A letter to myself

Dear Katie,

I don’t want this to offend you.  I am purely writing this from an encouraging spirit and hope that it will reach it’s way into your heart and you will hear for what it it truly is…the truth. 

YOU GOTTA STOP FREAKING OUT. 

Being a new mom has it’s ups and downs…sure, sometimes you wish that you could open the freezer, place your head between the shelf holding the seventeen one ounce bags of pumped breastmilk and the frozen peas and then slam the door shut repeatedly just to distract you from the sound of a crying baby…and sure, curling up into the fetal position and crying like a reality show contestant is a better alternative to screaming at your 7 month old…and absolutely, having a meltdown over fnding the right kind of Sharpie is normal when your baby seems to be attempting psychological warfare on you…but you’ve got to stop. 

I know that you are worried.  You worry that you are ruining your child.  You worry about not doing enough.  Or being enough.  Or working with him enough.  Or playing with him enough.  Or loving on him enough.  But believe me, you are doing fine.  He will not die because he doesn’t yet respond to his name.  He isn’t reverting back to how he was fresh from the womb because sometimes he topples over without catching himself.  I know you want to be there to break his fall…every.single.time…but he’s gotta learn that falling is part of life.  I know your heart feels like it is being squeezed by a mammoth sweaty hand when you think about his sleep habits…or lack thereof…but he will eventually sleep through the night.  And so will you.  I know you wish he didn’t cry every single time you put him down, or walked out of the direct line of sight, or stopped touching him in general…but one day, he won’t want you near him so you need to learn to soak this up. 

That is my message to you.  Suck it up & soak it up

Breathe.  In and then out.  Slowly.  And then again.  Dry your eyes.  Wipe the eyeliner off your jaw.  And then breathe again.  You are fine.  You are not alone.  Even when you feel alone.  You are a little hormonal.  Which is normal.  And emotional.  Which is also normal.  But you can do this.  You are capable.  You are a mom. 

You don’t need to be in control of everything.  You just need to be in control of you.  And you need to breathe.  Pray a little more often…there is help there.  And you need to stop yelling at Jeremy.  It’s not gonna permanently scar Will if Jeremy puts him in the jumper instead of performing your definition of father-son quality time.  You gotta stop comparing him to other babies.  And you need to stop reading so many baby books and reading so many websites and start reading your child.  And do not have a meltdown if Will doesn’t eat his homemade Vitamin A and Vitamin C food cubes.  He won’t turn into a chimpanzee because he loves bananas.  And you gotta stop freaking out. 

I know that it feels overwhelming sometimes.  I know you feel ill-equipped as a mother.  I know you sometimes question who the crazy person is that put you in charge of another human being.  It not a mistake.  It’s not an error that you are Will’s mom.  You have been chosen as the absolute best person to be a mother for him.  It is not an error that you are in the position you are in.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be.  God does not make mistakes.  And you gotta stop freaking out.

Sure, your house is a mess.  Sure, your laundry pile is like Everest and you are no mountain climber.  Sure, the dishes are in slobbery stacks of disarray.  Sure, the floor is speckled with food, and toys, and a slew of unidentifiable whatnots brought in by dirty shoes.  Sure, your toilets are sporting the ring of neglect and your hair hasn’t seen a brush in four days.  BUT THAT IS LIFE.  Life is messy.  Even if you clean it up or choose not to, life will still be there.  And that is a wonderful gift. 

Embrace the gift Katie.  Embrace life.  Hug your baby.  Hold him and soak that in.  Kiss your husband and tell him that you love him.  Hold him too and encourage him at every chance you get.  Count your blessings…one by one.  Decide to do something fun today.  And for heavens sake, whatever you do, stop freaking out.

xo – katie

Comments

  1. Miranda says

    I wrote myself a very similar letter one month ago when I had to stop breast feeding my 3 1/2 month old baby girl (I was only pumping 1-2 ounces at work and she was eating 6 ounce bottles)….I was devastated! I have found that the things that gets me through all the trials and tribulations of first time motherhood is support from loved ones and holding on to the little things that are going well for you (for example, the fact that my daughter sleeps through the night). So be optimist, except help from those who love you, and hold on tight to those little things! Good luck!

