Letters from a Learning Mother

Be Kind, Momma

It all started about a month ago.

I was crossing a cold, grey parking lot while carrying my sleeping baby in his car seat. The winter wind whipped my face, but my feet were even more uncomfortable.

I tried to ignore my toes that were slightly cramping and reminded myself that I was only a few months postpartum – there still stood a chance that maybe, just maybe, my feet would shrink back down to the size they were before my pregnancy.

Just as I was about to reach for the car door handle, an interesting thought stopped me in my tracks. As I felt my feet being hugged way too tightly by the leather surrounding them, the following sentence crossed my mind:

“I’m someone’s daughter, too.”

I went on to spend the drive home pondering the fact that if my son’s shoes had become too tight, I would go out and buy him a new pair in a heartbeat – no questions asked.

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “maybe that’s a bad example.”

Shoes are considered more of a decorative luxury than a necessity when you can’t walk. If he were, however, to grow out of all of his onesies, I’d make sure to get him some that fit!

When Ellis was born, my immediate inner response was, “I would go back right this very minute and do it all over again for you.”

I likely wouldn’t have had the strength to do so a second time in that moment, since birthing a baby weighing close to ten pounds basically takes everything out of you! I would, however, and always will be ready to sacrifice my own comfort and pleasure if it means I’m contributing to my son’s well-being.

If my four-month-old gets hungry while we’re out and about, I don’t remind him that his belly was full of momma milk only two hours before and tell him that he’ll just have to wait until we get home for his next meal. Although he is in no danger of immediate starvation, I search for a quiet place where I can nurse him.

When it comes to my baby and his needs, dire or not, I don’t pay too much attention to my own convenience or to the price tag. Yet, it took me months before I could bring myself to head to the shoe store and try on a couple pairs that actually fit me. Even then, if my husband hadn’t been with me, I likely would have bought a cheaper pair instead of the ones I liked most.

To think of myself not only as someone’s mother, but as someone’s daughter, is something I’m still learning to do. I’m not saying I should put myself before all others, but I am beginning to realize that it’s okay for me to treat myself similarly to the way I treat my son.

If it means ordering that piece of cake to go with my coffee every now and then, taking a long bath without having my baby join me, staying in bed as long as my son does, taking the time to put on a pair of earrings, or wearing shoes that actually fit me…

Be kind, Momma. Be kind to yourself.

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