transformations of your life: becoming a mother. It will change you forever, and you will fight and struggle with that; you will grieve and yearn for your old life. You will also find the ground again. There will be joy, delight, and connection, and a kaleidoscope of emotions, ever shifting in response to events, thoughts, people, milestones.

Whatever you feel, do not judge yourself. Motherhood is hard enough. Anyone who says it is not is untruthful.  I hope you will seek and find your community – an emotional space where you can be real, where it is okay to be imperfect. You deserve support. We simply cannot mother alone.

If deep sadness has taken up residence in your heart and will not leave, causing you more and more pain, or if anxiety has left you feeling adrift and unable to rest, please do not wait to seek professional help. You will get better. You deserve to thrive.

New Mom, be kind to yourself. Start there. It won’t make everything easier or better, but it will be like a cool drink on a sweltering day. That’s a good start, isn’t it?