Dear New Mom

Dear New Mom,

I see you there, sitting in your glider at 3am with a sleeping baby, trying so hard to cry quietly so you won’t wake your little one, as you mentally compile a list of everything you’re doing wrong. I see you as you sit awake in the pre-dawn hours, struggling to reconcile conflicting pieces of advice (solicited or otherwise) as you try to piece together some kind of outline for how you’re supposed to do this parenting thing.

I see you as you sit in silent shame after losing your cool when the baby Just. Won’t. Stop. Crying., and your partner doesn’t get that you are on the edge of a breakdown, haven’t showered in days, and are completely “touched out” for the day.

I see you where you pace the floor with your colicky child, wondering if you’re doing something wrong that you just can’t help your baby eat without distress afterward. I see you adding that to the list of everything else you’ve done wrong in your life. The list gets longer every day, and you wonder if you’ll ever feel good enough about anything.

I see you.

I see the moments of unbearable sweetness, when you look down at the tiny face of your beloved baby and wonder how in the world you went your whole life without this feeling. I see you being everything your baby needs and more, wrapping him in your love, soothing her with your heart. I see your heart when it is filled to overflowing with love and pride, and when it feels like shattering at your child’s first vaccinations.

I see you, and I want you to know that you are doing fine.

There is nothing in life that can prepare you for these first few days, weeks, and months of being a new parent. No amount of insomnia, depression, anxiety, love, or exhilaration can compare to becoming the source of All Good Things to this brand new little life. It’s amazing, awe-inspiring, and often terrifying. But new mom? You are doing fine.

There is no shortage of opinions, articles, and books out there telling you all the ways you can do things wrong. And guess what? You WILL do things wrong. It comes with the territory of being a human being. But being a good parent doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being your authentic self—with your mistakes, flaws, and wonderful sparkles—and creating an environment of love and respect with your family. You’ll mess up, you’ll do and say things you regret, but it’s ok. You are doing fine.

You may not believe it, coming from the outside when you know what it feels like on the inside. That’s ok. I don’t need you to believe it from me. I need you to believe it from yourself. In those still, quiet moments when you can feel all that is true and wise in your soul, believe it when you hear yourself say:

I am doing fine.