Editor's note: This article was written by Ashlee Gadd and originally appeared on the blog Coffee + Crumbs. It has been reprinted with permission.
Oh, momma. I see you over there in the diaper aisle of Target, stuffing your face with popcorn, icee tucked carefully between your arm and baby bump. You’re staring at eight different kinds of baby wipes trying to make life-impacting decisions for your unborn child: scented vs. unscented, organic vs. non-organic, name brand vs. generic.
Your brow furrows as you glance over your shoulder at the array of other choices staring at you -- diapers, diaper pails, diaper pail bags, diaper rash creams. All the products sit neatly lined up on the shelf, mocking you. Mocking all the moms.
“Pick me! Pick me!” they shout, trying to get your full attention in between bites of popcorn.
And what I really want to do is grab you by the shoulders and both yell and whisper sweetly at the same time: it doesn’t matter. None of that stuff matters. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a clue what you’re doing or buying because I’m going to let you in on a little secret: nobody does.
Nobody knows what they’re doing bringing fresh new babies into the world. We’re all clueless and equally terrified of doing everything wrong. We’re all just here, caught up in this newfound all-consuming love, trying to figure it out one day at a time, one mistake at a time, one too-expensive Target trip at a time.
I see the worry on your face, the anxiety in your heart, the ridiculous things you’re Googling. It’s okay, it’s part of the process. I know you’re scared that life will never be the same, and you’re right -- it won’t be. It will be both better and harder than the same, a truth you won’t entirely understand until that squirmy seven pound baby is in your arms.
I am only two measly years ahead of you, but rest assured: I have learned more about motherhood in these past two years than I did in the 26 years leading up to that first positive pregnancy test. And while I have so much to tell you, gentle advice and encouragement to offer, I know that you will never fully comprehend any of this until that baby is here. Yet still, I cannot help myself ... here is what I want you to know:
You will be different. You will see parts of yourself that are unrecognizable, brought only to the surface by the sheer fact that another human is suddenly dependent on you for everything. You will be anxious, you will worry, you will feel overprotective like you have never felt before. You will simultaneously need space and not need space because all you want to do is be alone and also never leave your baby with anyone else. You will uncover a plethora of mom-related judgments that were hiding in your heart all along, and one by one they will fall by the wayside as you realize just how hard and messy and glorious this calling of motherhood actually is. You will learn to love fiercely and wildly without expectations, and for the first time in your whole life, your heart will default to selflessness -- a part of you that always existed but was buried deep down inside -- waiting for this moment, this change, this baby, this occasion to rise.