A letter to young mothers,
I am writing you this letter because 11 years ago, I was you and I wish someone had told me the things that I have prepared to say to you. More than this, I wish I could give you a big hug because, as I think of what I want to say to you my eyes well up with tears remembering how lonely and frightened you must be feeling.
No medical aid, and no real job. I had nothing figured out. I did not know what I wanted to study, and if studying was even possible now that I had a baby. Were my parents ever going to speak to me again? Was I ever going to be able to have a life? How I was going to afford a baby, when I could not afford myself? Moreover, I wasn’t sure what kind of mother I was going to be. And that worried me more than anything else.
It was a very difficult time for me.
Having said all of this – I’ve tried to gather my thoughts while feeling all sorts of feels. I want you to know this:
- You will get through this. It will get easier, and then more difficult and then easier again. I know this sounds as if it is too far away. That you need it to get easier now. I promise you this time flies by, and when you get to ten years later (where I am currently) you really wish you could go back and do things over again. You actually do want to.
- You will make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too much, you are still growing up too. I still feel guilty sometimes about the things I did and didn’t do when I was younger. Forgive yourself for the mistakes, move on. You feeling bad about things you can’t change helps no one. Least of all your precious child. (Reminder to self here!)
- The things you think are important don’t matter to your child. They don’t care that you live in a bachelor pad, that you only have a little bit of furniture or that they don’t go to the best school in town. They don’t even care that you can’t afford a HUGE birthday party. You know what they care about? That you put their drawing or creation on the fridge or somewhere important. They care that you had a bath with them. They care that you watch the same tv show over and over again. They just want you. Don’t trick yourself into feeling guilty because you think they deserve more. You are enough.
- You will be lonely. All your friends are probably studying, boyfriending, clubbing, traveling, working and doing all the things that your heart so richly desires to be doing too. But you have a baby and more responsibilities so that is not always possible. It will be hard to find people who understand how feel and where you are at, if you do – treasure them.
- You can be proud of yourself. Being a mother is possibly the single best thing I have ever done in my entire life, it has changed me. It has made me who I am today. Better than I could have ever been without my children. You are facing this challenge head on every day, every minute and its hard. WELL DONE!
Enjoy the happy moments, treasure the milestones and learn from one another. Your baby is going to teach you so much more than any book or lecture every could. Sending you love, hope and strength!