It gets better.

Dear Friend,

I am picturing you right now as I sit down to type. You are on your couch, feet tucked up under you, belly suddenly, strangely, soft and small. You hold a squirming, scritching, sucking universe in your arms and you stare at her in wonderment from time to time. Your awesome husband is in the kitchen, preparing dinner (you lucky beeyotch) and you feel he is miles away, other family and friends light years further. There is only you and this wee babe. The one whose face you can't believe you haven't always known. The face that astonishes you every time you see it for the first time (that hour). The face you see when you close your eyes.

When we spoke today you sounded different, as I knew you would. Since the last time we spoke, you officially became a mother. Your child left your body and was placed in your arms and the whole world changed. There was a depth to your voice, a weight and gravity to your questions now that you are a mother and have a little girl to take care of.

Talking to you, I was taken back in time to a morning in April a few years ago. I was still in the hospital, staring at Z who was just a few hours old when a friend called and asked what I was doing. I told her I was "staring at my daughter" and that was when it hit me: "My daughter". My daughter. And I burst into tears. Tears of joy and fear and recognition of the enormity of this change in my life.

I hear all that in your voice, too.

You are struggling with nursing and I could hear your concern and confusion. This is so hard, you said. "I knew it'd be hard but it's REALLY HARD." And I nodded and sighed and said "I know" because I do. I really know. I couldn't say much to help you but I had to say this: "It gets easier. It is so worth it. I know you don't believe me but it's true". I can't help but think of all the other new mothers out there, feeling alone, struggling, wondering what they've done to their lives, wondering if it'll ever get better.

So I hope my gay friends will forgive me for stealing this phrase but I have to say it: it gets better. It gets so much better. You are not alone. You are part of a universal sisterhood of tender new mothers that stretches across miles and cultures and generations. The sleeplessness will pass. The baby will smile someday soon, just in the nick of time, and look at you like you are the sun and moon and the very best chocolate cake rolled into one. You will someday refer to yourself as a mother without blinking or stuttering. You will someday look back on this time and think: "That was hard. I'm glad we're here now."

I wish I could be there to bring you coffee and homemade muffins, to hold your baby and hold your hand, to rub your shoulders, rub your feet, and rub your back as I envelope you in a hug. Since I can't be there, I write this instead and send my love through time and space.

Welcome to the wild ride of motherhood, dear friend. Nice to have you here.


Your Clueless but Hopeful Friend


Marie Green said...

It's so true, everything she said. It gets better, it gets easier, you WILL sleep again and your breasts won't hurt and you'll nurse your baby without even thinking about it. Pinky swear.

Grateful Twin Mom said...

It will definitely get better, and then she'll start to get a wonderful personality. She try your patience at times, and you'll never stop loving her more and more and more. Someday, she'll want independence, and you'll be ready for it, because you're part of the sisterhood--you'll have the camaraderie of countless others who've been there before on whom you can rely for support and love. Congratulations. And, Thanks, CBHM, for telling to your friend like it really is. :)

Barb said...

...ahhh trying so hard not to cry (esp since I am sitting at work)....this is SO true and touching. What a great post! I am just coming out from that place that you write about....it really does get better!!

grammalouie said...

So sweet, so tender and so true. Those precious first moments as a mother are not all easy, and you write about this so accurately and with such love and compassion. "Friend" is lucky indeed, as we all are.

Whimsy said...

Beautifully said, perfect really.

And absolutely astonishingly true.

Michelle said...

I know you didn't write this for me but thank you. It was a nice reminder that the difficulties ie sleepless nights will pass. You have a wonderful way of putting things into perspective.

Cortney said...

So so true. And beautifully put.

Erica said...

So true! And so eloquently put. Beautiful!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Michele- I wrote this specifically for someone else but I posted it here because as I wrote it, it became something else. It wound up being for her AND for every other mom in that tender, newborn phase, where it's all a beautiful, terrifying blur. (If I could send you some sleep in a box with a bow, I would. oxoxox)

Bird said...

Wise words from a wise woman, thank you. Also, "beautiful, terrifying blur" is perfect.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE reading your posts. They are always so beautifully written :)

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