Let me just get this out of the way first: I love being a mother.
When people say they never knew what true love was until they became a parent, they aren’t exaggerating. It’s the single best thing that has ever happened in my life.
But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t sometimes miss my old life, pre-motherhood. I once heard that a mom described this feeling as “mourning her pre-mom self” and to be honest that’s exactly how I’ve felt these last 8 months.
Mainly, I miss my alone time. I miss going for walks and not having to worry about when I’ll return. I miss not worrying. I hate that I look at my old self and wish I could still look that rested, that I could still enjoy a yoga class and a long run in the same day. I hate feeling less interesting. I hate being a bad listener because one of my ears is always for my daughter. I hate never having two hands. I hate that I don’t know if I’m doing a good job every day.
But I love being a mother.
They say that in order for us to move on in life we must let our old selves go first.
So today, I feel it’s time to say goodbye…
Dear Pre-Mom Self,
I love you, I truly do, but it’s time for me to let you go.
But first, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. In 31 years you grew more than I ever could have imagined. You never gave up, you kept evolving, changing and trying your best to be the best person you could. Thanks for knowing that you don’t have to be dragged down by your past, your bravery to push forward is inspiring.
Thanks for following your dreams. You could have done what you thought you should by society standards, but instead you followed your heart. It wasn’t always a smooth ride, but thanks for learning from the bumps even when they hit you so hard that you felt like you couldn’t see the ground anymore. You built yourself back up every time and you did it by looking at your own faults, not by blaming others (even though sometimes you did for a while).
Thanks for taking responsibility. For finding humbleness and for learning that it’s ok to say “I don’t know.”
And pre-mom self, have I ever told you how good you look? Seriously, when I look at pictures of you I see so much energy, so much excitement and inspiration. You’re beautiful and I wish I told you that a long time ago.
But, pre-mom self, you should see how good I look as a mom now. I have bags under my eyes, a few extra pounds around my body, messy hair, last night’s make-up and unbrushed teeth…
I am radiant.
You should see how strong I am now, and I’m not talking about my muscles (those have softened a bit). I’m talking about the strength of my heart. I cry constantly because I’ve never felt this alive and connected. It’s beautiful to feel everything this wholeheartedly.
I don’t get much sleep now, but somehow my mind is also stronger than ever. I’m a modern day superwomen. I accomplish more in a day than you did in a week. But it’s not a competition, you prepped me for this. You set me up with my best self before I made this leap into motherhood.
Thank you for that.
But pre-mom self, I’m going to have to leave you behind. You see, I’ve changed and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m a different person now.
I’m a mom.
But, don’t worry. You’ve prepared me to love my mom self, to have more compassion for her and to let her find her own way.
I would say “I’ll miss you,” but if you had had a chance to meet my daughter you’d realize that it’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.
This article originally appeared The Huffington Post.