  2. Trista says

    Thank you for being brave enough to write things like this. I’m not a mom. I’m not pregnant. I just have a youth pastor husband, an okay job and a super tiny house. If I was your friend, I would remind you that you’re not alone. I’d tell you to call your sister or a friend or your mom to talk about your day. And then I’d give you a big hug, and let you cry for a few minutes.

    So please know that I’m sending you a big hug and a prayer. Please keep on keepin’ on. We love hearing from you!

  3. Jo says

    Katie you are an angel.
    You are so switched on.
    And you are brave.
    I am normally just a blog stalker but I just had to comment on this post and thank you. I look at your blog every day now because I like how honest and true it is and how comfortable it makes me feel.
    Thank you for just being you.
    x

  4. Christy says

    Katie – I love how you wrote that letter. I remember feeling that way sometimes and you’re absolutely right in writing it. Sometimes words just come out easier on paper than they do when you are trying to talk to someone about them. Words on paper can be more raw – you don’t have to worry about what the paper is thinking as you spew them out – and you can get what’s really on your chest off. I can remember feeling that way with my first and even worse with my second kid. By the third kid – I was pretty much on auto pilot so I don’t remember feeling too upset about things – my 2nd kid had colic and that made life with the 3rd a breeze by comparison. I remember several days when I just ran outside to sit because I couldn’t take it inside any more. Sometimes fresh air helps clear your head enough to get back in there and be the best mama in the world. Sometimes nothing does. But, you’re still the best mama in the world to Will and God is definitely helping you with that. OK shutting up now. Good luck and I will be praying for you!

  5. Kim says

    For all of you young moms with endlessly crying babies who feel unloved and rejected this is for you. I have four children, three in their 20s and a 16 yr. old. The first one was a needy, fussy baby. The second one was, according to her wonderful grandmother “the world’s worst baby”. My third was a mother’s dream, and I can’t remember #4. Also, the world’s worst baby was NOT cute, which didn’t help. She had huge ears, buck teeth, and lifeless hair. She cried non-stop and refused to be comforted. I was sure she would grow up with attachment disorder or worse. Today she is 24, kind and loving, graduated with honors, was a college athlete, high school cheerleader, has an impressive job, and is a real beauty. She turned out absolutely nothing like she was as an infant. Babies cry a lot. It’s how they release tension, get their exercise, and communicate. Frequently, you will not be able to calm them. Don’t feel guilty about putting them in their crib after you’ve tried to address their needs. Then put in your ear buds, listen to music or a podcast, or sit outside and flip through a magazine. Take care of yourself. Your baby will turn out just fine. Oh and read the baby books with caution. They are guilt-producers.

  6. Tawnya says

    Katie,

    How brave of you. As a mom of twin 11-year-olds I know I yelled at when they were way too young to know why, and an 8-year-old (same thing), and now, overdue by 4 days with Baby #4, I FEEL YOU, GIRL! All of my girls were there to witness my own version of the meltdowns and frustrations you are going through now. I’m nearly 40, and have had to let a bunch of my type-A home-care behaviors get taken over by a well-intentioned-but-no-housekeeper husband and my three girls…I step routinely on dried up spilled cereal, crumbs of all sorts, and am constantly noticing that the kids’ sheets haven’t been changed nearly enough and they’ll probably develop some sort of auto-immune disease if I don’t get to it. That said, they are all happy, curious and thriving people and I can’t believe it. I would have thought by now, based on their first years, I would have ruined them completely. Shocking! I didn’t. You won’t ruin Will. DO be nice to Jeremy. He’s doing the best he can (I drive a very hard bargain so any bone I throw to the husband is being generous, for ME), even though it doesn’t seem like it to you sometimes. Good luck. You’ll all be FABULOUS. As my husband, who is amazing, always says, “It will all work out. Don’t worry, Baby” (the Beach Boys)…and it does.

  7. says

    Great post Katie – I think all moms can relate. I know I can especially relate to the sleeping issues. I hate that I let it define how good of a mom I think I am, even though I logically, I know it’s not related at all.

