I remember my first day out without my baby as a first-time mom. At the insistence of my girlfriend, we met up for pedicures to catch up on the happenings outside Babyville. Just then, a pregnant woman walked in.
“Sucker.” I thought to myself.
Sucker. I literally thought SUCKER.
I’ll admit I wasn’t in the best mental space. My infant son had undergone emergency surgery just a few short weeks earlier. I was grappling with a debilitating fear of returning to the PICU and I wasn’t sleeping. Or really even eating. And I didn’t know it yet, but I was suffering from postpartum depression (read my story here and here). Pfft, some welcome to motherhood.
As I struggled to make sense of a motherhood that felt an awful lot like some unsavory conspiracy, crippling doubt consumed my every thought. What if my baby’s not OK? Is [insert random concern] normal? Am I doing it right? What if I mess up? Will I ever sleep again … or even smile?
Thankfully, time and treatment would eventually answer these questions, but not without the comforting wisdom of seasoned mothers. Their sage advice and life experiences silenced my insecurities in a way that doctors and parenting experts could not. When they said I could do it, I believed them. When they told me to parent on instinct, I did. Even today as I continue along the path of a Pintagramed motherhood that looks shinier, softer, and more forgiving than my reality; I continue to hold tight to the truths of the mothers before me.
In the likely event you find yourself in need of a pearl of parenting wisdom to quiet your mom soul, take a listen to the candid and comforting maternal truths of these experienced mothers and grandmothers:
Motherhood will break you before it makes you. I don’t know why people don’t talk about it. Once they’re grown you look back and wonder how you ever did it. And not only that! How you did it so right. — Sheri, mother of two.
In my day, we cried in silence. We were supposed to look like expert caregivers because that was our job. To not do it well brought your family shame. — Pat, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Motherhood is a chance to give your heart to the people who deserve it most. It’s also the greatest and hardest thing you will ever do. — Marcy, mother and grandmother.
Nobody ever said being a mom was easy, but by the looks of the magazines and Hollywood parents, it sure looks that way — doesn’t it? If I could tell today’s moms one thing, it would be this: what you see with your very eyes is the truth. It’s messy and loud and the opposite of what you probably expect — but it’s even better.” — Linda, mother and grandmother.
Oh, being a mama is hard. How do you think I got all these grey hairs and wrinkles? My kids were so bad! Yes. They used to make me crazy and I was like, ‘Nah, don’t you act like this!’ But they grew up good, you know? — Lucia, mother and grandmother.
I’ll tell you the truth about being a mom — no one messes with you anymore. When you have kids to care for, you don’t tolerate injustice. You demand more from the world and the world responds.” — Mary, mother and grandmother.
The beginning is the worst, but you get better at it. You’ll fail when you shouldn’t and succeed sometimes by luck, but your kids will turn out great because you care. All you have to do is love them and make sure they know it. That’s it. I wish someone would have told me that.” — Karen, mother of three.
I used to think I was one wrong decision away from ruining my daughters. Talk about exhausting! Now that they’re grown with kids of their own, I try to tell them that parenting isn’t so fragile, but of course, they’re convinced it is.” — Susanne, mother of two.
As isolating and frightening as motherhood can feel at times, these truths remind me that my best is good enough even on a bad day. And mama, so it yours.
Do you have a truth about motherhood to share?
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