Becoming a mother is a lot of hard work. During those nine-plus months of pregnancy, you step out of your comfort zone and learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. That’s just the start of the journey.
It goes without saying that no amount of advice can truly prepare you for becoming a mother. Still, it’s likely you were given advice by friends, family and maybe even strangers at the grocery store (hello, Kroger friends).
Throughout my own pregnancy, those tips rarely went beyond the all-too-familiar “Better rest up!” and “Sleep while you can!” Sure, that’s great advice. However, it’d be nice to see some of these other things coming.
Like how your thick eyebrows start to thin, or how your long lashes can fall out along with your hair. How this doesn’t necessarily begin right after birth. How it might start several months after you meet your baby, after you thought you’d for sure get to keep that fabulous pregnancy hair.
When those glorious baby hormones fade, there will probably come a time when you look in the mirror and feel lesser.
It’s okay, new mama.
This is when your inner beauty shines through. That beautiful heart can be seen in the glimmer of your eyes, in the new wideness of your smile, and in the fact that you’d drop everything in a heartbeat — all for your new baby. The love you have for her is radiant and visible.
On top of that, your hair, all of it, will grow back soon.
Think about these things next time your gaze meets the mirror.
It’d be nice to know that even if you somehow reach your pre-baby weight after becoming a mother, things might not look the same.
I’m not even talking about the cut on your belly that you didn’t plan to have, or the two random stretch marks that make you laugh and sigh simultaneously because they’re where? I’m talking about the skin that feels mushy and foreign, though the scale finally shows that number you used to know.
It’s okay, new mama.
It’s weird, and maybe it’ll never be quite the same. I don’t know. But know that you have a baby to show for it. A real, living, tiny human that once grew inside you! You were once one.
I looked in the mirror a couple months before baby and thought to myself, “I look like this, but I have no baby. What does a flat stomach even matter?” I was shocked that my brain conjured that thought.
That was my mind on her. That was me putting someone else — someone I hadn’t even met yet — first. What a beautiful thing, especially as we are called to lay down our life. In this journey of becoming a mother that the Lord has called me to embark upon, I become less, He becomes more. My baby benefits from that in more ways than one.
Think about those things next time you get dressed.
It’d be nice to know that your heart can break in new ways every day. Even when you’re doing laundry. (Seriously, what??)
Your heart probably started to grow the minute you saw your positive test. Well, it just keeps growing from there. And it’s awesome. But you’ll find yourself stuck between wanting your baby to grow and learn and wanting her to stay little. You’ll look forward to the future while mourning the days that pass too quickly.
For me, the biggest thing is folding my girl’s clothes. I love watching her grow, but I’m sad when I finally get to fold her laundry and find that several items don’t fit anymore. Like the pants with the ruffles that I bought when she was a whopping 2 pounds.
This whole growing thing happens fast and it hurts deep and I’ve cried about it more than I ever thought I would.
It’s okay, new mama.
From what I’ve gathered so far, becoming a mother is a lot like exercise: you tear down muscle to build it up bigger and stronger. This is just an exercise that takes the rest of our lives to perfect.
In the meantime, we get to enjoy this new depth of love and magnified emotions — or mama emotions — we’re now capable of feeling. It’s all thanks to this little life.
Think about that next time you’re folding her clothes or kissing her goodnight for the tenth time.
Finally, it’d be nice to know that you maybe, probably needed your baby more than she needs you.
Better yet, yes. You definitely need her more.
Your baby does depend on you for everything; she literally needs you. But she also gives you a purpose you didn’t know existed until she came along.
She brings happiness even at 2 a.m. when you’re beyond exhausted but she’s decided it’s playtime after her diaper change. Despite the dark circles under your eyes, you throw away sleep and give in to giggling with her because, right now, it’s time to stare at that smile that’s all for you.
Tired? It’s okay, new mama.
Really, it’s more than okay.
You’re figuring it all out one step at a time.
Your hair will come back before you know it. Those jeans will fit again soon. Your heart won’t always feel so torn at all moments of the day. And then you’ll sleep.
Someday we’ll look back on these times, the tough ones and the easy ones collectively, and we’ll know the intricacies that we’re navigating now for the first time.
Take it all in, new mama. These days were made for you.
This piece originally appeared at raisinbabies.com, published with permission.