I saw this over at the Feminist Breeder (which is an awesome blog BTW and she was in Veruca Salt!)and decided to do my own letter to myself 5 years ago. Here goes...
Dear 26 year old Shae,
Hi! It's me, who is you at 31. I'm writing you this because I know life is sucking pretty hard for you at the moment despite being in love with your new 3 month old baby. It's OK to feel completely in love with your baby and to really wonder whether you are cut out to be a mother at the same time. Admitting you are struggling and finding it all incredibly hard does not mean you love her any less. Or that you are somehow failing. I want you to know that it's all going to work out fine. That you will sleep again-Tannah will actually become a really deep sleeper! That you will go on to have not only one but two more children. I know! In the state you are in that might freak you out but you will handle being a Mama of two and Mama of three better than being a Mama of one. You will not only make your breastfeeding goal of 6 months but exceed that by almost 2 years! I bet that blows your mind!
I want to reassure you that what you are doing is awesome. All those things you are doing by instinct like taking Tannah to bed with you, breastfeeding her whenever she wants and carrying her around are the great things to do! Don't second guess yourself. It's called Attachment Parenting and you are about to discover it. Soon you will even join a group of other Mamas who parent just like you-proudly! Those other Mamas and their kids are going to become some of yours and Tannah's best friends so make sure you go. And they'll introduce you to forums and blogs-which will lead to Facebook and twitter. I won't ruin the surprise but let's just say they can be a pastime and a lifeline all at once.
Those terry squares and fluffies covers are not the only kind of cloth nappy!! I know! There is a whole world of nappies with snaps and velcro and patterns and pockets and even some that are an ALL-IN-ONE. Are you excited? Maybe you should put a bit of extra money away now because it will become somewhat of an addiction...hmmm and maybe a bit extra for some slings. That's right-you are still using a crappy baby carrier. There is also a whole world of slings and carriers out there that are better for you and your baby, easier to use and purty.
You will have time with your husband again. You will have sex again. You marriage is stronger than ever. You really are a great team.
Tannah will recover from her birth injury. It will take time and money spent at the cranial osteo but she just got the all clear. You are in for yearly visits until she is grown but her head and shoulders will be fine. And you will come to a peaceful place with your birth trauma. I know you don't want to talk about it and are telling yourself that you got a healthy baby-even though you worry about her head. Even though you are having flashbacks and nightmares about what happened at her birth you are trying to suppress it. I know you have cried buckets over what happened, and I won't lie to you, you will cry buckets more. But talking about it and being honest is a great step forward. I know you might find this difficult to hear in the deep denial you are in right now but you will become really vocal about birth trauma and you will come to a place of acceptance. I'm not sure if you will ever heal completely because, 5 years later, I'm not there yet. And don't worry, you never have to go back to that place again. Your next 2 babies will be born at home. Easily and joyfully. Look forward to it, the experience will change your life.
You will feel pretty comfortable in you body eventually. Sure you lose weight, but then you gain it all back-with interest. It is finally accepting your body and quitting dieting that will make you love your body more. You know what? Your body deserves it-it treats you awesome and it's all you.
The next 6 months are going to be tough. Some of the toughest times of your life. You will have a lot of emotional stuff going on, you will be struggling with the PTSD from Tannah's birth and you will really struggle to adjust to being a Mama-and severe sleep deprivation won't help. Why am I telling you this? Because it gets easier after that. And easier. Even though your second born will throw epic tantrums and your 2nd and 3rd child will be born only 20 months apart, nothing is as tough as that 1st year for you. And you will survive it. In fact you will be stronger and a better parent for it. Believe it or not people will actually ask you for parenting advice-no really, they will. And you will love watching your children grow and blossom at their own pace so much you won't send them to school. You will grow to love Mothering and all it entails. Sure, sometimes you will miss going to gigs and having a few drinks and a dance, but the good will so far outweigh the bad that it pales into insignificance.
You CAN do this and you will. Believe it.