A letter to my Postpartum self

Dear Jen,

I know you’re awake, laying in the hospital bed long after the lights have gone dark and Jeff has fallen asleep on the plastic couch. I know there’s tears rolling down your face and you’re not sure why. I know every painful movement is a reminder that your perfect birth plan turned out in an unexpected emergency C-section. I know one word keeps echoing in your mind…”failure”. I know you believe you’re somehow less than for not giving birth in the “normal” way. I know you’ll be so apprehensive to share these emotions, even with your closest ally, snoring softly a few feet away.

I know you’ll battle through nursing your baby girl, wondering why it doesn’t come naturally. Instead of a beautiful bonding experience you’ll curl your toes in pain each time, cracked, sore and bleeding. You’ll be so swollen you won’t even be able to pull on your maternity jeans as you leave the hospital. In the weeks to come, you’ll hit a level of sheer exhaustion you never thought was possible as you nurse, rock, bounce, bathe…and do it all over again every few hours. You’ll feel so alone.

You’ll stare at Jeff as he leaves to go back to work, a baby in your arms and fear in your eyes. You’ll google everything and discover that it’s YOU who must get to know your baby and learn the meanings of her cries. But, she’s so… new. You’ll have no idea what she wants, and in those rare moments when she falls asleep in the crook of your elbow, it’ll be just quiet enough to hear the whispers of your heart.

I’m not qualified for this.

 You’ll stare at her perfect little face and worry that there’s been some big mistake. Nine months was not enough preparation time. How can YOU be responsible for HER from here on out? What if you mess up? What if you’re not good enough for her? You’ll scroll through photos of other new moms appearing so happy and natural in their new role of motherhood. You’ll fumble through diaper changes in public, believing every set of eyes is staring at you, because you must be doing something wrong. You’ll drop a massive load of pressure on yourself to do everything perfect. Through tears, you’ll confess to your sister that, you’re “never ever having another baby again”. And, she’ll just laugh, because she knows.

She knows that this newborn stage, it’s simply the grooming stage. God is pruning back every ounce of selfishness in your heart, and when He’s done, you will the gleaming “MOTHER” you always imagined. Right here, right now, you feel like you are completely unprepared to be a Mom. But, one day…one day, Jen, it will be your favorite title. You’ll come to love that C-section scar, because it’s a battle wound. And you’re a warrior. Someday, you won’t even care that you didn’t birth your baby in the “normal way”, because you’ll discover there’s no normal way.

And that little baby – the one that screamed three solid hours every evening for weeks? She will bring SO.MUCH.JOY into your home. Yes, your life will look different, your schedule will change. You will be tested and stretched and pulled in a way you could never imagine. But, she will be your greatest adventure yet. She will light up your heart and bring laughter to your days.

In the deep pit of exhaustion, remember this is just the beginning. When you look at way your body has changed and the new wrinkles, I want you to close your eyes and envision a future with your precious daughter. God has stewarded YOU the very greatest gift and one day she will exceed every single expectation you have for her. Get ready, because your heart is going to double in size. Oh, and as, for never ever having another baby? Well…sisters are pretty cute.

 

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