Love Letter to Myself


Dear Self,

You are doing it. You are living your dream right now in this very season, and you are living it beautifully. The only thing you ever really knew you wanted to be was a mother. Do you see the way your children look at you? Did you hear your toddler shriek with delight when you came home from yoga last night? You were gone just over an hour and she ran to you, hugged your legs and said, "Oh, Mama, you are back! I missed you so much and I made you a pretty picture!" She then handed you a piece of construction paper, but it may as well have been her little heart. When you looked past her, you saw your baby flapping her arms and bouncing up and down beside your husband on the couch, eyes fixed on you in excited anticipation. She knew you were coming for her, because you always do. She was so sure of your dedication to her because you are doing this dream thing so, so well.

Most days you don't look in a mirror, so you don't know how magical you are. I don't mean your gray hair and whatever our culture has to say about it. When your three year old tells you she loves you so much or your littlest holds your face between her tiny hands, allow yourself to feel like the loveliest woman alive. They see you that way. Every time you drop what you are doing to scoop your daughter up and she immediately relaxes in your embrace, see what she sees. You are love to her. You are comfort. She trusts you completely. You should trust yourself.

You kick yourself often for failing to balance raising children and loving your husband. But your intentions are good--you so badly want to know him and foster that unquestionable trust there, too. You mean what you say when you tell him you want to be a team, you just don't always know what that looks like. You are trying, working to break so many introverted, independent habits you didn't even realize you had for the sake of your marriage, and that is incredible. You are willing to grow and change and compromise, and those branches will bear fruit. Keep holding on.

You are honest and your heart is wide open, and it's far too much for some people. That is okay, because after years of bottling and bursting and bottling again, you recognize what your soul needs to heal and grow and you are going after that. You are explaining your struggles to your daughters in a language you hope they can understand, and you are more sure now than the days they were born that they could never do or say anything to make you stop loving them. We struggle and we grow and somewhere in there we often act ugly. You see that now and will carry it with you as they get older and go through their own versions of turmoil. You will still look at them in awe of their loveliness, without condition, as they do for you today.

And you are beginning to see yourself that way, too, and I urge you to keep following that path. It began with your physical body through pregnancy and birth and yoga--what a miracle you are that you can conceive and grow and breathe a new being (or two!) into the world and then rest and heal so you can go on to twist and turn your body in ways that impact your mind so deeply! And you still feed those babies and carry them and wipe them and rock them without a second thought, because your time and energy have become much less consumed by selfish, trivial things. You may have struggled with uncertainty early on (and you probably will again, and again), but that does not make you any less of a natural. You were born to mother. You are doing it. And you are even radiating so much passion for it, you have found ways to support other mamas in nourishing their babies and themselves, too. What a calling, and how fulfilling!

Look down at your baby asleep at your breast--she loves you because you are worth loving, without question. And maybe every so often, walk that sleeping baby in front of the mirror and look at yourself holding her. Allow yourself to feel the rush of love for her, and for yourself as you are the one taking care of her. And keep taking care of yourself, because you are worthy, too.

Happy Valentine's Day,