There’s an interesting shift that happens when you become a mother. It’s been shocking to me, and I never really said anything (until recently) because I felt as though I were whining, needy, or selfish.
Here’s the thing: Mothers need attention, support, and love, too. Mothers are not invisible. Dear Mama, you are not invisible. I see you.
Mothers are doing a great big job that many of imagined, but also didn’t imagine. Raising a tiny human means all of the beautiful things you SEE - the snuggling, the beautiful babies wrapped in soft swaddles, the sweet bathtime moments, the rocking, the first bites of food, the excitement over rolling/sitting up/taking first steps. And, it also means the incredibly messy parts you MAY NOT SEE - the crying because it’s so hard to get baby to latch, the sleep deprivation, the loneliness after your partner goes back to work, the incessant mess of bottles/food prep/your own lunch that fills the kitchen sink.
And, aside from that, mamas are going through a rebirth of their own. I know I felt it. We still have these desires in our careers, in our relationships, for intimacy with our partners, to travel, whatever it may be, while also still trying to figure out how to be a mother. Can we do all things? Can we be all things? Are we the same? And, who can we talk to about it? Who will listen?
This is the kicker. Who will listen? Who will listen to your experience without trying to solve it for you? Who will listen to your struggles and see you still for the grateful, beautiful mama you are? Who will love on your baby, and also engage with you, too?
Even as I write this I feel selfish, silly. I remember when our son was born, how so much attention shifted to him. Of course it does. Babies are so precious, snuggly, cute little beings and they are essentially helpless needing our loving care and attention. I remember desperately wanting someone to ask me how I was doing. And, to really want to know my answer when it wasn’t “fine.” What’s been challenging for you? Do you need to talk about your birth? And, I still want that. I still long to be seen, yes, as a mother, but also as a human.
I still have career ambitions, interests, desires. I want to make friends and deep connections. And, I know little man is pretty cute, but I’m pretty awesome, too. I want to talk about more than diapers and daycare and sleep, and I’m finally realizing that’s totally not too much to ask (although yes I love talking about all of the above, too!).
If you’re feeling this way, maybe slip this message along to a partner or family member or friend. ;) Share with another mama. I think the way to help others feel seen is to practice giving what we want to bring into our own lives. Ask your mama friends questions about them: What are you reading lately? Have you thought about taking a new adventure with or without your baby? What do you want to talk about today? Look into the eyes of another mother when you’re out and about, simply saying hi. That connection is real.
I’m forever grateful to the women in my life who did help me feel seen. Becoming a mother doesn’t mean that’s our only role. It’s that AND. I’m a mother AND a business owner. I’m a baby food making whiz AND I run yoga teacher training programs. I love reading books to my toddler AND I love writing a pretty successful blog. I’m a mom who cleans up poo AND I still love to feel beautiful on date nights with my husband. I’m allowed to be seen. I’m allowed to want to be seen. I am not invisible. You are not invisible. You are incredible.
During pregnancy, you might have been showered with affection and attention (the good and the…not so good). Once baby was born, you may have felt all of that attention turn to him or her. It’s common. But, it doesn’t have to be. We can express our needs. We can get intentional with our relationships. We can be that person for other mothers in our lives. We can remember that all mothers need attention, love, and support, too.
Sending you a big hug today. You’re doing great, mama.
With lots of love,
P.S. If you didn’t know: #1. I really love hearing from you. Emails from these letters make my DAY and I respond to every one. #2. In addition to sleep consulting, I’m studying to become a yoga therapist, essentially where we use yoga philosophy, breathwork, and postures to help heal the body and the mind. Yoga Therapy recognizes the link between body and mind, and using both to ease anxiety/stress and find lasting peace and contentment. Why am I telling you this? Because I’m specifically studying how yoga therapy supports women during pregnancy, postpartum, and fertility. If you’d like to continue to read more, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you on a special list about Yoga Therapy.