There are no truer words spoken then how hard it is to be a mom, how nothing can prepare it and yet how completely fulfilling it is. Reading Meghan’s story was something I could not only appreciate but I deeply understood every word she said.
“Nobody ever told me being a mom would be HARD. I saw lots of pictures of my friend’s cute babies, and heard stories about love at first sight. Nobody told me that the first few months alone with your first baby can be lonely, exhausting, and downright scary. I remember being at the pharmacy when my son was four weeks old. After the usual exchange over how cute and how young my baby was, the pharmacist looked me in the eye and said “Wow, and you’re already out and about? You look great! Good for you!” It was such a small thing for her to say, and such a monumental thing for me to hear.
Looking back, it was probably the first interaction I had since my son was born where someone took the time to acknowledge that I still existed as a person. My son certainly didn’t appreciate all my hard work – newborns aren’t known for their positive feedback – at best they are sleeping and at worst they are crying. My husband was just as tired as me, and I would practically throw the baby at him when he got home from work, seeing my first opportunity to shower all day. The general public started referring to me as “mom,” even though just a few short weeks before, I had been a whole person with a name, a degree, friends of my own and a career that I loved.
I wish I knew then that the adjustment to being a new mom is not just about learning to deal with sleep deprivation and washing bottles and laundry. I wish I could go back and tell that new mom that motherhood is about a massive shift in your identity, one that doesn’t always fit right at first, but like a favorite pair of shoes, will soon feel like an extension of yourself. I wish we could all be a little kinder to new moms, and after stopping to admire their babies, stop for a second to say “you’re doing a great job.”
Three years and a second baby later, I love being a mom. My boys are the best thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a love that grew with sleepless nights, first words, scraped knees and lots of kisses. Just as much as I’m raising them, they’re raising me.”
Meghan Ashley is an attorney and owner of Meghan Lynn Photography. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband Jim and their two children.