June 13, 2016
To the New Mom in the Coffee Shop.
I see you sitting there, feeding your baby, eyes darting around the room to make sure you don’t expose yourself too much. I see you adjusting your cover as your baby squirms and wiggles without a care in the world. I see you trying to make sure the baby doesn’t disturb anyone, rocking the baby and offering a momentary “shhhh” to calm her. I see you preparing for a possible outburst, and counting the moments until you need to exit the room.
I see the apologies in your eyes for when the baby inevitably cries, and you inevitably receive the sideways glances from people nearby. I see your sleepless night last night, the tossing and turning even while the baby was asleep. I see the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes, and I know how much work and courage it took for you to leave the house today. I know you considered over and over the pros and cons- would it be worth it? Would you make it back in time for a nap? Would you have to feed her in public? Would you have enough time to sit and even enjoy the coffee you so desperately needed?
I see how badly you want to feel connected to the outside world. That just sitting in a place where adults are talking to each other is like therapy. That so often you can feel like this child has singlehandedly divorced you from the life you once knew, but has simultaneously given you everything you never knew you needed. And that can feel confusing, maddening, exhilarating and exhausting all at once.
I want you to know something. If you hear anything today, please hear this: you are doing a great job. You are exactly who your child needs, and you are enough for her, right now, in this moment. Trust your instincts, and ignore the fear and comparison. Listen to your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you that they know better what your child needs than you. And take good care of yourself. You are doing important work- valuable, holy work.
And you deserve that steaming cup of coffee.