  8. says

    Katie, this was beautifully written. You obviously do have perspective when you can write down your feelings as you did here. I went back to work after maternity leave a month ago, and it’s been so very hard to balance life now. If the dirty house is stressing you out and you can afford a cleaner, get one. Just twice a month will help you gain a few minutes of time and sanity. Also, try a grocery delivery service. I just started this, and while I won’t use them every week, it’s very helpful to not have to do a task that I loathe every single weekend. You don’t have to be Super Mom. Will thinks you’re a super mom no matter what. :)

  9. Julie says

    Thanks for sharing–it was so encouraging for me to read that! I have a just-turned-three year old and a just-turned-one year old and I completely understand every single thing you wrote!!! It’s nice to hear another mom verbalize the struggles and blessings of being a mom. Children are definitely a huge blessing but they are hard work! :)

  10. says

    I have written a very similar letter to myself two other times. With my first, I felt all the same things you did. When my second came, I didn’t know how I would handle 2 alone. And now, with my 3rd I have a totally different perspective. I don’t know if it’s because she’s a girl or because I have felt the fear, the panic, the inadequacy or something totally different. But, I do know that God has given me peace. I know my role is Mommy. So what if that means life isn’t perfect for me or others that look in on our life. What matters is that my children feel that they are perfect to me and my husband. They don’t need to change to make us happy. Your letter reminded me that I have made it through the hard times. I’m even in the newborn phase now (Ella is just 11 days old) and I’m able to say I’m stable. I never could have imagined those would go hand in hand for me….stability and completely sleep deprived!!!

    Love to you and your wonderful role as Mommy!!!

  11. says

    THANK YOU for this post. I have had some of the same feelings. But no one talks about those feelings. People only talk about the joys of motherhood and then you wonder, what is wrong with me/my kid/my family? So refreshing to know we’re not alone out there in this new, confusing, scary, rewarding world. Thanks for sharing, Katie.

  12. Leslie says

    Katie,

    Thanks for this letter. I hope to become a mother soon, but often times am worried about struggling with these emotions you’ve described. You’ve shown me that it is normal- or should I say natural. And the fact that you (and one day I) can feel this way is evidence of one of God’s greatest blessings- a mother’s love.

    Thanks.

  13. says

    Dear Daughter-in-Law,

    You need to listen to the advice of this wise one who is called Katie. Sounds like she is a sharp cookie. So….breathe in….breathe out…enjoy the moment, your precious son, and your great husband…and rest in the Lord that He is in control. Nothing touches your life that is not first sifted through His hands of unconditional love. The One Who is crazy about you says to you, “Cast your care upon Me, for I care for you.” He believes in you…you are an awesome wife and mom! Pastor Dad & Nurse Vicki pray for you everyday. Give both Williams a big hug and kiss for us! Ciao, M&V

  14. says

    awww you made me get all teary! now i may only be a mother to two naughty little house rabbits but i still know that overwhelming feeling that you are just not getting it together!…dont be to hard on yourself, you have a lovely family and a beautiful attitude towards life :)

    thank you for your honesty x
    Krystal
    http://krystalleeart.blogspot.com/

  15. elissa v says

    Katie,
    I have just recently started following your blog..which I love! You have such a talent in well..everything!
    I just wanted to thank you for this letter to yourself. I have a new baby that was born right around Will. Her name is Noel, born April 13, 2010. and you have hit the nail on the head with EVERYTHING in this letter.
    I am completely there with you, especially the part when you mention putting him down and walking out of eye sight. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything (!!!!) without planning mission impossible of ‘where to put the baby while I do…’ from things like throwing a load of laundry in to trying to pee! and then that guilty feeling of, well maybe I should be reading to her more or playing with her more instead of cleaning the kitchen..ugh!
    Thank you for beautiful pics of your beautiful baby..I SO wished you lived in PA so I could snag you to take some pics for me!
    Thank you for your writing, humor, and realistic life!
    .elissa v.

  16. Misty says

    omg. you sound just like me when my son was that age (he is now almost 2). Some days, I can’t believe I have made it this far. I hate when people act like it’s all fun and giggles and flowers and sunshine and all that crap. Some days SUCK and there is no other way to explain it. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore my child, but let’s face reality and stop acting like we live the life of Angelina and Brad (we don’t have the money, nannies, housekeepers,etc). We are only human and we need to stop acting like we don’t have these days/weeks. I feel like if I say this to one of those Moms out there who acts like everything EVERYDAY is perfect, they think I don’t love my child. Not true. I am just saying what is REALISTIC! Thanks for sharing Katie!

