I think all mammas can agree that having their first child and becoming a mom is revolutionary. It was hard, it was amazing, and it changed me in a million ways. As the writer of a mom blog, it seems strange that I haven’t yet talked about what being a mom means to me, or how it completely changed my world. Here’s an open letter to my daughter – thank you for making me a mamma.
You taught me about a love that was bigger than myself.
I loved my parents, grandparents, and family. I loved my husband. After all those years of giving and receiving love from others, I thought I had it figured out. Then I met you and it was like everything I thought I knew about love split into a thousand pieces.
The love you taught me about was all consuming – and came with an unexpected fierce protectiveness I’d never known existed. Thank you for teaching me about this kind of love.
Becoming a mom teaches you what it means to be truly selfless.
I sat on the bed ravenously hungry but unwilling to move because you’d finally fallen asleep after an hour of crying.
Every night I got up to nurse you when you were hungry, cold, or just needed a cuddle. Even if I’d fallen asleep 30 minutes before I heard you crying again.
We booked flights around your nap schedule, altered plans with friends if the timing was better for you, and tried to fit our lives around your needs for so long after you were born.
Once you started eating solids you only had to look longingly at what was going into my mouth before I offered you some, or let you have the rest. It’s part of my diet plan, right?
You taught me what it was like to fully put someone else’s needs above your own for an extended period of time. You made me a stronger person.
I found out that no matter how strong you are, some things will just break you. And you’ll need your village.
No one can fight some of the battles of motherhood alone. The terror of having a sick child. The bleakness of postpartum depression and the baby blues. The endless hours of rocking or cuddling a crying baby that was up every hour overnight.
You can’t do it all alone. And you shouldn’t have to. You’re still self-sufficient and a rock star – even if you need help sometimes. We all do.
Becoming your mamma allowed me to embrace my village and accept help.
You channeled my obsession.
I’d had pet projects in the past. I’d gotten new hobbies, and been sucked into a book so good I literally couldn’t put it down.
This time, the all-consuming nature of becoming your mamma was a new kind of obsession – and I learned that not everything I focus on has to be self-serving. The constant checking to see if you were breathing, and the soul-sucking exhaustion of nurse, diaper change, sleep, repeat became my entire world.
While it wasn’t a fun phase to get through, those early days taught me that I could be solely and 100% focused on something or someone other than myself – totally in service of another person without any benefit for myself.
I learned to love my body for what it could do and wasn’t so worried about how it looked.
I’d always struggled with those last five pounds. For years I worked out five days a week and was always looking for the next diet to somehow melt 10 pounds off my midsection. After going through a pregnancy and learning to breastfeed, I became much more worried about your nutrition and your health.
My body was a means to keep you thriving, and if that meant I had to eat more, then so be it. I wasn’t obsessed with the fact that I still looked six months pregnant when we came home from the hospital. I didn’t start working out right at my six-week appointment.
Thank you for teaching me how amazing a woman’s body is, and for helping me to be more comfortable in my own skin.
Motherhood changed my worldview.
Every decision I’ve made since becoming your mamma always keeps you at the forefront. I now question attending work trips where the value of my presence isn’t greater than the value of my presence at dinner with you.
You made me reevaluate my career path and long term goals. Now it’s not just me I’m looking out for.
I make safe choices because I know that I don’t just need to come home for myself. I need to come home and be your mamma.
Becoming your mamma has changed me in a hundred other ways, most of which I’d like to think are for the better. Nothing else in my life has resulted in such a complete and utter transformation. Thank you for making me better. Thank you for making me a mom.