TLDR: In this personal essay, a mother reflects on her journey by writing a letter to her past pregnant self to assure her—and other mothers-to-be—about the wonder of motherhood.
Dear Pregnant Self,
You know I am not one for the cheesy stuff—I’m not a very romantic person. I don’t like Hallmark cards. I don’t even like Valentine’s Day.
So you know that I’m not prone to overstatement when I say this:
You are about to meet the love of your life.
That growing bump that you’ve been patting for the past few months, looking at in the mirror, wondering about? That’s the love of your life in there. I know it sounds cheesy, and if I knew any other way to describe it, I would. But sometimes, it turns out, the cheesiest things in the world are also the truest. I know you’ve had other loves in your life, but not like this one. There is nothing more pure and strong than this, there just isn’t. Agape love, the Ancient Greeks called it—a universal, unconditional love that transcends, no matter the circumstances.
I look at my birth photos now and it seems amazing to me that there was ever a time I didn’t know him. Before he was born, I didn’t have any sense of who I thought he might be or my hopes for him, other than that he would be happy. When he was born, I remember looking at him in total amazement, just thinking, “Who are you?”
The not knowing? That’s one of the sweetest parts.
So I’m not going to give you any of this "sleep when the baby sleeps" business. (Although seriously, sleep when the baby sleeps. People aren’t just making this advice up.)
I’m not going to tell you to enjoy every minute, because I know there will be days where you just feel raw and hormonal and weepy and not yourself and neither triumphant nor very joyful.
And I won’t tell you not to worry, either, because that’s simply not possible.
“When will I stop being afraid?” I tearfully asked my mom weeks after his birth, knocked over by this newfound combination of love and terror. “Oh honey,” she said. “You never will.”
Once, several years before I got pregnant or was even thinking about it, I asked a male coworker what it was like to have kids. “It’s like having your heart outside your body, running around in the world,” he said cheerfully. “That sounds so scary,” I said. “Oh, it is,” he said, still smiling. “And absolutely worth it.”
What I will tell you is to have long dinners with your closest friends—friends that have kids, friends that don’t. Friends that are married, friends that aren’t. They’re all going to be so important in this next stage of your life, even though it might take a bit more planning to see them after the baby is born.
If you’re a traveling sort, definitely take a trip. It doesn’t have to be a huge, over-the-top journey, just something fun to tide you over. (Although you can absolutely travel with babies. It just isn’t as convenient.)
But of all the things that keep you up at night as you wonder about this new world of motherhood, don’t worry about not loving him enough. That part will be easier than anything you’ve ever done before. Because like I said, you’re about to meet the love of your life.