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An Open Letter To Past Self As She Navigates The Birth of Her First Baby

Dear Moriah V.2009-10, (AKA My Former Self Parenting A Baby For the First Time)

Greetings! It is I! Your future self V.2018. *cues twilight music*

My, my, how time flies when you’re just trying to survive.

I have taken it upon myself to write you a letter of support and encouragement. Because you need it, and you don’t even know how badly.

First of all, I have made an amazing discovery via a meme. I know the 2009 version of you hates memes, so this should be entertaining. Seeing as how memes are life and all.  So, rather, someone has made an amazing meme, and I yelled out, “Where has this been all my life?! Why didn’t I think of this?!”

 

Good news: Your son, Alex, just wants you. This is a shocking revelation! He doesn’t care if you’re a PTA mom, or a mom that looks yoga homeless. He doesn’t care if you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom. He doesn’t care if you’re a doula or not. He kinda hopes you’re going to keep encapsulating placentas because yelling obscure questions about placenta encapsulation in the grocery store is one of his favorite games.

He isn’t comparing you to every other mom in the same way that you are because he isn’t exposed to every other mom. He doesn’t see them rocking life on Pinterest and Instagram. All he knows is that he has one mom, and it’s you. And all he wants from you is to play with him, buy him useless shit, and show him that you love him, support him, and are proud of him. And that is simple compared to the giant task list of 458 items and articles society and culture try to tell you that you need to do in order to be THE MOST AWESOME MOM IN ALL THE LAND.

I’d think I’d know by now that rocking parenthood is about finding my own way in the wilderness based on what works for me, and what works for my son, and marrying those ideas up. But, evidently, I needed this meme to tell me all of that. And I share it with you because it’s like parenting 101 section A. You’re going to have a baby soon. And you need to know that it’s okay to listen to your intuition when it comes to making choices. And because I know you, and your personality type, here are two other warnings:

  • The “research” on the internet regarding safe practices is going to change all the time. You’re going to be forced into making decisions based on what the internet tries to convince you is safe. ALERT: Parenting in 2018 is not the same as it was in 2009. Lemme tell you about the Snoo at another time. I really feel like you’ve gotta see this stuff. (And maybe invent it in the past to cash it on it now, but what do I know?) You know how currently people are telling you about parenting styles from 1984 like they’re the coolest new shit? 1984 is a cool book, but no. In case the research is gonna make you crazy, here’s the best advice I have for you. Feed your baby. Put a diaper on your baby. Make sure your baby is warm, or not too hot depending on temps. In Texas the temperature can vary minute by minute, so be prepared. Create a safe place for your baby to sleep. The rest is a matter of what brands of junk and preferences you make. So, please, for the love of all things cute and squishy, just do you,  mama.
  • DON’T BE FORCED INTO ANYTHING. Enough said. You know you and your baby best.

Okay, now that the hard part is over. Here are some of my observations. And you can take them or leave them. Because I’m not exactly you. And you’re a grown ass woman – despite everyone that is going to tell you having a baby at 19 is the dumbest idea ever. Oh, and I know you’re wondering. Alex is fine. And he’s almost 9. Can you believe that?!

  • You feel like you already know your baby. You even have this crazy idea of what he’ll look like. And you’re afraid of meeting him, because what if he isn’t what you envision? You’ve bonded with this kid so long that what if it was all in your head? Let me assuage your anxiety. He’s perfect. And he’s everything.

 

  • Throw your phone and computer away. Seriously. Just do it. They caused pre-term labor. It’s okay to ignore the current life drama and embrace the time to create a nest for your baby. It’s okay to sit in the rocking chair and rock all night and wait for baby.

 

  • That exercise ball that looked like a good place to sit and rock during labor? THAT’S A BIRTH BALL. AND THEY’RE AMAZING. Oh, and by the way, that’s totally labor. I know you’re gonna think it’s food poisoning. Nope. THAT’S BABY TIME!

 

  • For the love of middle of the night ice cream, stop trying to justify the crying. The crying is normal.

 

  • So that birth? It’s not gonna be like anything you imagined. You’re going to be alone. And you’re going to be scared. And you’re never gonna have another day like that again for as long as you live. But that day is gonna be one of the longest, most transformative , and just all around magical day of your life. When it gets really scary, I want you to do one thing for me. Breathe, and listen for the sound of his crying. The crying that tells you that he’s here, and he’s okay.

 

  • Even though that baby was physically cut from your body, YOU GAVE BIRTH. YOU DID IT. YOU HAD A BABY. YOU GAVE BIRTH! YOU GAVE BIRTH! YOU GAVE BIRTH! You didn’t have a cesarean section. You had a cesarean BIRTH. A birth that is VALID. YOU DID NOT FAIL. In fact, you were a TOTAL BADASS. Props to you, mama.

