An Open Letter: To the Single Mom of a Newborn Baby
An Open Letter: To Myself.
Dear single mom of a newborn baby,
You, you with the sunken under-eyes, crusty hair, unkempt toenails and tear-stained cheeks.
You, the mama who has gone more days than you dare to admit without a proper shower. You, the mama who has still not had lunch at 4:00 p.m., and who constantly mutters “How the hell am I going to do this?”
I promise you, you will survive this and it WILL get better.
You are resilient. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
You have gone days without sleep — yes, days. You have seen the sun rise and the moon set, and often wondered, and possibly even Googled, “How long can a human go without sleep?”
I know you want to scream. You may even want to scream at your baby. You don’t do it, but you sure want to. Gosh, I really want to scream sometimes.
Those few, precious minutes you spend in the shower are mostly spent crying — instead of showering. Why does it feel so good to cry in the shower?
You come out of the shower, barely have time to dry yourself, and jump right back into motherhood. Did you ever really get away?
You power on…
You are powerful. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
You feel so ugly. You haven’t done your hair in days…maybe even weeks.
Your fingernails are probably covered in chipped polish — that polish you haphazardly applied to try to feel better about yourself. It didn’t work.
Your clothing is probably stained, and you may not even realize it until you have to run an errand.
Your nursing bras don’t properly support your painful, chapped breasts. You barely recognize yourself. You can’t bring yourself to wear anything other than t-shirts and stained yoga pants. Comfort is key.
You are so beautiful. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
Your other child wants attention. She’s used to having all of it.
You constantly lose your patience. You wonder how you’ll ever find time for her again. You wonder if giving her a sibling was a terrible idea. “Will she resent me in the future?”
She’s right there, yet you feel so alone. You wonder if she feels alone as well. You wonder if you’re a good mom…I wonder if I’m a good mom.
You are an amazing mom. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
It’s so hard to accept help. Why should you accept help?
“I don’t need help, I got myself into this. I can handle it. I NEED TO be able to do this all by myself.”
They offer help and you continue to pretend that you are okay. “I’m okay, I promise.”
You are embarrassed…you feel guilty. You’re really not okay.
But, you “chose” to be a single mother. Is this the consequence of your choices? It’s not, but the single mom guilt is real, y’all.
You are the mama who knows that “nap when your baby naps” and “dishes and laundry can wait” don’t apply to you. You understand that doing those things means nothing else gets done.
You are so loved. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
You. The mama who forgoes much-needed sleep to stare at her precious baby…for hours on end.
Who sings sweet lullabies to her when she’s fussing.
Who lovingly nurses her to sleep.
The mama who wears her baby, despite her awful back-pain and sore shoulders.
The mama whose phone ran out of memory because of baby pictures and videos…one week into her baby’s life.
Your children are always fed, clean and dressed…even when you still haven’t changed out of your PJs.
You know you can’t take time for yourself right now, so what little time you have for yourself, you share it with your other child.
You wait just “one minute longer” to put your baby in her crib. It feels so nice to hold her…
You are so incredibly selfless. You are the single mom of a newborn baby.
Mama, you will survive this. Someday you’ll look back and say “I did it. I survived the newborn stage as a single mom. It was really hard, but I DID IT.”
You’ll realize that you not only survived it, but also did a pretty amazing job doing so. You’ll realize that time really DOES fly and wonder where your tiny baby went. You may even miss the newborn stage. I miss it so much…
It’ll really hit you when you need to make space for her larger clothing and you don’t want to part with her newborn clothing.
I survived it. One year later, I still can’t believe I survived it. I survived being the single mom of a newborn baby — and a very needy 6 year-old. They’re both strong, happy, and thriving. I’m not, but I’m here, and that’s all that matters right now. I’m here, for them and because of them.
I still have ugly nails, no time for myself, dark under-eyes, crusty hair and tear-stained cheeks. Yes, I still cry at least once a week. It’s tough.
But guess what? I wore a dress last weekend and will have a REAL, hot, delicious dinner tomorrow — outside of my house. Yes, mama is going out.
I may even get to wash my hair at some point this week. Maybe someday, I’ll get that manicure and pedicure I want so bad.
You survived. You are the single mom of a toddler.