Notes on motherhood
A few days back I overheard a conversation at a dinner party.
A new mother talked about the frustration of the many advices given to her. Advices she really didn't ask for.
I still remember these well-meant advices coming uninvited from other women when I was a new mother.
These women, my neighbour, the old lady behind me in the line at the super market, my mother, seemed to know it all. And to me, it seemed as if they thought that I didn’t know anything on how to raise a baby.
'You should really be enjoying your baby. Time flies by so fast'.
How do I know if I'm enjoying this enough?
Today I know that those advices came from a place of love.
I think that more experienced mothers really wish well for new mothers.
I know, I do.
I truly and deeply hope for new mothers that they will actually be able to enjoy the early days of motherhood. That they will not worry about the unimportant things. Like I did.
But a mother grows with the baby
and you really only are as experienced in motherhood
as the time you have been a mother.
As an experienced mother you know that she will not cry forever.
She will not lay on your chest forever.
Or lay close beside you at night and
one day she will no longer fall asleep to the sound of your heartbeat.
And one day you will miss this so much
that it will take your breath away.
She will grow and become her own self - and motherhood will be something else.
It is a gift to watch your children grow and to get to know your little person.
But it is also a little heartache to watch your baby become a child.
In many ways, when my eldest daughter was a baby, I felt the urge to rush things.
Every new step with her was so exciting. I couldn’t wait for her to taste porridge, to wave for the first time, to say her first word and take that first little step. To experience it all with her.
I found her crying frustrating, as most mothers might do.
I felt like I had to clean and cook and meet up with friends
and I didn’t have time for her not napping or being fussy.
I wish I would have given myself time to sit down.
To let her sleep on my chest forever.
I so regret rushing everything.
I truly and deeply regret not just letting go of everything else in that short time she was a baby.
I try not to give advices on motherhood when I'm not asked.
But sometimes when I hear a frustrated new mother, I just want to hug her and tell her everything will be okay.
Just be a mother.
Nothing else really matters.
You can clean later. You can work out later. You can work later in life. Don’t push motherhood aside for anything else
if you deeply don’t feel like doing so.
I just want you to know, because I wish that I had known.
Known that I should have tried to enjoy my early days of motherhood more than I did.
But only time taught me.
It comes from love. From one mother to another.
Dearest new mother.
It’s really not because I want to give you advice that you did not ask for. It’s really not because I think I know motherhood better than you.
It’s just that I know time. And that time will fly away.
I don’t want you to spend your days frustrated by the sound of your baby crying.
Or to worry.
It will be okay. It will be fine.
I want to give you the gift of time.
I just wish for you that you will enjoy the early days of motherhood.
That you will leave the messy kitchen be. It does not matter.
Sit with your baby on your chest as long as you possible can.
Do not look back.
I wish for you that you don’t spend your early motherhood longing for days of a leaner body.
Or that you feel inadequate. In any way.
Like I have.
Enjoy the days of softness.
Of the early days of motherhood.
I know it is hard to raise a baby.
I know you are tired.
Time will fly by so fast.
With the blink of an eye.
I know the heartache. I want to lay it softly on you.
But I’ll try to keep silent. To give you some space.
But please. Let me give you time.