Dear First-Time Mama

Dear first-time mama,

I see you. And I want to tell you it's ok. It's okay to be nervous as a first-time mom about the life you're growing. I see you contemplating the maternity pants with your barely-there bump and pants that won't button, and I see you. Buy the pants. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable enough without feeling like you're out of space in your own skin with two more trimesters ahead of you. It's okay to be comfortable.

First-time mama, I see you in the baby aisles looking at the walls of options. So many options. They're overwhelming, I know. Why are there wipes for everything? Do you need them? I know you're hearing from so many people that you don't, but you aren't sure. And that's okay. We were all first-time moms once. Or first-time dads. If you think you'll use more than just diaper wipes, buy (or register for) them. Hand and face wipes smell like baby shampoo. Boogie wipes are wonderful alternatives to tissues in your purse. If you aren't sure, wait. Or see what shows up in a gift basket.

We got lots of wipes and soap.

Mama, I see you when you go out for the first time with your new little one. The grocery store is huge, isn't it? I see you at a restaurant with family, checking on your little one and being told over and over that they're fine. They're asleep. I want you to know it's okay to check on them. It's okay to not want to put them down and to keep them close to you if you want. This little life that you spent months nurturing or waiting for. The person you are getting to know. It's okay to want to sit and just be still with them.

I see you, first-time mama, when you try to take on several errands in one day and then cry after you're told you are trying to do too much. I see the wheels turning in your head as you wonder how, when you return to work, you'll be able to get anything done. You'll figure it out. It won't always feel like a production to get out the door. It's okay if it's hard now, and it's okay to ask for help.

I know, as a first-time mom you're getting a lot of advice. Buy this, don't buy that, do this, don't do that. So much of it is conflicting, and it feels like everyone has advice. It's okay to not want advice. It's also okay to want it. I know you're hearing a lot of things and I know it's not all what you want to hear, so mama, what I want to tell you is simple:

You are doing a great job. You may not get a shower every day, and you may run out of something you need right this very moment (and I always suggest a hidden travel pack of wipes for this very moment), but you are doing a great job. You are nurturing and loving your sweet baby, and you are learning how to be a parent. And? You're learning how YOU parent. Your "never will I's" may change, and you may do some of them. But mama, you're doing great, and in a year when you look back on this time, you'll want to wrap your arms around yourself with a reminder: nap sometimes when the baby naps. Newborns nap a lot, and it's okay to use one of those naps for you.

Don't worry about living in the comfy stretchy pants for a little while longer. Buy all of the wipes, or only buy the diaper wipes - whatever you need for you. You will find your groove in time, I promise. One day you’ll walk out the door with nothing more than the diaper clutch. Okay, and an extra shirt or three, but it will happen.

This time may feel hard, and overwhelming, and full of more love than you ever thought possible, but mama, you're doing a great job. When your little one is eighteen months old (or younger, or older), you'll look back on this time often.

And self? Yes, me: you were doing a great job. And you still are.

With love, Me