Dear New Mum/ Soon-to-be Mum,
Welcome to the sisterhood. It is only the biggest sisterhood in the world no one really tells you about, but it exists and transcends age, country, colour...everything. I am almost an year old as a Mum and before i forget all that being a new Mum is all about (for really i have hardly slept since i went into labour) here is a heart felt letter to you.
Pregnancy is not easy for most people. If you are having a mucky day, breathe, it will soon be over. And you will forget it all. I know it sounds unbelievable, and inconcieveable but that is the truth. You will forget it all.
Birthing is painful, scary and gory in most cases, but it is OK, trust me, it is okay. And most importantly, you will be OK. Trust me, you will be OKAY. You will probably have a story to tell, a story you might tell often, but you will be okay.
I know you must have made huge lists of things to buy for your baby but do you know what, all a baby needs, really needs, is your love and in the first few months, your time. I know the first few days, weeks, months are going to be very hard, in more ways than you can imagine right now but they are also going to be more beautiful than you can imagine right now. Breathe through the hard days and remember that it gets better.
Madly absorb every moment of a great day with your baby because when it is beautiful it is the most beautiful thing in the world.
A lot of people probably tell you how hard mother hood is going to be and you probably want them to shut up. But do you know what, i will tell you the same. I am still surprised by how brutally hard it can sometimes be and i have no wise words here. It is hard and that is the way it is. Shrug , grin and bear it. They also say that it does begin to get easier and i am craning my neck to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
You will have proper meltdowns, the ones where you do the ugly cry, just because you are exhausted or because your baby wont stop crying or because you are hungry and the baby wont settle. And you know what, no one will be able to do anything about it, you will have to calm yourself, pick up the pieces and smile.
In short, you will grow up. Nothing bad about that ;)
Your body will change. You will have scars and stretch marks. Wear them like a badge of honour. Be proud of what your body has done- it has created from scratch the one person you love the most in the world. And with time, you will begin to like these changes, or perhaps make your peace with them. Most Mums i know have snapped back into shape. I fit into most prepregnancy clothes but you know what- it does not matter. All that matters is my son.
Almost everyone tells you how your life is going to change, and you think you understand what that means but you dont. Nothing in this world can prepare you for what hits you when the child arrives. it is brutal and relentless. It is beautiful too but sometimes you need to have slept a bit to appreciate the beauty. Yet, somehow, in some weird , twisted way that does not even make sense as i type this, it is beautiful.
Sleep. Sleep is gold. Your relationship with sleep will change drastically when the baby comes along. To put it mildly, you will ready to murder to get a few extra hours. The concept of going to bed at 10 and waking up at 8 is alien to me now. All i can say is, gear up for that, take help where you can but mostly, just tell yourself that this will happen and you will have to deal with it. Also helps to remind yourself that a lot of people are parents and they have all been through this.
Friends. Your relationships with some of them will change. You will no longer understand what that friend , who does not yet have a baby, means by 'I am tired because i had to go to the party'. You just wont get some of them anymore. There will be a huge list of missed calls you need to return, whatsapp messages that you vaguely recall seeing at 3:00 in the morning need replying and general catching up to do. Your relationship with some of them, however, will not change. They dont need to be mums themselves to understand what you are going through. They will come armed with cake and will even offer to babysit your baby just so that you can sleep for a bit. Some friends once offered to come and baby sit my son just so that i could finish the final draft of my 4th book. Touched me, that one.
So what do i say about one year of being a Mum?
I can say that i am no longer the person i was before i had my son. I have changed. I am more patient, i understand love better, my heart is fuller. I am sleep deprived but i stay up nights so that my baby can sleep. I cannot imagine another person i could love as much but a little news piece about something sad that happened to a baby i do not even know breaks my heart. I laugh more, i smile more but i tear up at the drop of a hat. I am the busiest i have ever been, i cannot recall what i did with all that time i had before having my son but i have more time to look at leaves and petals and pebbles.
And if there is one piece of advice, above all else, i can give to any new mum, it is this: you will sleep less, you will be over tired, you will be exhausted. But please enjoy this time, please smile, be nice to people in the house. At times it is easy to be happy , but sometimes it is not. it is a lot easier to scream and shout and throw a tantrum and be rude to your partner or parents, specially when you have not slept in 10 weeks. Do not do that. remind yourself that this time may be hard but it is special in ways that are difficult to express. There will soon be a day when you would give up anyhting to have your baby this small and snuggly again.
Smile. Be nice. Smile. Your baby loves it.
An year old Mum.