Mama, I see you crying in the shower.
I hear your thoughts as they mislead you into believing that you’re failing.
I sense your fear. Your worries. Your uncertainty.
Your overwhelm. Your grief. Your yearning for the life you’ve left behind.⠀
And I see something else.
I see you holding your baby as your tears fall.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because you’re home alone; walking this path is more isolating than you ever imagined, but this tiny soul is beside you every step of the way.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because everybody assumes you’ve got this and so genuine help seems to be rarely offered; you feel the weight of unrealistic expectations to appear strong, composed and competent when you feel anything but.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because even in your lowest moments when you should be caring for yourself, you know that your baby needs you; it’s that simple and that hard.⠀
Maybe you’re holding your baby because her presence reminds you that your tears have a purpose; that with each passing day she’s helping you to summon the courage to be the mother and woman you already are…but are too scared to share with the rest of the world.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because for the first time in your life you feel truly seen, wholly accepted and unconditionally loved; she is teaching you power of true vulnerability.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because you walked into motherhood believing you had control; now, you’re realizing that the books were wrong, society’s roadmap was misleading and that any attempts to seize control only serves to push you away from your baby.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because the moment you leave her sight, she cries for you; your presence calms her, your body nourishes and your warmth soothes her.
Maybe you’re holding your baby because the TWO of you are ONE; birth was merely a point on your shared journey.
Your body continues to regulate hers. Your heartbeat continues to dance with hers. Your immune system continues to protect her.
And while you crave time to yourself, the moment you get it you feel the magnetism of your connection drawing you back together.
I want you to know that it will get better.
I want you to know that it will change.
I want you to know that your emotions, no matter what rollercoaster ride they may be taking you on right now, are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They just are. They’re waves in the ocean, but they are not the water. They can feel intense and overwhelming and scary….but they’re impermanent.
You are NOT your emotions. Your thoughts are NOT necessarily true. Observe your emotions, walk beside them and let them go.
I want you to know that your ability to surrender is a strength, not a weakness. Surrender is trusting in your ability and your instincts with complete conviction. Surrender is believing in yourself so deeply that you can close your eyes and freefall into newness and mystery in the knowledge that…no matter what…you’ll catch yourself.
I want you to know that there is no shame in admitting you don’t have this; the truth is that none of us do. After five years of motherhood, my tears still need to fall. Because while our children may grow, their independence may blossom and our hormones may find balance again (some of the time!)…no matter how strong we may appear…we all stumble and fall.
And, I want you to know that today’s challenges will pass…all too soon. And when they do, you will look back on your tears shed in the shower and you will see that they were washing away your fears and your insecurities, your doubts, and your anxieties. They were softening you. They were carving a path. They were opening your heart to accept a love you’d never known.
But, there is one thing I want you to do today. Take care of yourself in one small way…no matter how insignificant it may seem. A glass of water. A warm cup of tea. A walk. An early night.
What does that look like for you? Share in the comments below and please share this post with a mama who needs this today.
Image Credit: Catie is the founder of the Studio Spirit & Sol, which grew from a desire to share stories through art. Her paintings are inspired by all of the goddesses in her life – and the powerful light that each one of us carries within us. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood find their way into most of her pieces and reflect her own journey as a mother to three beautiful children. Find Catie’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram.