An Open Letter To My Daughter
My darling girl
You grow up in a time where social media is at the forefront of our daily lives. I cannot think of a single adult I know who doesn’t have some form of social media account. We share snippets of our day for the world to see, and these snippets are kept as snapshots into our lives. Frozen in their place to someday be uncovered.
You may one day stumble upon my posts, and you may be shocked with what you read. You may read about the struggles I had. You may uncover that I didn’t love every moment of motherhood. You may see how some days I felt so low that I fantasised about my carefree life before you. You may read about my tears, my frustrations, my failings.
What you read was all true.
My life changed the day you came. The world seemed a much scarier place, and I felt more vulnerable than I ever had before. You were an angry ball of fury, and I often couldn’t understand what was wrong with you. I battled to get you to sleep, I battled to get you to breastfeed, and I battled to get you to stop crying. Some days I felt so low that I felt lost, isolated and afraid. On these days I tried to remind myself how wanted you were, but even that couldn’t pick me up from the dark place I felt was consuming me. I lost count of the amount of times I cried alongside you, feeling like a failure and foolishly feeling like you hated me. Some struggles got easier, and as these did new ones emerged. I felt a million miles away from the instagrammable earth mother I’d pictured I would be, and some days I felt myself resenting you. I felt angry with you. Angry that you wouldn’t sleep. Angry that I couldn’t comfort all your cries. Angry when you scratched my chest during a screaming fit. Angry at how exhausted I felt. And then the guilt would take over, and the feeling that I was a failure.
I need you to know what was stronger than my struggles – my love for you. I love you so fiercely that it consumes my entire body. I have an ache for you in my bones that goes so deep I can’t even put it into words. As cliche as it sounds, I would quite literally die for you. My life changed from the moment you were born because I saw the world differently. I felt more vulnerable because I had an overwhelming instinct to keep you safe. You were the most precious thing I had ever encountered and I couldn’t understand what I had done to deserve something so amazing. You made me laugh more than you made me cry. Your smile was mesmerising, and when it emerged your little laugh was contagious.
I know someday we will look back on this and possibly laugh. One day when you have babies of your own I will share my anecdotes about you. I will help you on the days you need me. I will remind you that for all the difficult times there will be so many more rewarding ones. That every time I felt so low, you would do something to pick me up; your first smile, the first time you said “mama”, when your face began lighting up when I entered a room, the pride on your face when you first stood up on your wobbly little legs.
My darling girl
You are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. Being your mother is a blessing. Some days I overlook that, but I need you to know it. You have been loved from the second I knew of your existence, and that love has only grown.
Written by Jamie Sutton-Jennings for her blog, Mama Bear of One.