A Letter to First-Time Moms-To-Be
Dear first-time mom-to-be,
I remember when I was you. I watched my belly grow and felt my little boy move and kick, and make his presence known to my bladder. I took pictures, wanting to preserve forever the way I looked when I carried him, and to capture the array of emotions I felt as a first-time mother-to-be. I veered from excited to slightly terrified; from being sure I could do this to, no way, I don't think I'm cut out for this.
I remember thinking that 9 months is an incredibly long time to be pregnant, yet, it was almost like I blinked and the tiny rice-like embryo grew into what felt (and looked) like a watermelon under my maternity shirts.
I remember thinking that I needed to enjoy “just me” time, sleeping in, and date nights with my husband, because I was told over and over that those days would be a distant memory.
I remember wistfully putting aside my favorite clothes as my body morphed to accommodate my son. I remember having to buy new shoes because goodness, feet can still grow when you're an adult. I remember taking off my wedding ring as my fingers swelled in proportion to the rest of me. I remember looking at stretch marks that were not there before, and wondering if I would ever look the same again.
Dear first-time mom-to-be, hold on to these memories, because you will need to go back to them again, and again, when you step over from “mother-to-be” to just “mother”. Because when things get hard (and they will at some point), you need to go back to the place where you remember how much you wanted this baby you're now holding.
You will remember how you couldn't wait to meet him, even as you wish you were somewhere else when your baby cries for reasons you can't discern. You will remember decorating the nursery and carefully choosing that crib that she doesn't seem to want to sleep in. You will remember buying those impossibly tiny clothes that feel like the most difficult thing ever to put on a wriggling infant.
You will remember how often you touched your belly and smiled when you felt him kick you from inside, even as he now accidentally head butts you while figuring out how his body works. You will remember the tears of joy you cried when she was born, even when you cry into your pillow now because you are just so tired, and haven't gone out of the house in days.
Because dear first-time mom-to-be, there are also the many great joys of being a mother. You will fall in deep, deep love. You will feel your heart grow to the point of bursting. You will see this tiny person that you created, and all the miracles of how a human being grows up. You will watch with pride as your baby reaches milestones. You will celebrate them all. You will remember the laughs and smiles, the hugs and cuddles, the big moments and the small ones.
So even as you go through the hard times, remember that they will pass. But do not forget that the good ones will too. So ride out the tough days, and savor the good ones, and know that the days may seem long, but trust me when I say, the years are short.