  17. says

    Are you sure you wrote this to yourself? I feel like you wrote it for ME and just changed the names of my husband and 5 1/2-month-old son. In any case, it is comforting, even refreshing to read that I’m not the only new mom who isn’t sleeping the whole night through (or anything like it) or being perfectly cheery all of the time. I will join you in trying to suck it up, soak it up, and stop freaking out. Thanks for the company!

  18. elaine Hovey says

    Thank you for your honesty…and it’s true, you are not alone. All moms have felt this way, and if they say they haven’t, well then, they are lying!

  19. Ashley says

    I am a lurker who was sent your way via YHL. This post resonated with me as it did with every other mother on the board. My son just turned 2 and he is the absolute best…but there was a time in his early life where I didn’t think I would make it. I thought to myself “Is this what postpartum depression is?” “Is this natural?” If only I had a coalition of girlpals who had been there to say It’ll be okay…things will be better someday soon I probably wouldn’t have agonized so greatly!

    Now that all of my friends are having children they commend me on my mommy skills and I always make sure to be 100% honest with them. It’s much easier now and will get easier as Will becomes more independent. Parenting is the most challenging yet rewarding job God will ever give us. You will cry sometimes but when Will says “Mommy I love you.” for the first time without your prompt it will make it worth it a thousand times over.

    Praying for you, Jeremy and Will from VA!

  20. says

    The fact that this post speaks to so many of us is heartwarming and telling. Thank goodness for blogs :) otherwise we may never ‘know’ each other. I really want to emphasize that we as moms and friends and relatives of other moms, need to be on the watch for signs and symptoms of post parteum depression, and just mommy depression in general. I, like many other mom, felt many of these same things, when they continued to get worse and I had a harder and harder time coping with life, my husband and I still didn’t realize I was suffering from depression. It took my wonderful girlfriend reaching out to me to say – something is not right with you, and I’m worried. She had a couple of other girl friends check in with me too. I sought out help from my doctor. Meds made all the difference, and very quickly. I was able to cope again. I’m so thankful for my girlfriends – and my anti-crazy meds :)

  21. says

    I just wanted to tell you how much this post inspired me. I have 3 young kids (currently 8, 4, and 14 months) and this was the ONE post that just really helped me to think “I am not the ONLY one”. I realize that you posted this quite a while ago, but I just wanted tot let you know how greatful I was for this post. Thank YOU!

  22. sarah says

    Wow. I think I could have written this letter (probably not as eloquently) to myself. Being a new mom is tough. I had no idea how hard it would be. The constant worry that I’m not doing good enough. The barrage of books that contradict one another. The hormones on top of hormones on top of lack of sleep that make you absolutely crazy. I crumpled to the floor weeping after spending 60 minutes trying to get my daughter to sleep and she slept for all of 10 minutes. Not my proudest moment. I’m slowly starting to figure out that I’m doing just fine. Thanks to some help from other moms who show me that I’m not alone, and who help lift me up instead of beating me down. Thank you for your honesty. You are doing an amazing job.

  23. says

    I just saw this as a link to your letter from today. I have a 6 1/2 month old son and today was one of ‘those days’…nothing was going my way and I was tearful and moody from when my husband left for work at 7am to when he returned at 7pm. Reading this made me feel so much better – like I’m not alone in feeling like this. I just wanted to write to say thank you for that. Because I really needed to read something like this today.

    And by the way – your son? Adorable. And I have a feeling mine is following in his footsteps, considering I already have numerous ‘throwing stuff’ photos. I, too, am jealous of my friends with calm little girls. I wrote a letter to God on my family blog requesting a special place in heaven for moms of little boys. Reading about Will makes me laugh and gives me a glimpse into my future – a future that will be spent with my head frequently buried in my hands, I’m sure. God bless you and your lovely family.

  24. says

    I could have written this letter myself some days, especially in the first year. Hang in there and thanks for echoing back feelings that resonate for so many of us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *