Dear Motherless Mother,
I’m writing you today to tell you that I know your new role as a mother is difficult. I know it can be daunting; and I know that, for you, motherhood is especially bewildering.
I know that you lose sleep at night wondering if you’re doing this whole mothering thing right. I know that you see other moms at the park with their children and scratch your head- curious as to how they execute their parenting so seamlessly.
I know that you often question whether or not you are doing enough; and whether or not you are enough.
I know that when you look at your child and see your mother’s features, it makes you smile; but I also know that this breaks your heart a little. I know that no matter how many people you surround yourself with, sometimes you still feel alone.
I know that sometimes you just want a hug, and for someone to tell you that it’s all going to be okay; that you’re doing a good job. I know that sometimes you long to call your mom; to hear her voice offering you the answers you so desperately seek.
I also know that you can’t just pick up the phone to call your mom to ask her about infant sleeping patterns, or postpartum anxiety. I know that you don’t have the advice or maternal guidance only your mother could give you; and I know how incredibly hard that is.
I know that you feel like there isn’t another soul on this earth that could possibly understand how you feel.
I know these things because I’m right there with you, and I do understand how you feel. I, too, am attempting to navigate my way through the parental trenches with little guidance beyond what the baby books and Google have to offer.
I, too, stay up at night wracking my brain for solutions to problems that probably don’t even exist. I, too, question my decisions as a mother on a daily basis because I have a very limited example to look to.
Just like you, I have to fill in the blanks to the life of a person I didn’t have a fair opportunity to know.
I, too, have been winging it for a while now.
I’m here to tell you that I think you’re doing a great job. Motherhood isn’t easy for anyone- not even those moms in the park that appear to have mastered the art of coordinating outfits and healthy snacking. Yes, even the moms that you would assume have it all together lose their shit sometimes too.
We all do.
I want you to know that you’re doing enough; that you are enough. You are more than enough. You are everything to your children, and although you feel that your efforts are often unnoticed- they aren’t. Every smile, every tiny embrace, every adorable giggle is a result of you and all that you do.
I want you to know that it’s going to be okay- really. Even the days when you feel completely inadequate; even the days when you are covered in spit up and smell like a diaper pail; even the days when you question why you ever, for one single second, thought it was a good idea to reproduce tiny versions of yourself- yes, even then, it’s going to be okay.
I’m here to remind you that there are a million different ways to be a good mother, including yours. Despite what you may think, you are indeed doing it right. You’re doing it right because you never quit, no matter how badly you sometimes want to. You show up. You show up every hour of every day; and so long as you are of sound mind and body- you always will.
I want you to know that you’re not alone; that you’re never alone, far from it. You might not feel like your mom is here, but she is.
You will teach your kids the same lessons that your mom taught you. When you’re overwhelmed, you will cry the same tears she cried. When your kids’ shenanigans have taken a turn for the comical, you will laugh the same laugh that she did.
Like you, she stayed up late into the night and wondered if she was enough. Like you, she questioned her role as a mother; and like you, she may have never fully figured out if she was doing it right or not.
Like you, she doubted herself.
She had the same fears you do. She had the same hopes for you that you have for your own children, and she loved you the very same way that you love them.
The day you became a mother, you embarked on the same confusing, daunting, and beautiful journey that she did. And though physically she’s not with you, the two of you have really never been closer.
I’m sorry that she isn’t able to offer you that reassurance that you so need; but my hope is that I can.
Motherless mother, you are going to be just fine. WE are going to be just fine.
Our stories might be a bit more awkward, a bit more sloppy, and a lot less graceful than others; but we will figure it out eventually- just like our mothers did before us.
Your fellow confused, awkward, and bewildered motherless companion