In honour of Mother’s Day 2023, we asked our amazing global team of writers to tell us, in their own words, what it means to them to be More Than a Mother. Here’s what it means to Jay.
Dear Younger Self,
As I sit down to write this letter to you, I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and longing for those early days of motherhood.
I can still vividly recall the sweet aroma of newborn baby products you always adorn your baby with and the quiet cosy room you so perfectly assembled so the baby could have the most blissful start to life. Yet, from memory, you weren’t able to soak into the softness of the environment as fully as I am now.
I am overwhelmed with emotions. It’s funny how I can read into someone’s mind so deeply. That someone being me. It is clear to me that you were too hard on yourself and could have been kinder if you had known better.
Becoming a mother for the very first time is one of the most exciting, yet terrifying experiences of your life. You have so many self-doubts and second guesses, peeling away the confidence you had in yourself. I know you’re feeling completely inundated by the overwhelming amount of advice.
Suddenly, everyone has an opinion on how you should raise your child, from well-meaning family members to strangers on the street. You are sifting through endless advice to make the right choices for your baby. This noise is making it hard to claim satisfaction over knowing for sure if it is the right thing to do. Trust me, it really is. It is the most perfect thing you could do for your baby girl. Because whatever you are doing comes from a place of love and that is enough.
I wish you would silence the noise and follow your gut. I want to reassure you that it’s ok to listen to advice. But it’s also okay to give priority to your own instincts over it without feeling the guilt of not giving in to what others have to say.
I can see the strength you have gained after becoming a mother. I wish I could tell you to harness that strength and ignore the noise and the people that plunge you into self-doubt. I can tell you after coming this far that they really don’t matter. The truth is, they never did.
I want you to know that you don’t need to feel guilty for not being able to enjoy every moment of this early motherhood. You don’t realise what your body is recovering from or missing because of sleepless nights, feeding schedules and everything in between. I want to tell you that it takes a toll and you are not in the wrong to feel this way.
I know you’re trying to fight with limited strength because you are only focused on one thing “This tiny human is dependent on me.” And that is urging you to sacrifice anything and everything that stands to serve you but not your baby girl. Trust me, it’s going to be ok. You have a good surprise in store for you when the same tiny human who is totally dependent on you grows up enough to pull you out of this abyss you have willingly drowned yourself in thinking motherhood warrants it. But it doesn’t really warrant it. Motherhood warrants self-care. Motherhood warrants prioritising your own well-being and taking care of yourself just as much as you take care of your baby.
You deserve to have time to recharge, pursue your own interests, and nurture your own relationships. By taking care of yourself, you are not only benefiting your own health and happiness, but you are also setting a positive example for your child and building a strong foundation for your family’s future. So please remember, it’s okay to prioritise yourself and take time for self-care. You are a wonderful mother and you deserve to be happy and healthy too.
So, in closing, I want to remind you to be kind to yourself. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to have a break. It does not mean in any way that you don’t love your baby enough. Never doubt what you already know.
And for heaven’s sake, take more pictures. Lord knows you are going to want to reflect back to these endless snuggles when your baby hits preteen and it gets on your nerves!
With love and admiration,
Your older, wiser, and more experienced self.
To read more from our More Than a Mother content series, click here.