 

  • If you look at your baby and say, “I’m sorry” as your first words to him, you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life. It’s going to haunt you. Thinking about it will make you cry every time forever. Also, “I don’t know what happens next.” Is totally normal. You didn’t get the transition phase of a vaginal birth, but that was the transition into parenthood. Looking at someone tiny and helpless and going, “Oh shit. Oh shit. I’m in charge of you. I’m your MOM. Oh wow.” I’ve got news for you. You figured that shit out. YOU did it. In the most almost nine years, your boy has always had food in his belly, a roof over his head, and a mother. Every.single.day. And while most people will say, “Well, duh. That’s what moms do.” It has not been easy. It has not even been stable. BUT YOU DID IT.

 

  • You’re going to have issues bonding. Because of some kind of idea of who you should be. And the fact that you didn’t see that baby born, so you’re new sleep deprived state makes you wonder if he’s even actually yours. Take a minute. Look at that baby. He’s totally yours. And enjoy that knowledge while it’s only looks, because over the next several years, he’s going to do some really annoying shit that makes you realize that the apple not only came from the tree, but also hit every single branch on the way down. You’re perfect. He’s perfect. Snuggle that baby and embrace his new baby smell.

 

  • Inverted nipples on size H breasts with a 36 week baby are a hard combination for anyone. Don’t listen to that lactation consultant in the hospital. She’s awful. Hint: You can private hire someone better. And when you go in for emergency surgery on day 4 postpartum, I want you to know that it’s okay to formula feed your baby. And you don’t even have to hide in your apartment because of the shame. There is no shame in feeding your baby. But brace yourself, that hypoallergenic formula is NASTY.

 

  • You’re allowed to watch TV, or read a book when you feed your baby. You’re allowed to be comfortable. You don’t have to hold it 24/7 and stare at it with both eyes the whole time. Keeping both eyes open at the same time in the first year postpartum is pretty much impossible. Especially if you’re doing 16+ hours alone a day. One eye is okay.

 

  • When you feel like you’re going crazy, I want you to know that it isn’t you. It’s your situation. And when you leave, the crazy leaves.

 

  • Single parenting is a whirlwind tornado of bullshit. Boy was that scary. So, here’s the thing. Being alone with your baby without all the pressure of a failing marriage is exactly what you needed to bond with your baby. It doesn’t matter that he’s going to be over a year old first. That time is going to be so precious. The snuggles. The shared meals. The walks in the park alone. You’re going to teach him to say all.the.things. because he is your main compadre. Just invest in ear plugs now. There’s six people that live in your house full-time. I’ll let who they are and where they came from be a surprise, but they are LOUD. So, be careful when teaching people how to talk. It doesn’t ever stop. Chatter, chatter everywhere.

 

  • When you don’t know how you’re going to feed him, you’re going to figure out that if you go to school full-time, you can get WIC and food stamps and a daycare scholarship. You’re going to fight roaches and mice like Xena The Warrior Princess. But you’re going to get a degree in business administration kind of like accident. You’re welcome. Oh, and dude, I know you’re never going to own a company. But then you do. SO PAY ATTENTION!

 

  • YOU, my friend, are going to have an awesome apartment. And while hanging your panties in trees to dry feels sucky, one day soon, you’re going to buy a used washer and dryer. And it’s gonna be magical. Hold on to hope for that apartment. It has lights in the closets. And is probably the biggest kitchen you’ll ever have.

 

  • All of your needs are going to be met. I promise. Don’t give up.

 

  • Seizures are scary. He’s going to grow out of them. It isn’t serious. Keep his fevers down. Get him a better pediatrician. Don’t be afraid of the ear tube surgery. It fixes everything.

 

  • You’re going to fall in love. When you least expect it. When you don’t even want it. When you feel like you don’t deserve it. It’s going to feel surreal. Magical. Impossible. But he loves you. He loves you for all that you are. Because he likes broken things, but whatever. He likes the story. He likes the character. He likes that he can help you. It’s okay. Go ahead. Fall in love. Five year wedding anniversary is this year. So we’re probably okay on this front. I’ll write you again in another five years to let you know. I’m not a psychic, just a time traveler.

 

  • Your shit hole parenting adventure is going to lead you into doing a ton of research, becoming a doula, and owning a company. And, you’re actually a really cool and authentic person, doula, and business owner. And, like, it puts food on the table. *gasps!* There’s lessons everywhere in life, and life is about harnessing the growth and power from them and turning them into something amazing. So let go, mama. Know that these hard moments are the moments that will make you thrive in the end.

 

  • Last note, would you believe me if I told you that you have an in ground swimming pool at your house? I know, I know. It sounds insane. But it’s so true. Hang in there, and come visit me. This life is worth having.

 

I’ve  enclosed a picture to help prove to you that all is well. Just don’t ask me what’s happening in it. Some stories are best lived without the description. See you soon!

Love you!

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